While the Riverside Junior Woman’s Charity has been in the business of spearheading local charity efforts for 80 years, for the second holiday season in a row, the group is hoping to draw charitable assistance from others who want to donate money towards worthy causes.
Through Dec. 31, the Juniors are sponsoring their holiday Riverside Gives fundraiser, affording residents the chance to donate to one or more of 18 groups specially selected for their local and regional outreach efforts.
The Juniors set up a website, www.RiversideGives.com, where people can click on the name of a charity, read a short description about what the organization does, enter a monetary amount to donate and then confirm the donation by verifying name and payment information.
This season, options span all age groups and causes. They include groups with limited or no advertising budgets, like Buddy’s Place, a group in Western Springs providing grief support for children who have lost a parent or loved one; the Riverside Public Library, which is looking for help to fund new shelves for Youth Services expansion; Hines VA Hospital, to purchase American flags for funerals and programs for veterans; and Seguin Services, to support adults with disabilities by purchasing household goods for local group homes.
Juniors member Bridget Doherty Perkins says the group hopes the online donation process will be a simple way to get people to donate even a few dollars towards local causes.
“It’s to give people the opportunity to give to causes that are important to them but really to kind of streamline that process,” Perkins said. “It’s formatted better than last year [when we] tried to encourage people to give particular amounts. This year, we figured [people could] do any amount they wanted.”
This month, the Juniors hope to raise $10,000 towards all 18 selected causes — a figure selected after reaching $6,000 in donations in December 2015. Last year, 95 percent of December donations came from online submissions.
Perkins says that even with the higher goal, any small amount donated still matters.
“It’s really just about spreading the word,” she said, “but the average donations have been around $100 to $150.”
In addition to the online fundraising, the Juniors also were a part of this year’s Riverside Holiday Stroll on Dec. 3, where they were stationed at the Arcade Building, screened three holiday classic films for children and collected money from passersby.
“We want to become a staple for the community so they know who Juniors are and they can count on us being at the stroll year after year,” member Valentina Drenth said. “Hopefully, Riverside Gives can really take off from there. It’s really an opportunity for us to have the community kind of come out and see who we are. We want people to know that we are the local charity in their area.”
To donate, visit www.RiversideGives.com. For more information on the Juniors and their efforts year-round, visit www.RiversideJuniors.org.