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12 Ways of Giving 

It isn’t all about you. Or is it? Here are some ways you can make a difference with time, money or gifts to some local charities in need.

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1. The 2015 RVA Card

The home-grown discount card offers dining, shopping and other specials at merchants across town. More than 25 nonprofits can receive as much as 75 percent of the proceeds from the cards you buy. It goes for $35 but recently was on sale for $20 at myrvacard.com.

2. Horse-Themed Books

The Hay Day Ranch in Goochland County uses rescue horses as therapy for children with challenges “to restore emotional ties and trust in both the horses and youth.” It’s looking for horse-themed books — fiction, nonfiction, coloring — for the youth. Email haydayranch@gmail.com. haydayranch.com.

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3. Bingo

Virginia Supportive Housing works “to end homelessness by providing permanent housing and support services.” Residents have been asking for a game night, so the nonprofit seeks volunteers to “run and play bingo, serve snacks and have fellowship with residents. virginiasupportivehousing.org.

4. Legos

If you have extra Legos lying around — or can afford a quick stop at the toy store — the Autism Society could use them. It’s looking for figurines, accessories, instruction booklets, bricks, rods and connectors. ascv.org.

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5. Chef Nights

The Ronald McDonald House is a place where critically ill children and their families can stay during hospital visits. It’s looking for volunteers to use the stocked kitchen to prepare dinner for guests. You need to arrive one or two hours ahead of the 6 p.m. dinner time. rmhc-richmond.org.

6. Estate Greeters

If you’re outgoing, friendly and a fan of Maymont, consider stepping into an estate greeter role where you “engage guests to share basic information about the layout, offerings and respectful use of Maymont.” You need to go through one training and commit to at least one monthly, three-hour shift for three months. maymont.org.

7. Holiday Help

The Virginia Home offers residential care to adults with physical disabilities. They need help sending Christmas cards to friends and family and assistance with wrapping their gifts. thevirginiahome.org.

8. Sunshine Volunteers

At Home Care Hospice has a variety of volunteer opportunities to help those in the end stage of life. Patients need help with correspondence, yard work, cheer kits of crafts and goodies and housekeeping. athomecare.com.

9. Rain Garden

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is planting five rain gardens in the Broad Rock and Goodes Creek watersheds in South Side Richmond, helping the environment and reducing flooding. Plantings occur on weekends, most likely Saturdays, for two or three hours at a time. cbf.org.

10. Showroom

The homeless services provider Caritas needs volunteers to help at its furniture bank, from which household items are distributed to “women escaping domestic violence, elderly persons on limited incomes, refugee families from all over the world and the working poor. Volunteers assemble furniture, unload trucks and help make shopping easy. caritasshelter.org.

11. Office Space

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Central Virginia works to help Virginians with mental illness and their families “through education, support, advocacy and anti-stigma campaigns.” It’s seeking a donor who can offer an old building to be used as office space. namicentralvirginia.org.

12. Reading Buddies

The Friends Association for Children offers child care, youth development and family support services. It’s looking for volunteers to pair up with children ages 5 to 8 on Wednesdays from 4-5 p.m., helping with reading skills. friendsassn.org.

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More to the Story

These ideas are just some of the ways local charities could use your help. For more opportunities, visit Connectva.org, Handsonrva.org and Yourunitedway.org.

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