Helping Works

Quick takes on good holiday news in Boise area

More “Little Free Libraries” are springing up around town, offering book lovers the chance to trade and donate their books. Details below
More “Little Free Libraries” are springing up around town, offering book lovers the chance to trade and donate their books. Details below

As the holidays approach, here’s a brief, hopeful scattering of good works, charitable giving and community goings-on:

The Boise Depot is opening its doors to show off festive decorations at a community open house and Toys for Tots drive on Dec. 10. Join the celebration from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The evening will feature three winter wonderland Christmas trees, garlands, and more.

Visitors will be able to stroll through the depot and learn about its 89-year history. Staff members will be on hand to answer questions and point out some of the building’s unique features, such as the 96-foot bell tower, symbolic paintings on the trusses above the Great Hall and the history of the Barkalow Brothers Newsstand. A musical performance by Silver Brass starts at 6 p.m.

Park ambassador Eriks Garsvo will be present for photos and to answer questions about the progression of local rails. The holiday display and toy drive will continue on Sundays and Mondays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Jan. 4 during free public drop-in hours (closed legal holidays).

The Boise Depot is located at 2603 Eastover Terrace. For more information call 208-608-7600.

Note, the Boise Depot is also offering free tours by Garsvo at noon and 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 6. Space is limited for the popular tours, so register online soon.

The Children’s Home Society of Idaho is asking for the public’s help to fill 700 gift bags for young clients. Bags will be distributed from Dec. 7 to 24 at its Boise and Meridian locations. Drop donations at 740 Warm Springs Ave. in Boise through Dec. 11. Note: gift bags are 7 inches wide by 9 inches tall, so items should be small in order to fit the bags.

Suggested items: individually wrapped packets/servings of microwave popcorn, cocoa, apple cider, trail mix or granola bars, individually wrapped candy including candy canes, Life Savers and suckers, school supplies including crayons, colored pencils, markers, pencils (No. 2 lead) or automatic pencils, small journals, note pads, erasers, small toys, stuffed animals, flashcards, playing cards, dice.

Donations of cash to buy above items and gift bags are also welcome.

Real Solutions Counseling is partnering with the local nonprofit Human Empowerment Services to collect donations for homeless veterans and refugee mothers and children. Donations will be collected from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, at 1101 W. Williams St. Suite G in Boise. Needed items include: underwear and bras in all sizes, clothing in sizes L, XL and XXL, coats, sweaters, hooded sweat shirts and pants, thermal underwear, socks, hats, gloves, hand warmers, blankets, quilts, laundry detergent, quarters for laundry, toilet paper, trash bags, deodorant, bathroom and kitchen cleaning supplies, back packs, stock pots, games for young kids, umbrellas, watches, wallets, purses, gift cards, bikes.

For more information contact Kat Richardson, fundraising director, Human Empowerment Services.

The Assistance League of Boise recently donated 475 books to the Boise District’s Just for Kids child care program. The presentation took place at Garfield Elementary School. The Assistance League is notable for lots of good works, including one of our favorites, Operation School Bell that provides new school clothes (from head to toe) for kids in need each year.

Best selling Author James Patterson recently donated $4,000 to Fairmont Junior High School’s Library as part of a nationwide program to give $1.75 million to school libraries. The money will pay for a new book for every seventh- and eighth-grader to read over the summer.

Idahoan Chris Holloway, author of “Apprentice Swordceror (The Blademage Saga Book 1)” and other books, recently donated $600 to the Victory Branch of the Ada Community Library to help support adult and family programs at the library.

Know a kid in need of a Christmas toy? The Community Council of Idaho is partnering with the Toys for Tots Foundation and accepting applications for families requesting assistance, as well as donations of unopened toys. Hand deliver applications for assistance to the main office at 317 Happy Day Blvd., Suite 170 in Caldwell. Applicants must bring a photo ID and one of the following for each child receiving assistance: immunization record, birth certificate, student ID card, or guardianship documents. Children older than 12 years old are not eligible for presents. Applications in English and Spanish are available. The deadline to submit and application is Friday, Dec. 11. CC Idaho will distribute gifts from Dec. 21-23.

A new Little Free Library: We love this worldwide project in which neighborhoods create their own tiny libraries filled with free reading material for people to leave and take at will. A new library just opened near Collister and State streets at 5063 W. Catalpa Dr. (note, there are two Catalpa Drives. This is the drive west of Collister).

Operation Homefront will provide free holiday meal kits for military families on Dec. 9 in Meridian. When families register online, they’ll find out where and when the kits will be distributed.

Micron employees have stepped up and donated 1,245 turkeys and 285 hams to the Idaho Foodbank help provide holiday meals for the 1 in 6 Idahoans who are struggling with hunger.

Clothesline Cleaners welcomes donations of men’s dress wear, including pants, shirts, sweaters, suits, jackets and more. The donations will go to the Boise Rescue Mission. Men staying at the shelter will use them when they go on job interviews. Clothesline Cleaners is at 5612 W. Fairview Ave. in Boise. They are accepting donations through November.

The Wyakin Warrior program, which provides financial support, mentoring, professional development, networking and more for wounded veterans, hosts its Guardian Ball on Dec. 5 at the Boise Centre. Get your tickets and more details online. Program President Jeff Bacon said there’s a special auction item this year. Local cartoonists, many with national profiles, will show up at the auction winner’s home the day after the ball and draw on the winners walls, doors, or whatever. Organizers are calling this “the coolest auction item ever.” Read more online.

Fork and Alavita restaurants are accepting nominations for a $5,000 donation from their Corkage for Community Fund. The donation will go to a deserving Treasure Valley not-for-profit organization. Nominations will be accepted in Fork’s Facebook page: