7 Community Organizations Bringing People Together

Devastating issues like poverty, hunger, and homelessness are too big for any one person to tackle alone. But working together, members of a community can help their neighbors in need and make a big difference in their lives. If you want to lend a helping hand to groups that are dedicated to doing good in their communities, consider supporting the seven organizations listed here. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Groups That Support Those In Need

Name Headquarters Location Mission
Urban Ventures Minneapolis, MN Educate kids, strengthen their families, and build a healthy community
BakerRipley Houston, TX Bring resources, education, and connection by working with neighbors side by side
One World Everybody Eats Fort Worth, TX Increase food security and build community through the pay-what-you-can nonprofit restaurant model
Blanket BC Society British Columbia, Canada Collect blankets and warm articles of clothing for shelter programs and families in need
The Bowery Mission New York, NY Provide compassionate care and life transformation for hurting people in the New York metro area
Eva's Village Paterson, NJ Break the cycle of poverty and addiction through an interconnected community of recovery and support services
Catie's Closet Dracut, MA Help kids ages 4-19 by giving them the clothing and basics they need to confidently walk through their school doors every day

American Children Living in Poverty

Percentage of children ages 0–17 by family income relative to the poverty threshold, according to the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics

Poverty Level 1980 1990 2000 2010 2011 2012 2014 2015 2016
Below 50% of poverty threshold 6.9% 8.8% 6.7% 9.9% 9.8% 9.7% 9.3% 8.9% 8.2%
50% - 99% of poverty threshold 11.4% 11.8% 9.5% 12.1% 12.0% 12.1% 11.9% 10.8% 9.8%

The Boost Students Need To Overcome Obstacles

8 Great Documentaries About Homelessness

  1. If You Got It Give It (2018)
  2. Under the Bridge (2015)
  3. It Was a Wonderful Life (1993)
  4. Dark Days (2000)
  5. On the Edge of the World (2013)
  6. Sleeping Rough (2018)
  7. Down and Out in America (1986)
  8. The Dark Side of the Moon (2019)

Rising Poverty in the American Suburbs

In Depth

In areas struggling with poverty, some of the most effective solutions are those that involve residents banding together to help one another. Familiarity with their neighbors, and the challenges they face, allows community organizations to provide relief where it will do the most good. Presented here, in no particular order, are seven dedicated groups working to unite, support, and empower the people around them.

Starting us off at #1 is Urban Ventures, a faith-inspired organization providing options for under-served youth and families, in partnership with numerous businesses, non-profits, schools, and religious groups in the Minneapolis area. Their focus is on empowerment through education, with programs like After School Support, a bilingual homework and literacy assistance offering, or the Reading Plus initiative for building children's skills with the written word. Through the Act Six college leadership effort, they also offer scholarships to students seeking degrees in order to better serve their communities.

Along with its academic programming, Urban Ventures offers resources designed to promote family stability, like the Siempre Padres curriculum, which teaches relationship skills, and provides opportunities for parents and children to spend time together. Other important services include youth athletics, music education, and a prison diversion initiative for nonviolent firearms offenders. They also pair at-risk teens with mentors and supportive peer groups through the Young Life program. The organization welcomes help in many forms, including donations, fundraising partners, and volunteers.

The organization welcomes help in many forms, including donations, fundraising partners, and volunteers.

Following up at #2 is BakerRipley, a non-profit corporation that provides services aimed at strengthening neighborhoods, and expanding opportunity, throughout the Houston area. They promote engagement through efforts like voter registration and leadership development, as well as offering assistance with food insecurity, disaster recovery, and senior wellness. Many of their initiatives are dedicated to helping empower individuals to improve their lives, such as training for local entrepreneurs, or the Community Engineers program for people aspiring to transform their neighborhoods for the better.

BakerRipley operates community centers in locations across the city, through which they offer services like youth summer camps, language learning courses, and leadership development. They also sponsor numerous early education programs, charter schools, and skill-building opportunities for young people. The organization believes in breaking down barriers for the disadvantaged, providing career counseling and assistance with immigration issues. They aim to make it easier for new members of the community to become business owners, and to connect with their neighbors. Those interested can lend support as donors or volunteers.

