The Big Give 2017

May the Fourth Be With You!

The Big Give S.A. is all day today, May 4. For those who may not be familiar, The Big Give S.A. is a 24-hour day of giving. It’s organized by the Texas Nonprofit Council and the San Antonio Area Foundation, with the support of the New Braunfels Community Center and the Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country.

Since 2014, 101,000 donors have given nearly $11 million dollars to over 1,600 nonprofits through the Big Give-making it one of the most successful giving days in the country.

You may remember that last year was challenging — After a series of technical failures, the national Give Local America site went down, and donors across the country had difficulty giving to the nonprofits of their choice. Our community still rallied to raise $4.3 million for 1,055 nonprofits in 2016! You are resilient and generous!

All the nonprofits we have helped in this past year or will help later this year are fundraising extra-hard today! Many are participating in special events all day. Here are their Big Give links. If a particular organization over the last year was special to you, or if one of our upcoming nonprofit partners has a special place in your heart, please give and GIVE BIG!

Elf Louise

San Antonio Food Bank

Family Violence Prevention Services

SAMMinistries

Animal Defense League

San Antonio AIDS Foundation

San Antonio Youth Literacy

Texas Burn Survivor Society

The Rape Crisis Center

Texas Diaper Bank

Alpha Home

Merced Housing Texas

SNIPSA

 

The Big Give 20172017-05-04T10:04:59-06:00

Charity Spotlight: Alpha Home

For 50 years, Alpha Home has been committed to treating the whole person—not just the addiction— by caring, qualified professionals. By incorporating their core values of spirituality, integrity, discipline, dedication and productivity into their treatment approach, they focus on the whole person and give those they serve the best tools for responsible, long-term sobriety.

Alpha Home has the only San Antonio gender-specific Residential Rehab Program dedicated exclusively to treating women.

The Residential treatment program provides women intensive and expansive therapeutic drug rehab and alcoholism addiction treatment program in a home-like residential setting that prepares them to remain clean and sober while embracing the benefit of a lifelong 12-Step commitment. Centrally located, Alpha Home is the perfect place to find serenity and begin working toward a new life.

Alpha Home offers dual diagnosis support for women who suffer from substance abuse and mental health issues. By providing gender-specific treatment in a nurturing environment, their program encourages women to focus on female specific issues. Over the course of the program, women are immersed in the 12 step program and are helped with important life skills, a combination that allows them to find sobriety and the courage to maintain it after they leave treatment.

Alpha Home offers two homes for women to live in during treatment. The Mulberry home has 31 beds, located in the middle of the Monte Vista Historic District, and the Camden home with 16 beds located near downtown. The bedrooms are cozy yet roomy, with twin-sized beds and a shared bath. The homes also include a large kitchen, dining room, media center, living room with cable television and on-site direct care staff.

Alpha Home’s Outpatient Treatment Program is a program for both women and men who are seeking treatment but have the skills and support to recover without residential care. The 16 week program offers gender-specific programs for both females and males 18 years and older, evidence based curriculums, and trauma-informed care.

 


Wish List

New or gently used women’s coats and sweaters

Women’s undergarments (new only):

  • Bras
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Pajamas

 

Toiletries (new only):

  • Toothbrushes
  • 15 oz. bottles of shampoo and conditioner
  • Wash cloths
  • Full size tubes of toothpaste
  • Regular size bars of soap
  • Makeup
  • Hotel/travel size toiletries

 

Tools and equipment (new only):

  • Hedge trimmer
  • Power washer
  • Nail gun
  • Air compressor
  • Circular saw
  • Reciprocating saw

 

Other needs (new only):

  • Bath towels
  • Twin sheet sets
  • Standard size pillows
  • Stationery
  • Plain envelopes
  • Blank note cards
  • Journals
  • New or used Alcoholics Anonymous books
  • New or used Narcotics Anonymous books
  • Vacuums (4)
  • Towels
  • Patio Furniture
  • Bath rugs
  • Indoor plants
  • Area rugs for living rooms
  • Small refrigerator
  • Hard plastic/ceramic (plates, bowls, cups)

 

Alpha Home cannot accept:

  • Party dresses
  • Flip flops
  • Short shorts
  • Baby items of any kind
  • Used electronics
Charity Spotlight: Alpha Home2016-12-28T16:32:29-06:00

Charity Spotlight: SAMMinistries Back to School

About SAMMinistries

SAMMinistries is an interfaith ministry whose mission is to help the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless attain self-sufficiency by offering, with dignity and compassion, shelter, housing, and services. Since 2008, SAMM has prevented 20,000 San Antonians from entering homelessness. Each night, SAMM offers 350 families a place to call home. In 2014, 98% of the families served through SAMM’s Homeless Prevention Program remained out of homelessness after 18 months.

