Gifts for the person who has everything

Jim Fischer
Columbus Alive
Yay Bikes

Yay Bikes

With a name enough to make you happy, this local agency's work in advocacy and education regarding bicycling for transportation should make you even happier. Informal communications person Meredith Joy said a gift of $25 supports bike parking at community events; $50 supports community bike rides showcasing the best of Central Ohio; $100 supports on-road bicycle education that gets people riding for transportation; $250 supports Earn a Bike programs for youth.

Community Refugee & Immigration Services

The current political climate has raised awareness of the need for the kinds of services CRIS has been providing for more than two decades. According to Executive Director Angela Plummer, “Any amount contributes to CRIS' work to welcome refugees and immigrants to Central Ohio and to assist them in becoming self-sufficient and integrated into our community.” A gift of $20 could buy a gas card so that a refugee can pay for transportation to their first job; $50 could buy supplies for a senior refugee in a citizenship class; $62 could buy a COTA bus pass; $250 could help provide legal services so that a refugee or immigrant can reunite with family and obtain permission to work. When donating, it's possible to designate how you'd like your gift to be used.

Buckeye Clinic in South Sudan

Columbus resident Bol Aweng is one of Sudan's “Lost Boys,” and after he settled here, he wanted to make a difference back home. He and a cousin, with some help from Steve Walker, former director of refugee services for the state of Ohio, founded the Buckeye Clinic, which provides basic health services to women and infants and, more recently, expanded health services and food distribution. Gifts support staff salary and food services, of course, but just imagine the opportunities – $50 can treat 100 children with pneumonia; $75 equals a nine-month supply of prenatal vitamins; $100 buys malaria medication for 20 patients.

Freshbox Catering

Owned by Lutheran Social Services, this business not only provides catering services, but does so while providing employment and job skills to community members affected by poverty, employment barriers and homelessness. See “Gifts for immediate gratification” to find out how to order special holiday cookies, or click the link to set up catering. Additionally, there's a “Donate” button, where $25 can pay for one food service certification class for an employee, or $50 can buy an employee uniform.


Programs for youth, athletics, shelter and other services for the homeless – the YMCA does all this and more. The Downtown Y on West Long Street is a gem in the community, and allows donations to be earmarked to the program area of the donor's choice. For example, $100 can purchase monthly bus passes to help shelter residents get to and from work as they progress toward financial stability; a $150 donation can purchase a voucher from a furniture bank for someone transitioning into a new apartment.