Coming in at #3 is the non-profit organization One World Everybody Eats, which works to promote a pay-what-you-can restaurant framework to combat hunger. The movement was started in 2003, when founder Denise Cerreta opened her original cafe in Salt Lake City, and has since grown to include locations from Colorado to the United Kingdom. Their model emphasizes choice, dignity, and community-building; no one is turned away, and patrons can choose to pay with a donation of any amount, or by volunteering their time.

Their model emphasizes choice, dignity, and community-building; no one is turned away, and patrons can choose to pay with a donation of any amount, or by volunteering their time.

One World Everybody Eats provides resources and support to those looking to start their own donation-based eateries; they share their strategic approach in the OWEE Guide to Starting a Community Cafe, and offer online networking for prospective owners. The group hosts an Annual Summit, where members can gather to exchange ideas and celebrate shared successes, and participating cafes spread the word about food insecurity each year with National Everybody Eats Week. Supporters can make a contribution today by donating to the organization.

#4 on our list is Blanket BC Society, a nonprofit organization that brings donated blankets and warm clothing to those with pressing need. From its 2005 founding in Vancouver, the group has grown to serve shelter programs all across British Columbia. They also give directly to struggling families, emergency service departments, and impoverished indigenous communities. And they reach out with education and advocacy, raising awareness about issues like homelessness and poverty to help motivate efforts for change.

One of Blanket BC Society's signature initiatives is their annual Drive on the Line Campaign, a two-day event collecting much-needed warm goods along the Canada Line railway route. Other efforts have brought relief to communities abroad that have been impacted by natural disasters. The organization promotes interest in volunteering and community service among young people, providing numerous opportunities for kids to get involved in bringing warmth to those in need. Anyone wishing to support the group can make a donation or pitch in as one of their blanketeers.

Anyone wishing to support the group can make a donation or pitch in as one of their blanketeers.

Next up at #5 is The Bowery Mission, which provides relief to homeless and hungry people in New York City. Established in the late 1800s, when the neighborhood was known as a home for the desperate, the Mission offers a comprehensive program of help for those in need. Clients define their goals and the organization assists however they can, whether through transformative counseling, vocational training, or a variety of other essential services. Faith-based but nondenominational, they are committed to serving anyone who arrives seeking aid.

The Bowery Mission strives to be a resource for both the pressing needs and the long-term success of their clients. Essential goods such as food and clothing provide a bridge through crisis, while Residential & Community Programs offer support in overcoming challenges like addiction or chronic unemployment. There are also initiatives for children, from the Mont Lawn Summer Camp to various tutoring and mentoring services, working to bolster the talents and resilience of at-risk youth. Supporters can give funds or in-kind donations, or assist directly with the Mission's work.

Entry #6 is Eva's Village, an anti-poverty charity providing an array of interconnected services, which work together to help people overcome cycles of addiction and hardship. Whether they're looking for personal transformation or just a hot meal, those who arrive at the organization's Paterson, New Jersey campus have the option to access programs ranging from emergency shelter, to mental health care, to an intensive Culinary School teaching food preparation skills. Their personalized, comprehensive methods are intended to meet basic needs while also empowering lifelong success.

Their personalized, comprehensive methods are intended to meet basic needs while also empowering lifelong success.

Created in 1982 as a soup kitchen, Eva's Village has grown to encompass a broad range of community resources, many intended to assist with recovery from substance abuse and overdose. Their halfway houses offer individuals and families support in moving from rehabilitation to independence, while their Maternal Wraparound Program helps pregnant women and new mothers break opiate dependence. Other services focus on education, both for young children or for adults looking to re-enter the workforce. Those who desire to contribute can donate, attend a fundraising event, or volunteer their time.

Concluding our list at #7 is Catie's Closet, dedicated to improving school attendance by providing disadvantaged children with the clothing and toiletries they need. The group aims to help young people feel confident and comfortable, allowing them to select outfits that they can take pride in wearing. Begun with a single Closet donated by the family of Catie Bisson in her memory, the organization has expanded to serve more than ten thousand students in schools across Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Catie's Closet works directly within schools, reaching kids at risk for absenteeism with the help of guidance counselors, nurses, or social workers; participants can choose clothes discreetly, avoiding stigma. The organization serves children through high school, and strives to provide stylish and up-to-date apparel that students are happy to wear around their peers. The program offers an opportunity for young people to gain experience with community services as Student Ambassadors, while other interested individuals can assist through monetary donations, gifts of goods, or by serving as volunteers.