A time for giving
Edie and Denny Lott have climbed to great heights so no one will go to bed hungry.The Truckee retirees recently ascended Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous United States, to raise more than $2,000 in pledges for hunger relief organizations.”For people who have been up Whitney or for avid mountain climbers, Whitney isn’t a difficult climb,” Edie Lott said of the 11-mile climb. “But for people who we knew who aren’t hikers, it was like ‘Wow, you guys are in your 60s and you’re doing that.’ I think people knew how passionate we are about hunger issues, and they were impressed that we would attempt it at our age.”For the past 20 years, the Lotts have been hunger-issue advocates. They speak at churches about their work, put on retreats and workshops about hunger, and give locally to Project MANA.
Gifts for GoodMany local donors choose to give their money within the Truckee-North Tahoe area. Last year, more than 150 locals chose to donate money to Gifts for Good, a holiday fund-raising campaign that turns donations into grants for local organizations in need. The campaign is sponsored by the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation, Sierra Sun and Tahoe World.”It’s important to take care of our community,” said Truckee resident Jake Hudson, who made an end-of-year contribution to Gifts for Good in 2003. “It’s part of all of our well-being, and it goes to our neighbors. It’s good for us all. It comes back to us all in a healthy, vibrant community.”Gifts for Good raised a total of $140,000 in 2002 and 2003 for local nonprofit organizations. The campaign allows donors to choose what types of organizations they want their money to benefit – whether it be arts and culture, environment and conservation, human services, animal welfare, education or areas of highest need.
Truckee resident Ken Anderson said he was compelled to donate to Gifts for Good to give a boost to organizations that help people who work here, but can’t afford the high cost of living.”I think there’s a real dichotomy in the community around here,” Anderson said. “A lot of people have made a good living, then there’s this hidden poverty in this area. Like the people who work in the hotels or in the service industry, they have a hard time getting by. They need a little more help.”Defining giving
Many nonprofits that benefit from community good don’t just receive. For example, the director of Choices Transitional Services, a day program for developmentally disabled adults, has made a conscious decision to reach out to other local organizations. The group often visits the extended care center at Tahoe Forest Hospital and plays with the babies at Sierra Teen Education and Parenting Program.”I’ve been really trying to get it across: We love to help back,” said Marilyn Moon, Choices day program director. “If an organization were to need bulk mailing or our services, we are more than willing to volunteer and help the community, so the community isn’t giving and giving and giving. We want to give, too.”For some, giving is an end-of-year-process, when they take inventory of what they have left to contribute. For others, giving is a year-round habit and a part of life.The definition of giving is different for everyone. For the Lotts, the hunger issue advocates, giving is worthwhile, no matter who, or where, the contribution goes.”We’re part of a human family,” Denny Lott said. “We are as connected to a child in Africa as we are to a family in Truckee. A hungry child is a hungry child.”