This time of year, nonprofit organizations are reaching out to the community for assistance.

Christmas stories and songs teach about the importance of serving others. The winter is the coldest time of year, and often the time community members are in greatest need.

Help In Crisis is a nonprofit that provides lifesaving services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Some of the survivors are sheltered at the facility, and others live on their own and receive services. This year, HIC is in most need of financial support.

“We don’t use those funds for rent or operating expenses,” said Laura Kuester, executive director of HIC. “We use those to provide lifesaving services to survivors who need somewhere to go.”

Survivors don’t always need a place for shelter. Kuester explained that sometimes, victims may have a place to stay, but it is out of state, or far from Cherokee County. In these cases, HIC will provide a bus ticket to get them to the safety of a home with family or friends. Sometimes these funds will pay for a first month’s rent of an apartment, or a deposit, or even medication or daycare.

The shelter is also looking for hygiene items.

“We use those year-round, and they are things we let survivors keep: hairbrushes, shampoos, conditioners, and pillows,” said Kuester.

Over the holidays, survivors may not receive gifts, so HIC is also accepting stockings for kids and gift baskets for adults.

“It’s nice to get gift items to put together for anyone in the shelter. We have plenty who are in apartments that we’ve helped get out of the shelter, and they don’t necessarily get gifts for Christmas,” she said.

Currently, there are 10 adults and 10 children staying at HIC, but that can change on a daily basis. They work with Toys for Tots and the Angel Tree to receive some gifts, but they can use items like lotions, pajama pants, slippers, blankets, pillows, and scarves and gloves for the kids. They do not need coats or clothing donations.

“Most of all, money is helpful. Money is more powerful than someone getting their favorite pajama pants and slippers, because it will change their life,” said Kuester.

For more information, call HIC at 918-456-0673.

The Zoë Institute states that its purpose is to help give people a hand up, not just a handout. This is done by offering clothing and other services to those in need.

“The Zoë Institute is always open for donations. It doesn’t have to be money,” said Rosita Campbell, one of the institute’s workers who wears many hats. “When people donate household items that they need to get rid of that are in good condition, that’s wonderful.”

She explained that the institute already has a surplus of clothing. Currently, the greatest need is for household items, such as linens, kitchen items, and towels.

“When people are evicted, they lose everything they have because they don’t have a moving van. When they get to the next place, they may not have a place to cook. Pots and pans are helpful,” she said.

For more information, call 918-453-9778.

The Humane Society of Cherokee County is looking for volunteers.

“We are looking for new, fresh faces,” said Shaun West, president of HSCC. “We are looking for people to commit their time.”

HSCC needs volunteers to work on its website, help with applications, updating its Facebook page, mowing lawns, raking leaves, and socializing with the animals.

“Socialization is a big deal. That’s how they get adopted,” said West.

HSCC also needs volunteers who can foster animals with special needs, because not all of the animals they receive can cohabitate with other animals. To get involved, call 918-457-7997.

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cherokee Country is looking for volunteers. There are 250 children in the three courts CASA serves, and they have served 60 of them. More than financial services, they need people who want to take the time to help a neglected child. To get involved, call 918-456-8788.

Rise Up is a Tahlequah-area nonprofit that helps build schools in rural, developing, and Indigenous communities, and particularly in Africa. Currently, Rise Up is working to build a kindergarten wing of a school building in Konso, Ethiopia. To donate, visit The Palms Massage and Wellness on 319 W. Delaware St. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for their pop-up sale. For information, call 918-316-546.

Zayden’s Toy Drive is a nonprofit that collects toys for kids from newborn to 18 who are undergoing cancer treatment at OU’s Children’s Hospital. It is accepting gifts until Dec. 10, but is not accepting stuffed toys. A list of recommended items is posted on the Facebook timeline, along with dropoff times. Items can be mailed to Zayden Jumper Toy Drive, c/o Bank of Cherokee County, 26001 S. 530 Road, Park Hill, OK 74451-3078. Call 918-822-5483 or email

The Hope House of Cherokee County did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

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Any other nonprofit organizations that wish to be featured regarding holiday charitable needs can contact Brian King at

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