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Homelessness in the SA Metro Area

Homelessness is a real problem in San Antonio and its surrounding communities. We will get a new survey later this month to count current homeless, but 2015 numbers are available from SARAH, the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless. In 2015, there were 2,891 homeless individuals counted at the Point-In-Time (PIT) Count. The PIT Count is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is used in determining federal funding for San Antonio’s homeless programs. 546 of these were children (average age of 6) and 309 of these were veterans. This total number has been largely steady for the last three years (2,892 in 2014 and 2,980 in 2013). SAMMinistries estimates the current San Antonio homeless population at approximately 3,211.

While 3,211 may not seem like a very large number in a city with a population of 1.4 million, the reality is that nearly 50% of San Antonio’s population is living with no savings, which puts them at a high risk of becoming homeless if they experience a loss of income. More than half of all homeless individuals in San Antonio cite a loss of income as their reason for homelessness, and affordable housing is the most requested service by homeless individuals in San Antonio.

SAMMinistries offers the following services:

  • Homeless Prevention: Providing rental assistance, utility assistance and supportive services to enable individuals, families, veterans and seniors who are in imminent danger of eviction avoid homelessness.
  • Transitional Housing: SAMMinistries offers 65 families transitional housing through individual homes in San Antonio, as well as the Transitional Living and Learning Center (TLLC). The Transitional Housing program provides housing, support and resources to families who show a commitment to gaining self-sufficiency. The individual needs of all family members are supported for a two-year period, promoting the viability of the family as a whole while they transition out of homelessness.
  • Rapid Re-Housing: The Rapid Re-Housing program reduces the amount of time a family experiences homelessness and rapidly re-houses families into permanent, affordable homes. Financial assistance is provided for up to 3 months along with 12 months of case management.
  • Permanent Supportive Housing: Permanent Supportive Housing assists and empowers families to live as independently as possible. SAMMinistries has a permanent housing program that assists families with whom one member of the family has a disability. SAMMinistries also manages 100 set-aside housing vouchers to help families find permanent housing in the private rental market.
  • Supportive Services: In order to serve their clients and the community holistically, SAMMinistries offers supportive services to all program participants to support them spiritually, mentally and physically. These services include spiritual services, educational assistance, wellness classes and employment development.

What are we doing to help?

Our July Nerd Night events on July 8th and 24th will support SAMMinistries’ annual Back-to-School Bash, taking place in August. Each year, SAMMinistries invites more than 200 children from their programs across the city to attend and shop for back-to-school clothing and supplies. See the list below for “most needed” items.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES

3″ – 4″ Binders
Pocket Folders with Brads (different colors)
200-count Kleenex Tissues
9″ x 12″ Assorted Construction Paper (loose)
Red Pencils 10-count Divider Pages (for the binders)

CLOTHING & SHOES

Pants (Khakis):
30×32 Adult Slim Men
16 Adult Women
6 Adult Women

Women’s Shirts:
XL Juniors

Shoes:
Boys: 1 Youth
Girls: 2, 11 Youth
Men: 6, 7, 10.5 Adult
Women: 7, 8, 8.5 Adult

Charity Spotlight: SAMMinistries Back to School2016-11-25T10:59:32-06:00

June Nerd Night, Part One

I’m going to have to think of new ways to distinguish between Nerd Nights! Can’t just call them by their months anymore, with two events. What’s she taking about, you’re asking? Well, now you now have two opportunities to join us for gaming and supporting local charities. We’ll still have the second Friday events at Geeks Cafe. That’s not going anywhere. But now, with the grand opening of Knight Watch Games, we have a second space to play and a new day and time. Fourth Sundays, 2-10pm. Come on out and support a new local business, run by gamers, for gamers. I promise it’s going to be one of the most unique spaces you’ve ever played in. Brenda and Paraic have done an amazing job getting it ready to unveil. The grand opening celebration is this weekend, so stop by and say hello! Mark your calendar to join us next Sunday for Nerd Night Part Two.

Part One was a good time for a great cause! Sue Dodson from the Texas Burn Survivor Society came out and gave a short talk. She told us about some of the things they do to support burn survivors and their families.

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It was great to see so many of you out to game with us and pile up donations for the kids at Camp David! Let’s keep it going throughout the rest of the month of June.

Donations for Camp David

About half the donations collected for Camp David.

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Announcements

The donation page is down but I’m hoping to have it fixed this weekend. As we fully transition to  501(c)(3) status a lot of accounting things have needed to be updated. I’m glad to say we’ll soon have a full profile on Guidestar so that everyone can see where our money goes. Any donations to Nerd Night this month will go directly to paying for our Meetup subscription and would be very much appreciated.

T-shirts! At Sunday Nerd Night I will have signup sheets for those of you interested in a classy Nerd Night shirt. They’ll be $12 and proceeds will go to support our operating expenses, such as the Meetup, web hosting and printing costs.

Join us at Knight Watch Games on the 26th for another great event. Bring backpack-stuffing stuff for the Texas Burn Survivor Society and your own snacks and drinks. River Tree Bistro, a fabulous little restaurant in the same shopping center as Knight Watch, will be opening from 5-8pm to serve dinner.

June Nerd Night, Part One2016-11-25T10:59:33-06:00

Charity Spotlight: Texas Burn Survivor Society

June’s partner organization is the Texas Burn Survivor Society. TBSS founder David Jayne was critically burned in a helicopter accident and spent three years enduring treatment and rehab at Brooke Army Medical Center’s Burn Unit. David and his wife Jane were determined to provide the kind of support for others they themselves had so sorely needed, and in 1962 TBSS was born.

Since formally organizing in 1996, TBSS has created successful programs of patient support which have assisted thousands of burn and thermal injury survivors to achieve a successful return to normal and productive lives. These include purchasing scar management garments for burn survivors who can’t afford them otherwise, providing emergency assistance of all kinds to burn survivors and their families, a scholarship program for burn survivors to help them obtain vocational degrees, several programs working with wounded warriors, a peer support group, a fire and burn prevention education program in association with the San Antonio Fire Department, and Camp David, a summer camp for burn survivors, their siblings, or children of burn survivors ages 7-16.

Camp DavidWe will be stuffing backpacks for Camp David. The camp provides pediatric burn survivors with a week of adventure, discovery and fun, designed specifically for pediatric burn survivors aged 7 to 16. Camp David is unique among burn camps because it also includes siblings and children of burn survivors, whose lives are also severely impacted by burn injury. This amazing camp is made available to the children free of charge.

11755824_1086064558089215_354587327223238191_nCamp David, named in honor of TBSS co-founded David Jayne, is in its 21st year and will take place July 10-16 at Texas Lions Camp in Kerrville, where it has been since 2007. On average, the camp hosts 55 campers each year. This year, they will host at least 65 campers. The camp is financed by private donations and is free of charge for all campers.

10985040_1086066988088972_9013959566192124012_nAt Camp David, children learn the core spiritual values which enhance the ability to survive injury and gain the self-confidence, self-esteem and coping skills that will allow them to re-enter and function happily in society. Surrounded by caring mentors, volunteers of the Texas Burn Survivor Society, and the incredible men and women of the San Antonio, Austin, and Kerrville Fire Departments. Camp David allows the children to discover that anything is possible. Here, potential has no limit.

For further information about Camp David or Texas Burn Survivor Society, visit texasburnsurvivors.org, call 210-824-8499, e-mail tbssinfo@sbcglobal.net, or visit their Facebook page.

Camp David Group Picture

Backpack Items

Beach Towels/Large Bath Towels

School Supplies

Snack Items (granola bars, sugar free mints/gum, etc.)

Beanie Babies or Similar Small Stuffed Animals

Small Puzzle Toys

Small Journals or Notepads

Decals and Stickers

Friendship Bracelets

 

Charity Spotlight: Texas Burn Survivor Society2016-11-25T10:59:33-06:00

The Big Give

Today’s a big day! The Big Give S.A. is all day today, May 3. For those who may not be familiar, The Big Give S.A. is a 24-hour day of giving. It’s organized by the Texas Nonprofit Council and the San Antonio Area Foundation, with the support of the New Braunfels Community Center and the Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country.

