End the Year with Cheer: Have some free time or a little extra cash? A nonprofit could use your help

Published: Dec. 6, 2020 at 7:25 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Looking for a way to end this year with a little bit of cheer? Or perhaps something positive to look forward to in the next? Consider taking some of your time or money and giving it to a deserving nonprofit.

In Anchorage, there are many to choose from including one nonprofit with a mission to help rehabilitate injured wild birds and educate the public about the importance of wild birds in the environment.

Bird Treatment and Learning Center, or BirdTLC as it’s known, has been providing those services for more than 30 years. But Executive Director Guy Runco said this year has brought one of the organization’s biggest challenges.

“With COVID it’s really hard to make ends meet like we have in the past,” said Runco. “We are used to earning our income by going out and doing educational presentations throughout the state. And right now that’s just not a possibility.”

Avian Rehab Coordinator Amy Kilshaw works with an injured peregrine falcon
Avian Rehab Coordinator Amy Kilshaw works with an injured peregrine falcon(ktuu)

Cash donations to nonprofits like BirdTLC are more important than ever, but there are other ways to help. Consider volunteering. Nonprofits may need help organizing virtual auctions or other fundraisers. Many are looking for board members who can help guide organizations that often have few paid positions.

“Board members, I think, like with every nonprofit, are just an integral part of who we are and what we do,” said Runco. He added that BirdTLC is always looking for new people to apply.

And, once it’s safe to do so, the organization can use people to care and feed birds in their clinic or learn how to present them to the public.

“We are always looking for help with education birds,” said Runco. “It takes a certain kind of dedicated person to take their time training with the bird and really learning the nuances of the bird they are working with. So it’s a bit of a time commitment but a really cool experience.”

If that seems like too much, they’d welcome your donations in the form of cash or even food. Freezer burned salmon or red meat are accepted year-round. This time of year they are also accepting mountain ash berries from people’s yards to feed a growing number of Bohemian waxwings that are coming through the clinic doors.

Overall, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with nonprofits, in a big way or even a one-time donation. You need only find a cause you can identify with and ask how you can help.

Editor’s Note: Author Lauren Maxwell is a long-time board member of the Bird Treatment and Learning Center

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