Charitable giving is down this year for the 14th and Chestnut Community Center, but the need to provide meals and after-school programming for neighborhood children continues, said Bill Felts, executive director.

The center, a faith-based nonprofit, is hoping to benefit from the community’s generosity today, Giving Tuesday.

Nationally, Giving Tuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. It is celebrated nationally following Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Many other Wabash Valley organizations are participating as well.

For 14th and Chestnut, Felts attributes a decline in giving to the 2017 change in federal tax law, which significantly increased the standard deduction and was expected to have a negative impact on charitable giving. Felts estimates donations are down about $8,000 to $9,000 this year.

Yet, the organization wants to continue providing about 100 meals each evening for children and staff.

Also, ongoing expenses are quite high, including utility bills and liability insurance. “Our buildings are old and they use a lot of energy,” Felts said.

Fundraising is ongoing for the center, and Giving Tuesday is an important piece of the puzzle. “It doesn’t make or break us, but it makes a difference,” Felts said.

The community center runs an after school program and other various programs throughout the year to ensure these children have what they need. There is a food pantry open to the community that is also run by the community center.

Among the other local groups, charities or educational institutions participating include Mental Health America of West Central Indiana; Covered with Love; reTHink Inc.; YMCA of the Wabash Valley; Chances and Services for Youth; United Way of the Wabash Valley; CANDLES Holocaust Museum and the Wabash Valley Health Center. The listing is not all inclusive.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is conducting Woods Giving Day, and for the fifth consecutive year, it is celebrating Giving Tuesday by challenging alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends to make a gift to the college with the goal of 400 unique donors.

GivingTuesday was launched in 2012 to create a day that encourages people to do good. “Over the past seven years, this idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity,” according to the Giving Tuesday website. “Giving Tuesday has raised billions of dollars for critical causes around the world. “

Mental Health America plans to use funds in part to support its “tiny homes” project aimed at providing housing for those who are homeless and often mentally ill. The project is a partnership with Indiana State University, with the tiny homes being designed and built by ISU construction technology students.

Tiny Homes would be a mini-village for people experiencing homelessness.

Funds raised also would go toward prevention, advocacy, education and services. The website is https://mhawci.org

Another nonprofit, Covered With Love, Inc., is raising funds to purchase diapers, wipes and baby hygiene products for families in need. Diapers cannot be purchased with food stamps.

As of October, the organization had provided more than 45,000 diapers in 2019 to families in need in the Wabash Valley. In its first year, 2016, it distributed 1,800 diapers, said Angie Francis, the organization’s founder. “We keep growing and growing,” she said. “We believe every baby should have these basic necessities.”

Donations of funds can be doubled and even tripled in purchase power because Covered with Love order diapers through the National Diaper Bank Network, according to the organization. “We can get two to three times more diapers” by going through the network rather than purchasing retail, Francis said.

The group’s goal for next year is to purchase two truckloads of diapers for 2020, with each truckload carrying 30,000 diapers. To make a contribution, go to the group’s Facebook page or www.CoveredWithLoveInc.org. Donors also can send a check to Covered with Love, 4200 S. 11th St., Terre Haute, Indiana, 47802; that is the group’s administrative mailing address.

The nonprofit reTHink wants to renovate an older building for its headquarters in the vicinity of the Ryves neighborhood, said founder Shikha Bhattacharyya.

The goal is to make the headquarters an innovative recycling center, where plastic waste could be turned into useful items. It also would be used to create a “library of things” so people can borrow tools that are needed only once or twice a year. “We can also have a zero-waste shop where you can buy items plastic-free and guilt-free,” she said.

To donate, go to the group’s Facebook page.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at sue.loughlin@tribstar.com Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.

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