Today is the Extraordinary Give!

If you live in Central Pennsylvania, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Started by the Lancaster County Community Foundation in 2012, the Extraordinary Give has raised over $82 million to date and the names of organizations to which you can donate keeps on growing.

One of my personal favorite charities participating in the Extraordinary Give is Off The Streets, an organization dedicated to getting persons experiencing homelessness off the street and into affordable housing. Every Saturday despite rain, snow, heat, or holidays, Off The Streets does two moves, helping single persons and families into long-term housing by supplying the first and last month’s security deposit and the furniture needed to start a new life. And they do it all without a paid staff and very little overhead.

Much of Off The Streets’ equipment like the moving van and the warehouse space where donated furniture is stored has been gifted to Off The Streets. This assures cash donations can be used where needed — to pay the start up costs for the landlord, and to get additional products like toiletries so the newly housed can get the best start possible.

Headed by founder Deacon Mike Oles who started the first chapter of Off The Streets in Danbury, Connecticut, Deacon Mike and OTS have gotten an additional 4,000 people into long-term, affordable housing since moving to Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 2014. OTS works with local organizations who serve the homeless and it depends on those organizations to do the initial screening of applicants, assuring, among other things, that the applicant has sufficient funds to pay the rent going forward. A little know fact is that many people experiencing homeless are actually working homeless.

Off The Streets is an incredible organization, demonstrating what can be done in any community to eradicate homelessness. So why don’t you give today?

If you are interested in starting a chapter in your area, contact Deacon Mike at at 203-482-1460, or at

Isn’t it amazing what a small group of dedicated volunteers can do to change the world.

About Pam Lazos

writer, blogger, environmentally hopeful
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18 Responses to Today is the Extraordinary Give!

  1. Resa says:

    Pretty great, Pam!!!!
    Happy Holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m often amazed at community and togetherness. I find I have a hard time creating it even by trying to invite people into my world. Maybe people would rather share a focus for the greater good. Which is really what I would prefer but I am not focused enough on just one cause (at least not yet). I didn’t learn this kind of gathering from my family of origin so I am impressed by people who get stuff like this off the ground and make a difference! Getting people together is easy for some folks and much harder for others but it seems like a goal for everyone. Also I’m from Eastern, Pa.

    Thanks for sharing, Pam!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hilarymb says:

    Hi Pam – this sounds like a great initiative helping your locals overcome homelessness – sadly there’s so much about … I give where I can and help out/volunteer as and when – but throughout the year too. So good to read about – Happy Thanksgiving … I know many will be helping with food/meal donations too – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ally Bean says:

    I like good news like this. I don’t know that we have anything similar here, but now I’m curious. I donate furniture to St. Vincent de Paul, but that’s a bit different.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is just wonderful, Pam. It’s probably the only way things will get moving.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. KDKH says:

    Our city struggles with how to help the homeless. This sounds like a great solution for people that want to stay in the area. We have a sizable transient community that comes with Daylight Savings time and leaves with the switch back. It’s a little weird, but I assume this matches the coming and going of sub-freezing weather and ice/snow. But many of the people experiencing homeless are from here and need a local solution. This program sounds like a good one.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Susan Scott says:

    It IS amazing what a small group of people can do Pam! What a worthy cause. Thanks for sharing this with us. Have a wonderful weekend. Susan 🌺xx

    Liked by 1 person

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