The Big Give S.A. launched in 2014 with a goal of raising $1 million in donations for local nonprofits. They exceeded that goal, with $2 million in donations raised.

In 2015, The Big Give S.A. expanded to include the 11 surrounding counties and doubled the goal, increasing it to $4 million. Again, it was exceeded, raising over $4.3 million raised for local nonprofit organizations.

The goal this year is $6 million, and all the nonprofits we have helped in this past year or will help later this year are fundraising extra-hard today! Many are participating in special events all day. Here are their Big Give links. If a particular organization over the last year was special to you, or if one of our upcoming nonprofit partners has a special place in your heart, please give and GIVE BIG!

Elf Louise (November 2015/16)

San Antonio Food Bank (December 2015/16)

Family Violence Prevention Services (January 2016)

SAMMinistries (February 2016/July 2016)

Animal Defense League (March 2016)

San Antonio AIDS Foundation (April 2016)

San Antonio Youth Literacy (May 2016)

Texas Burn Survivor Society (June 2016)

The Rape Crisis Center (August 2016)

Texas Diaper Bank (October 2016)

For any questions about The Big Give S.A., you may reach a Big Give team member at 210.774.GIVE.

The Big Give2016-05-15T09:22:06-06:00

April Wrap-Up; Big News!

So I’m waaaaaaaay late with my April wrap-up post, apologies. It’s been a hectic few weeks. We had a successful evening a couple of weeks ago, you guys outdid yourselves with the donations once again. It’s very much appreciated.

I think we’ve finally figured out the right way to seat people at Geeks Café, so our overcrowding issues should be much alleviated. If that kept anyone away this last time, please come out and see us in May. I promise it will be better. We’re making much better use of the space, and we’ve obtained more chairs and tables. Thank you to Geeks Café for being such a great partner for this event every month. You guys are amazing.

Some pictures from the night… Not as many as usual due to operator (me) error:

Samantha, Sean and Stephanie playing Evolution

Samantha, Sean and Stephanie playing Evolution

Game Library

Game Library

Name Tags!

Name Tags!

 

SAAF Nerd Night Donations

Judy from SAAF posing Vanna-style with the donations table.

Our Big News

The 501(c)(3) is FILED! Hopefully our application will sail through in ways that defy everything any of us know about the IRS and we’ll have some good news to report on that front soon.

Also Very Big News

In June, we will begin hosting a second monthly event. This event will be a Sunday afternoon/evening version of Nerd Night, and we will have date, location, and all that good stuff ready to announce at the beginning of May.

Other (less, but no less awesome) Big News

We had our quarterly board meeting last weekend, and boy, are you guys going to be excited when some of the things we’re planning are ready to be made public! We’ve just about finalized the rest of the year’s partner organizations, and I think you guys will really be able to get behind all of these groups. We’re thrilled to be hosting book drives for Book Buddies at both of our next events (International Tabletop Day at Wonderland Mall and May Nerd Night), and I will be updating our calendar here to reflect all the groups we’ve made arrangements with through the end of the year. Some new faces, some old ones that we just enjoyed a heck of a lot.

As always, I want to express my gratitude for the support and generosity that you all have shown at every single Nerd Night event so far. None of this would be possible without all of you. Hope to see everyone at ITTD at Wonderland Mall on April 30th! Come on out and support a pile of local gaming organizations at the largest local ITTD event!

April Wrap-Up; Big News!2016-11-25T10:59:33-06:00

Crowdfunding, Nerd Night Updates

Hey nerds!

It’s been a while since my last post. Things have been busy at Nerd Night HQ, aka my house, and I figured it was time for a quick update.

Last month, five of your fellow Nerd Nighters and I gathered at my house and formed San Antonio Nerd Night, Inc. We’re now an official nonprofit corporation, registered with the state of Texas. We’re a board of six, and I’ll get some information up about the board soon once we determine how that’s going to be put out there. Our first order of business is obtaining our 501(c)(3) status, which is expensive and involves a lot of forms, like anything the federal government, and especially the IRS, is in charge of – so that’s quite an undertaking. To that end, we’re raising money on Crowdrise. You might have seen my posts on Facebook or Twitter about this, and I’ll speak on it more at Nerd Night on Friday, but the short version is that we need several hundred dollars for the application and I’m not able to front it myself. Thus, the wonderful world of crowdfunding. If everyone gives a little, we’ll have what we need in no time.

