San Antonio nonprofits need your help. Here are some volunteer ideas...

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If you read my previous blog post "Texas nonprofits, facing state and federal cuts, see plenty of doom and gloom," you know agency budgets will only get leaner in the days to comeā€”even as the needs in San Antonio increase. A parallel increased need for volunteers is also sure to occur. Since San Antonio has over 3,600 registered nonprofits, there's plenty of ways for you to help make a difference in your community. Probably, many of you already do some volunteer work. But, if you don't, you should know that volunteering gives you an opportunity to change lives, including your own. This week, I'm listing some of the interesting volunteer or other support opportunities I came across lately. Extreme heat and drought has really put the San Antonio Botanical Garden in the hot seat. In case you didn't know, they have to operate under the same water restrictions as the rest of us. The Garden is enlisting the help of volunteers to hand-water the critical areas and for other tasks as well. Volunteer orientations are the first Friday of every month at the Carriage House. Call 210.207.3255 for more information. Another outdoor volunteer activity, with some learning thrown in for good measure, is from Texas Public Radio. They're looking for volunteers to join them for National Public Lands Day, on September 24, laying the groundwork for a rain garden on the Mission Branch Library grounds. SAWS and SACU will be hosting free workshops on water conservation and low impact landscaping also at the location.
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Held annually in the fall, Chalk It Up is a 'free, family-friendly event celebrating our city's creative spirit. San Antonio's premier artists turn the sidewalks of Houston Street into works of art.' I've been. It's cool. This year's event is slated for October 8. If you want to volunteer, email education@artpace.org for information.

Saturday, September 10, URBAN-15 is hosting its Volunteer Day dedicated to painting and sprucin' up the studio in preparation for the 2011-2012 season. Members of URBAN-15's ensembles will participate in this all-day event and there will be food too. Ten to fifteen volunteers still are needed for the 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. slots. If none of these spark your interest, check out the searchable volunteer database from United Way of San Antonio. Shopping for sweet deals at charity operated stores is also a great way to give support. Chuck Farmer over at Daily Bread Ministries let me know they just opened their new thrift store, located at 3723 Blanco. "2nd Blessing Thrift Shop is a labor of love that helps the underserved in San Antonio two ways: by providing an inexpensive alternative to purchasing clothing, furniture and other household items." "And secondly," Farmer said, "100% of the profits from 2nd Blessing Thrift Shop go to Daily Bread Ministries for the day to day operations - i.e., fuel, insurance, utilities, fleet maintenance, leasing facility, salaries, etc. Any help you can give goes a long way in helping others." You can also donate items and they'll even pick up. Thanks, Chuck, for all you do. More than ever, it's important to support your San Antonio nonprofits. For more from Laura Carter follow @lauracarter or visit "A Small Blog"  

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