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    The Gift of Greater Good

    The spirit of the holiday season spurs us toward generosity. We give gifts. We gather together (if only virtually) to share the bounty of our holiday tables. And in our community, we band together to support those in need.

     

    There is a rich tapestry of hard-working nonprofit organizations in Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley who need our support now more than ever. The following pages offer many ways to expand your holiday tradition of giving. Explore the diverse list of inspiring local nonprofits that bring creativity, vitality, dignity, and care to our community all year long. Then act: volunteer, donate, give. ‘Tis the season, after all.

    Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley: Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley empowers low-income individuals living in South Bethlehem and throughout Northampton County. Its mission is to improve the quality of lives of families (Hispanic and non-Hispanic) through empowerment. At HCLV, they believe in a community that embraces economic opportunity for all and sees its cultural diversity as a foundation for building a stronger society and a more vibrant economy—and that at the heart of change is the individual’s desire and willingness to pursue a path toward their own independence and self-sufficiency. Due to COVID-19, HCLV shifted its operations to fully-remote services to provide continuous, and uninterrupted services across the Food Pantry, WIC, CEP, Senior Center, and more. Please support their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic by making a donation on their website.

    Zoellner Arts Center: Over 25 years ago, Lehigh University had a vision: to create a vibrant arts environment for both students and artists to develop and learn. To educate, captivate, and inspire performers and audiences by presenting a variety of stunning performing arts events, exhibits, and educational programs, and to create new works. In 1997, this vision manifested in Zoellner Arts Center—home to the Lehigh University Music Department, the Department of Theatre, the Art Galleries, and the Guest Artist Series—a place for creativity and innovation; for exploring all corners of artistic disciplines; and for opening up minds to new ideas and new ways of seeing the world.

     

    Bringing a wealth of rich experience (including a background in music education), Zoellner’s new Executive Director Mark Fitzgerald Wilson has already begun to revise their arts education model with an expanded focus on “whole child” education. This amplified priority enables the center to deliver even more dynamic and meaningful arts enrichment, cultural programming, social- emotional learning programs, and artist- in-residencies addressing diverse issues specifically tied to a school’s curriculum.

    The Bach Choir of Bethlehem: The Bach Choir’s virtual Christmas Concert offers joy, comfort, and connections— “gather” online and enjoy! Popular carols, arias from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, exquisite soloists, Bel Canto Youth Chorus and inspiring words, all offered to open our hearts to the warmth of the season.

    Lehigh University Art Galleries: Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG) was founded in 1926 as the centralized fine art collection of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. With over 16,000 works of art from diverse time periods and cultures, seven galleries on three campuses, two art study centers, and an outdoor sculpture collection of over 50 works, there is something for everyone at LUAG.

    United Way of the Great Lehigh Valley: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us, and many of our children and families are still in crisis. Today, more than 40% of households in our community are facing serious financial instability and food insecurity. For more than 100 years, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley has served our community in times of extraordinary need. Together with partners, they are responding by helping families put food on the table and keep roofs over their heads while working to create the lasting changes we need to build a stronger, more resilient community. United, we can rebuild and recover.

    Icehouse Tonight: Set in the unique, rustic space that is the historic Charles A. Brown Ice House on the banks of Bethlehem’s Lehigh River, the IceHouse Tonight performing arts series presents a steady stream of diverse performances and events for every season. Now in its ninth year, the series was established to serve and share the arts of the local culture. With programming focused on the work of the resident arts community—think of your favorite artists and performers right here in the Lehigh Valley—the series shines a light on our local values, issues, and heritage. Since the pandemic, the venue has created a virtual-only series, Live from IceHouse Tonight, so that we can safely take in the local arts from the comfort and safety of our own homes. The show must go on, in person or otherwise—with a heartfelt dedication and a hyper-local focus, IceHouse Tonight believes that this city is our stage, our canvas, our place to make.

    Southside Arts District: The SouthSide Arts District wants to become the Lehigh Valley’s mecca for public art. Each year they work tirelessly to create opportunities for local artists to transform the streetscape of South Bethlehem into their canvas. Through grants, events, and fundraising they are able to pay artists for their work, as well as all the extra costs that go along with installing public art. Over the last three years the SouthSide Arts District has completed public art projects including artist-designed flower pots and bike racks, murals, the Greenway ArtsWalk, and a public piano. And now they’ve tied them all together to create a guided tour throughout the downtown called the Urban Arts Trail! Visitors can follow the 2.75-mile path using a phone app that highlights artist information and details about each public art piece seen throughout the SouthSide.

    Lehigh County Humane Society: The Lehigh County Humane Society provides needed animal welfare services to our community, bringing true equality and kindness to the forefront of what they do every day as human beings. A managed-admission facility, they do not turn animals away based on their age, breed, and perceived adoptability. They provide food, medical care, foster homes, adoption services, lost pet services, and cruelty investigations. LCHS’s new innovative Community Vet Clinic program empowers local pet owners by providing essential veterinary care for the pets they love at an accessible, affordable cost— and is the only program of its kind in the Lehigh Valley.