Nerd Night is this Friday! Join us at Geeks Cafe on Babcock and bring an item (or two or ten) to support the Animal Defense League of Texas. The donation wish list is available at this event link and there’s sure to be something there you can find easily at a store near you. We’ll have a guest speaker from ADL and her canine friend.

Joining us on Friday will be Childs’ Play Games & Geekery, a mobile game store run by Sarah Childs and based in New Braunfels. She is graciously donating a portion of all game sales to the ADL, so if you play a game you especially enjoy, see if she has a copy with her! They also offer local free delivery to the San Antonio area.

Speaking of generous Nerd Night partners, Geeks Cafe will be donating a portion of all food sales on Friday night as well. Do we have the best friends or what?

See you all on Friday night!

Crowdfunding, Nerd Night Updates2016-03-09T10:37:43-06:00

February Nerd Night Wrap Up

So, I know I say this almost every post, but…

You. Guys. Are. Awesome.

I won’t lie, I was worried about the venue change and all of you making the move to another part of town. But wow, did you all prove that I worry a lot over nothing! We had FIFTY happy game-playing nerds at Geeks Cafe on Friday, and you all collected an amazing amount of STUFF for SAMMinistries. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

February Nerd Night

February Nerd Night

 

February Nerd Night - Nathan's Room

Nathan’s Room

 

February Nerd Night - Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride

 

February Nerd Night - Paulina, Kelly & Shane

Paulina, Kelly & Shane

 

February Nerd Night - Keller, Aiden and friend

Keller

 

February Nerd Night - Vince

Vince

 

February Nerd Night - Winner!

Winner!

 

Melanie from SAMMinistries speaking to the group

Melanie from SAMMinistries speaking to the group

Anyway. Apologies for some of these blurry pictures, I’m apparently challenged when I don’t have a flash.

Our next Nerd Night is scheduled for March 11 and will again be at Geeks Cafe. We’re collecting items for the Animal Defense League of Texas. I will post a spotlight article very soon with details about what items they are in need of to take care of all the pups and kitties that are lucky enough to end up in this no-kill shelter.

Shameless plug time!

Art by Freddy Gonzalez

Art by Freddy Gonzalez

This fabulous piece of art has been donated to help raise money for SAMMinistries. Colleen and Vince of GaMExpo and Geek Out SA are handling a silent auction. Starting bid is $100. Get on over to their Facebook page and make a bid, y’all!

Speaking of Geek Out SA…

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Nathan and I stopped by to plug Nerd Night and talk about all things geeky. Give it a watch!

 

February Nerd Night Wrap Up2016-11-25T10:59:36-06:00

Giving Tuesday: Virtual Food Drive!

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday Food Drive

This is the 4th year for Giving Tuesday, a day to highlight volunteering and charity donations on the day after “Cyber Monday.” In the last four years it has come to symbolize the beginning of the charitable season. I’m all for anything that encourages people to give back! Consider this my official Giving Tuesday post to encourage everyone to take a moment and visit our Virtual Food Drive to benefit the San Antonio Food Bank.

One of the only complaints I had at our November toy drive was that I didn’t have any way for people to donate using their credit cards. Luckily for me, the San Antonio Food Bank is on top of things and set me up with the virtual food drive for our December event! It’s a cute little flash-based shopping spree, where you drive your shopping cart down virtual shopping aisles and select food items by the case or dollar amounts to donate. It’s easy and fun, and is a secured option provided by the food bank for your peace of mind. No worries about handing over cash to some stranger at a game night!

Anyway. Those of you who can’t make it out to see us at Magic Beans, please consider clicking here and doing some virtual shopping to help feed the hungry and food insecure in Southwest Texas. The food drive will be active throughout the month of December. The food barrel will be at Magic Beans from December 4th – 14th, and December Nerd Night will be Friday, December 11th, starting at 6pm. Clean out those cupboards, put a few extra cans in your cart at the grocery store. Be a part of the solution! The Nerd Nighters and the San Antonio Food Bank thank you. 🙂

Giving Tuesday: Virtual Food Drive!2016-11-25T10:59:39-06:00
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