As the holiday season kicks off in Bend, we hope you’re finding fun and meaningful ways to connect with your neighbors, friends and family. Fostering a sense of community is important year-round but has a heightened significance during the holidays.

Kindness and down-to-earth attitudes have always made Bend a special place, and we want this season to be a joyful one for all people in our community. There are so many ways to give back, and we’re fortunate to have a robust non-profit and volunteer community.

Currently running now through December 31, the Central Oregon Gives campaign connects donors with nonprofits that focus on serving many needs in our region including:

  • Our natural environment
  • Basic needs like shelter and food
  • Education, families and children
  • Animal welfare
  • Arts and culture

With a goal of raising $500,000 before the end of 2023, Central Oregon Gives is partnering with many local businesses to offer thank you gifts for donations of $25 or more. One of the nonprofits this seasonal campaign is raising money for is Furnish Hope.

I’m honored to serve on the board of Furnish Hope, which transforms empty houses into welcoming homes for families in need of basic furnishing and household essentials. This energetic nonprofit supports veterans, foster youth and foster families, and people who are transitioning into stable housing after experiencing homelessness, domestic violence, addiction and recovery, natural disasters and other extreme hardships.

Through its network of more than 60 agency partners, Furnish Hope serves an average of 40 households a month, and serves more than 500 children a year. I hope you’ll consider a donation to Furnish Hope, and also visit their resale boutique in the Old Iron Works Art District to shop their selection of fabulous furniture and home décor. All purchases support the mission of Furnish Hope.

This season, we encourage you to embrace the idea that every act of generosity counts, and everyone has something to give. Whether you are able to make a financial donation, provide in-kind gifts of goods and services or offer your time to help a neighbor, please know that your generosity matters and inspires others to do the same.

We can’t wait to hear about your acts of generosity this holiday season. On behalf of our entire team, thank you for all you do to truly connect with this unique community.