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Discover 13 “wish lists” of local environmental groups

Give the gift of green this year by donating supplies, money and volunteer time to local environmental organizations that help create a more sustainable Kansas City. They have a wide variety of needs – from chainsaws and power tools to a worm composting kit.

Each group has its own wish list. Check with the organization for information on the tax deductions available for financial and product donations.

During the holiday season, Bridging the Gap volunteers help cut invasive red cedar trees from Shawnee Mission Park that are then sold as Christmas trees.

1. Bridging the Gap

You can help the Heartland Tree Alliance at Bridging the Gap (BTG) plant trees by making a financial donation or volunteering on planting projects within 17 municipalities across the region. Once a municipality raises $1,000, BTG coordinates a tree planting event with a city forester. December donations will fund tree plantings in Spring 2015. In addition to planting trees, you can cut a Christmas tree for your holiday decor and help remove invasive red cedars in December.

Bridging the Gap is also looking for “cold-hardy” volunteers for its recycling centers between Christmas and New Year’s and to help with recycling at Kansas City Chiefs’ games.

There is an ongoing need for donated office supplies, including postage stamps and pens, as well as tools like shovels and litter grabbers.

To make a donation to the Heartland Tree Alliance online, visit Checks can be mailed to Bridging the Gap, 1427 W. 9th Street, STE 201, Kansas City, MO 64101. Office supplies and tools can be dropped off at the same address. To volunteer, call 816-561-1087 or email Amy Smith, [email protected].

2. Cultivate Kansas City

Help grow local food in Kansas City by donating farming and gardening supplies to Cultivate Kansas City. The organization’s Gibbs Road Farm encourages healthy eating habits and supplies local, certified organic produce to the public. The organization also offers educational programs like its Growing Growers Training Program to develop future farmers.

Cultivate KC needs:

  • Organic seeds and fresh logs for mushrooms
  • T-posts and T-post driver
  • Hand tools and backpack sprayers for spraying organic pesticides
  • Garden hoses, a garden cart, wheelbarrow, wheel hoe and attachments
  • New “Rubbermaid Roughneck” 18-gallon totes and five-gallon buckets
  • Market tent (“EZup,” available at Sam’s Club)
  • New plastic pallets for greenhouse benches
  • Shade cloth for two high tunnels
  • Worm composting start-up kit
  • Used front loader / Bobcat
  • Modern office furniture, computers and printers

Monetary donations go towards needed supplies to grow fruits and vegetables for Cultivate Kansas City’s programs, the Gibbs Road Demonstration Farm and Juniper Gardens Training Farm. For example, a donation of $200 would cover a year’s supply of beet seeds, potentially producing 5,000 pounds of beets. Make checks payable to Cultivate Kansas City, 4223 Gibbs Road, Kansas City, KS 66106. Donated items can delivered to this address.

3. Green Works in Kansas City

Help urban students and the Earth by hosting a small meet-and-greet event in your home or a rented space to introduce new people to Green Works in Kansas City programs and students. The organization helps local high school students become environmental stewards through education, workforce development and service project programs. Students have a wide range of opportunities to learn about taking care of the environment, including testing water quality at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and working with the Missouri Department of Conservation to maintain native landscapes.

“Every city can benefit in a big way from educating young people about the environment,” said Kate Corwin, founder of Green Works. “After all, we’re educating the next generation of voters and taxpayers on the serious environmental decisions we will have to make.”

Financial donations help fund an after-school science program, Environmental Connection Opportunities for Students (ECOS). The curriculum covers ozone levels, solid waste, recycling and energy conservation. To donate online, visit Mail checks to Green Works in Kansas City, 4334 McGee St., Kansas City, MO 64111. To host a meeting, call 816-304-8400.

4. Metropolitan Energy Center

Develop Kansas City’s resource efficiency and improve its environmental health with the Metropolitan Energy Center. The organization’s Project Living Proof at 917 Emanuel Cleaver Blvd. demonstrates how to make a century-old home energy-efficient with modern green technology. Education topics at the house include solar voltaic, solar thermal and geothermal forms of energy. The Metropolitan Energy Center needs a carpenter who can help maintain the 110-year-old home and volunteers to help out at the demonstrations.

