December 17


Help Mary's Place purchase the rocking chairs for their new front porch.

Help Mary’s Place purchase the rocking chairs for their new front porch.

Some gifts excite your heart as well as warm your soul.  Seventy-nine percent of Americans say they would prefer a donation made in their name rather than a gift they didn’t want, according to a survey by Rad Campaign.  Here are gift ideas that give back to five of the many area charities making a real impact.

Give the gift of a lightly-used, fully restored bicycle from Second Life Bikes to someone on your list.  There are few greater things to do around town than riding a bike around the waterfront. Youths who work at Second Life Bikes on Main Street in Asbury Park put in 15 hours of time in exchange for a bicycle of their own, which they restore using the skills they’ve learned.  All repaired bicycles go through a professional multi-point inspection. Bikes start at $40.

“New York Times” bestselling-author Beth Stern is back with her second inspiring story as Buddy the blind foster kitten joins rescue cat Yoda and his friends for beautiful adventure in this book written for children that adults will enjoy equally as much.In “Yoda Gets a Buddy,” Yoda is busier than ever in the Foster Kitten Room, taking care of litter after litter. Buddy, a blind kitten who is recovering from surgery, and Yoda – who has been with his forever family the longest – takes him under his, err… paw and makes him his fostering partner. One day Frankie, a new foster, is introduced and from the very first moment, none of the kittens like him. Oversized ears and an unruly cowlick make him look goofy. But Buddy loves this new little guy and helps the other kittens see all of Frankie’s goodness and sweetness. Over time, the other felines learn that love truly is blind when we see each other with our hearts.  $13 on Amazon, Kindle and bookstores everywhere.  Proceeds benefit Animal League, the world’s largest no-kill animal shelter.

"Yoda Gets a Buddy" by Beth Stern

“Yoda Gets a Buddy” by Beth Stern. Proceeds benefit the world’s largest no-kill animal shelter.

Even if you can’t adopt a dog waiting for its forever home, you can sponsor the fostering a dog thanks to local charity BFF Dog Rescue with a gift of $100 or more. “We pay for all the medical care our dogs need to get them ready for their forever homes.  We currently have a heartworm positive 2 year old Chihuahua mix, Penny, a shy girl but great when she warms up to you that is being treated for heartworm infestation,” said Kim Skillman, cofounder of BFF.  “We also have a 10 month old Boxer mix, Betty, very playful, and a 5 year old Shepherd mix, Greta, who has had some tough times but is overcoming them. Sponsoring a dog’s medical care is incredibly helpful and a critical part of the pre-adoption process.”

Give a gift that will give hours of joy and relaxation for someone working to overcome cancer – sponsor the purchase of a white porch rocking chair for the new Mary’s Place by the Sea.  Contact the charity for specific details.

Choose something from Coastal Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore resale store.  Brand names, brand new, plus lots of lightly-used and fantastic vintage home decor and houseware items.  All proceeds stay local and will help seniors and veterans “Age in Place.”