    Wildlands Conservancy: Wildlands Conservancy employs some really wild ambassadors: their education animals! Feathered, furry, and not—they educate thousands of community members, of all ages, about the value of nature right here in the Lehigh Valley. From insects to avian species, caring for their Animal Ambassadors costs about $70,000 annually. This holiday season, you can help keep their animals healthy and educate the next generation of environmental stewards when you Give the Gift of Animal Care. Gift packages start at only $50 with adoption options available and complementary at-home nature kits included. All of Wildlands’ creatures, great and small, wish you a happy holiday season!

    Last Chance Ranch: Last Chance Ranch is a non-profit, no kill animal rescue located in Quakertown. Rescuing ALL types of animals (from hamsters to horses!), they focus on finding forever homes for more than 1,000 animals each year.

    Allentown Rescue Mission: Founded in 1900, the Allentown Rescue Mission is the largest homeless shelter for men in the Lehigh Valley. The Allentown Rescue Mission helps homeless men 18 years and older reintegrate back into society with its three distinct programs (Emergency Shelter, Transformation Program, and Clean Team Re-employment Program). The programs identify the individual needs of the guests and give them the confidence and tools needed to succeed.

     

    The men receive one-on-one coaching, faith-based education, life skills classes, and paid transitional employment. By the time the men leave the Allentown Rescue Mission, they’ve typically saved enough money for an apartment, secured permanent employment, and have been restored as productive members of the community. The Allentown Rescue Mission stayed open during the 1918 pandemic and has been open every day during this pandemic; providing a safe environment for the men who call it home.

    YWCA Bethlehem: YWCA Bethlehem’s TechGYRLS program is changing the face of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) by providing positive female role models, creating supportive learning environments, and fostering academic success for diverse girls in our local community. YWCA Bethlehem’s TechGYRLS participants explore robotics, computer coding, science and engineering, and learn that women can, and do, thrive in STEM fields that have historically been dominated by men. With your help, YWCA Bethlehem will continue to encourage curious, creative girls to become independent, inquisitive women who will change the face, and the future, of STEM.

    Eastern PA Trans Equity Project: Think about when you have to show your ID… buying alcohol, airport security, cashing a check, applying for an apartment, and even getting hired for a job. It’s all pretty routine—unless you are transgender and your ID doesn’t match your gender presentation. Unfortunately, changing your name and ID is expensive, complicated and—sometimes—dangerous. Our name change services help transgender folk with financial assistance and advisory services that let them successfully navigate the legal system so they can overcome a key hurdle to living the lives they deserve.

    Center for Vision Loss: Your support could put hope in sight for clients like Annette.
    The Center for Vision Loss provides purpose-driven care for individuals with vision loss and visual impairments that includes medical care, food access, assistive technology training, and emotional support therapies that ultimately allow them to triumph over their visual impairments to lead more independent lives.

     

    Despite the challenges put forth by the pandemic, they have continued to innovate and pivot programming to make it accessible and engaging for clients to connect from the safety of their homes. From grocery deliveries to virtual life skills education and support groups, they are committed to helping community residents with low vision seize their independence through the pandemic and beyond.

    SHE: SHE, an acronym for “She Has Everything,” is an after-school education program designed to encourage girls to see the many possibilities ahead of them by developing life skills that promote self- esteem, personal well-being, healthy relationships, resilience, teamwork, leadership, and interest in academic success. The program currently serves 4th to 7th grade girls in the Bethlehem Area School District at Broughal Middle School, Donegan Elementary, Fountain Hill Elementary, and Lincoln Elementary and will be expanding into Allentown School District. SHE is a program of Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley.

    Generation Next: Generation Next is a college readiness program that was designed to correct disparities in education. The program helps underserved high school students achieve college admission, integrate into college life, and complete a post-secondary program. Students are eligible for Generation Next if they meet two of the three requirements: they will be a first-generation college student, they are a person of color, or they are eligible for free/reduced lunch. The program currently serves students in the Bethlehem and Easton Area School Districts and will be expanding to Allentown. Generation Next is a program of Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley.

    National Museum of Industrial History: Housed in the former Electric Repair Shop of the Bethlehem Steel plant site on the vibrant SteelStacks arts & culture campus, the National Museum of Industrial History interprets industry past, present, and future through dynamic exhibits, hands- on interactives, and engaging programs. Visitors of all ages can enjoy the stories of the people, machines, and ideas that transformed our nation through a rich collection of rare artifacts including the esteemed 1876 Smithsonian Industrial collection.

    Touchstone Theatre: For the last 20 years  Christmas City Follies has been singing, dancing, laughing, and cartwheeling its way into the hearts of its audiences. Now, in 2020, the holiday tradition goes online! This streamed video edition of Follies will premiere on December 20th via YouTube and be available to watch—as many times as you want—in the comfort of your home through January 2nd. Tickets can be purchased at touchstone.org or by calling 610.867.1689.

    The Monocacy Farm Project: By using land and resources at Monocacy Manor, Bethlehem in the Franciscan tradition, the Monocacy Farm Project (MFP) models stewardship and care of the earth, engages and educates the community, and—perhaps most importantly—strives to alleviate hunger.

     

    From April through October each year, the MFP plants and harvests organically-grown produce that feeds the needy through community partnerships with food pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens. Community gardeners, youth groups, retreatants, church and school groups, organizations, and individuals also find fulfillment in these fields by taking part in sustainable gardening, educational programs, and other projects that give back to underserved communities.