“Project Living Proof provides an opportunity to teach energy efficiency and sustainability in Kansas City,” said Warren Adams-Leavitt, executive director. “We invite individuals to assist with tours and education regarding materials, products and strategies to make homes more sustainable.”

To volunteer for Project Living Proof, call 816-531-7283 and leave a phone number. Monetary donations can be mailed to Metropolitan Energy Center, 3810 Paseo Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64109.

5. Heartland Habitat for Humanity

Support the building of affordable homes and communities for families in need by donating office furniture and items to Heartland Habitat for Humanity. For a greener gift, donate gently used furniture to reduce waste. The following items are on Heartland Habitat for Humanity’s wish list this year, to be used in the meeting, reception, office and storage areas:

  • 10’ x 4’ conference table
  • Smaller, round conference tables and conference room chairs
  • Dry erase boards
  • Desks, chairs and small table
  • Desks and credenzas
  • Chairs
  • Locking file cabinets
  • Shelving
  • Cabinets

Financial donations support new home construction, general operations, veterans’ projects and the program A Brush With Kindness. To help Heartland Habitat for Humanity, visit Checks and office supplies can be sent to the organization’s new mailing address: Heartland Habitat for Humanity, 155 S. 18th St., Suite 120, Kansas City, KS 66102. For more donation information, call 913-342-3047 or 816-468-7190.

6. Habitat for Humanity Kansas City ReStore

You can also help Habitat for Humanity Kansas City this season by volunteering at least one day per week as part of the organization’s sales team at one of two ReStore locations in Kansas City, 4701 Deramus Ave. and 303 W. 79th St. Volunteers help customers, maintain displays and support the cashiers. Besides volunteer work at ReStore locations, Habitat for Humanity Kansas City needs a sidewalk installed in front of the ReStore location at 4701 Deramus Ave. The organization also would like a billboard on Wornall Road to direct residents to the Waldo store, and a fuel-efficient vehicle for acquisitions and for deconstruction managers to drive.

To volunteer, call 816-924-1096 ext. 101. For donated items, call 816-564-9194.

7. Blue River Watershed Association

Give the gift of volunteer work by helping the Blue River Watershed Association teach students about the importance of our local watershed. Volunteers show school children how to test creek water quality and help assemble water quality test kits, schedule programs, collaborate with teachers, fundraise, recruit volunteers and assist the EPA Urban Waters grant project with community presentations.

“For many of our urban kids, this is their first opportunity to be near a river,” said Lynn Youngblood, executive director of the Blue River Watershed Association. “Many report this being a life-changing event and want to know what they need to do to study water quality as a field of study in college — even fourth- and fifth-graders.”

Financial contributions are used for programs and equipment that help further the Blue River Watershed Association’s mission. To donate online, visit Mail checks to: Blue River Watershed Association, PO Box 7276, Kansas City, MO 64113.

8. Missouri Prairie Foundation

Protect and restore our native grasslands and prairies by donating needed wish list items to the Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) this holiday season. This organization is the only conservation group in Missouri devoted entirely to prairies and native grasslands. MPF currently owns and manages 2,600 acres of prairie and helps manage both public and privately owned prairie. MPF’s Grow Native! program promotes using native plants in landscapes through education and marketing.

MPF includes the following items on its wish list:

  • Gifts of MPF memberships for birthdays, holidays and other special events
  • Gift cards for office supplies
  • Chain saw and its replacement bars and chains for prairie restoration work
  • Data projector for presentations
  • Tablet computer for credit card sales at MPF’s native plant sales
  • Volunteers for MPF’s annual native plant sales at the City Market in Kansas City, April 18 and 25, 2015
  • Discounted or donated catering for an MPF event in Kansas City
  • Meeting room space in Kansas City or elsewhere in the state
  • File cabinet

Financial donations will help the organization’s 50th Anniversary Campaign raise $4 million for native grassland and prairie conservation, including the acquisition of prairies and long-term stewardship of the lands.

To donate online, visit, or mail a check to Missouri Prairie Foundation, P.O. Box 200, Columbia, MO 65205. Call 888-843-6739 to drop off wish-list items.

9. Powell Gardens

Preserve Kansas City’s green heritage by donating to Powell Garden’s Legacy Tree Program this holiday season. Many old, proven performers in Kansas City have survived major changes to the environment, but they are now nearing their end. Diseases and pests including the emerald ash borer and thousand cankers disease also contribute to the demise of aging legacy trees. The Legacy Tree Program propagates these selected trees before they disappear and educates people on how to select, care for and maintain a legacy tree.

Powell Gardens wishes for volunteer help year-round to maintain its gardens. If you want to donate to the Legacy Tree Program online, visit Mail donation checks to Powell Gardens, Attn: Legacy Tree Program, 1609 NW U.S. Hwy. 50, Kingsville, MO 64061. To volunteer, call 816-697-2600 ext. 304.

10. Surplus Exchange

Reduce e-waste and help someone in need by donating a used computer to the Surplus Exchange. The Surplus Exchange refurbishes computer equipment in good working condition, including printers, scanners, LCD monitors, laptops and desktop systems. The Surplus Exchange donates many refurbished computers to other nonprofit organizations in need, such as the Urban Ranger Corps and the Joseph Foundation.

The Surplus Exchange includes most electronics that need to be recycled on its wish list. You can also help the Surplus Exchange this holiday season by making a monetary donation to help recycle costly CRT electronics.

“Any electronic product helps our cause,” said Bob Akers, executive director of the Surplus Exchange. “We want those products out of the waste stream, and even old gear can help us create revenue in an environmentally safe, audited and proven manner.”

For more information on electronics recycling and donations, visit or call 816-472-0444. To make a donation, mail checks to Surplus Exchange, 518 Santa Fe Street, Kansas City, MO 64105.

11. Sustainable Sanctuary Coalition

Spread the importance of taking care of the Earth by helping the Sustainable Sanctuary Coalition. An interfaith organization, the Sustainable Sanctuary Coalition partners with local congregations for environmental advocacy. If you belong to a faith community, you can support the organization’s mission by forming a Green Team, a group at your congregation that leads environmental and sustainable efforts in your community.

The organization always wishes for volunteers to help with fundraising, grant writing, Earth Day activities and EarthServe events. Needed items include a paper-folding machine that can do bi-fold and tri-fold, Adobe CS5 or newer software bundle, laptops for volunteers and donations for the silent auction in October.

The Sustainable Sanctuary Coalition also needs people interested in serving on the board of directors. To donate supplies, call 816-916-1688. Checks can be mailed to Sustainable Sanctuary Coalition, P.O. Box 732, Mission, KS 66201, or you can donate online at

12. The Giving Grove

Help plant edible trees for low-income communities by donating needed tools and supplies to The Giving Grove. An affiliate of the Kansas City Community Garden, The Giving Grove helps teach people how to grow sustainable food, primarily fruit trees and berry bushes.

The following tools and supplies are on The Giving Grove’s wish list:

  • 24-inch auger bit ($330)
  • New or used 5.5- or 6-foot t-posts
  • 400 bamboo stakes ($160)
  • Donations for trees, soil amendments, stakes ($50 per tree)

T-posts can be delivered to The Giving Grove, 6917 Kensington Ave., Kansas City, MO 64132. Donation checks should be made out to The Kansas City Community Gardens / Giving Grove and mailed to the address above.

13. Historic Green

Transform under-resourced communities by volunteering with Historic Green this holiday season. Historic Green restores and preserves communities through sustainable design and development education emphasizing affordability and simplicity that many people can replicate in their own homes. The organization needs volunteers to participate in the home restoration workshops for the Affordable Retrofit Demonstration House in Manheim Park, 4331 Tracy Ave., Kansas City, MO. Volunteer duties include videography and photography services during workshops.

Historic Green also needs:

  • Plug-in and battery-powered drills and bits, plug-in and battery-powered reciprocating and skill saws, generator, heavy-duty extension cords
  •  Shovels, post-hole diggers, hard rakes, heavy-duty tarps, wheelbarrows, ladders
  • New or lightly used pickup truck
  • Home Depot, Lowes and Sutherlands gift cards

“We want volunteers to learn affordable home restoration practices while serving a community in need,” said Jeremy Knoll, founder and chairman.

For donations and volunteering, email Knoll at [email protected].

This story was originally published in Greenability magazine, November/ December issue, 2014. By Douglas Peel.

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