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December 1st, 2021 9 minute read

Tis’ the Season to Give

…And Think Differently About Your New Year’s Resolution

A lot of people think that the new year means making big lifestyle changes, shedding some pounds or a bad habit or two. And that’s great — we commend you! But as science tells us, habits are formed when there is some kind of inherent emotional or physical reward as the result of a behavior. They also say that one of the best ways to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. And what could be more rewarding than helping a family in need, volunteering your time to causes you’re passionate about, or being part of the strong community of Billings philanthropists who make real and lasting change in people’s lives every day?

So, maybe this is your year to make a resolution and stick with it! Consider committing yourself to regularly volunteering, donating or supporting a cause in the community, humanity or for the environment! In honor of the season and in praise of the many impactful non-profit organizations in the Billings community, we picked just a few to inspire you to literally “be the change you want to see in the world.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Yellowstone County

Simply put, Big Brothers Big Sisters helps children by adding another positive adult to their lives in the form of a mentor.

Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages five through young adults throughout Yellowstone County. They develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is the ONLY prevention program in Montana proven to affect a broad spectrum of risk factors (e.g., delinquency; alcohol, tobacco and drug use; teen pregnancy and school dropout) while simultaneously helping children reach their highest potential. As such, the return on investment is higher across the board than dollars invested in single-issue prevention programs.

Volunteer and Donation Opportunities:
There are a number of opportunities with Big Brothers Big Sisters, including:

  • Become a Big – They have over 30 children on their waiting list currently, waiting for a big brother or a big sister. Their “Bigs” provide mentorship to at-risk youth in our community. These are kiddos who need an adult in their lives who is stable and can be there for them in a way that their parents or guardians aren’t able to.
  • Become a Corporate Sponsor
  • Make a One Time Donation – When the pandemic hit, they found themselves in need of donations more than ever. They are an organization that doesn’t have something to “sell.” They don’t produce a product and have no way to bring in funds other than grants or donations. With the cancelation of their in-person events over the past year, their ability to fundraise has been severely impacted.
  • Fund a Match
  • Join the board! – They’re always looking for passionate people to join their board!
  • Volunteer – They always need help with upcoming events. Just get in touch and they’ll let you know what’s upcoming and what their needs are.

Billings Family Services

Family Services has been helping Billings families in need for more than 114 years. In fact, their organization is one of the longest-serving non-profit organizations in the state of Montana! This tenure speaks highly of the Billings community and how we come together to care for one another.

Family Services provides options to allow low and very low-income families, seniors and individuals to lift themselves to stability and longer term, to self-sufficiency.

Volunteer and Donation Opportunities

Most needed food items:

Family Services also accepts new and gently-used clothing and household goods for families in need, and for sale at the Family Service Thrift Store.

Donations of food and items may be made at the donation drive-thru at 3931 First Ave. S. Financial gifts may be mailed to P.O. Box 1020, Billings MT 59103, or by calling (406) 259-2269 to schedule a pickup!

Billings Food Bank

The Billings Food Bank has been providing food assistance in the Billings area for over 35 years, and last year they provided more than $30,000,000 in services with an administrative budget of less than two percent! Additionally, the volunteer support they receive allows them to do their work with no government funding.

98 cents of every dollar you donate goes directly to programs to help members of  the Billings community.

Volunteer and Donation Opportunities

The Billings Food Bank is always accepting food and household items, cash donations and volunteers.

Current Needs

Many people ask if they can donate their surplus non-food items to the Billings Food Bank, and the food bank is happy to tell them that there is indeed a need for non-food items. Below is a partial list of items that are always in demand.

Suggested Non-Food Items

Baby wipes
Toilet paper
Paper towels
Ziploc bags
Tin foil
Plastic wrap

Suggested Non-Expired Food Items

Baby food
Baby formula
Baking mix
Bottled water
Canned meats
Canned milk
Canned tuna
Dry milk
Fresh dairy products
Fresh meats
Fresh produce
Hamburger Helper
Macaroni & cheese
Peanut butter
Pork & beans
Potato chips
Tomato sauce
Tuna Helper
Whole tomatoes

Billings Food Bank is located at 2112 Fourth Ave. N. The mailing address is P.O. Box 1158, Billings, MT 59103. Call the Billings Food Bank at (406) 259-2856, or e-mail foodbank@billingsfoodbank.com.

Dress for Success 

Women go to Dress for Success Billings by referral only, from an ever-increasing number of non-profit agencies in Yellowstone, Big Horn, Carbon, Stillwater and Musselshell counties. These include domestic violence and homeless shelters, pre-release centers, rehabilitation centers, job training centers, public assistance agencies and churches. They offer a multitude of free services to the women in our community from interview suitings to wellness classes. Since their inception in 2000, they have served over 8,100 women.

Their Career Center program provides many services to help women learn lifelong skills to not only help them gain employment, but to maintain long-term employment, making them financially independent. Their Career Center Coordinator provides one-on-one support services helping women develop a cover letter and resume, provide mock interviews and job search assistance. Women also have access to an online training portal with over 600 courses offered.  In addition to one-on-one support, they offer a variety of classes such as professional development, computer training, financial education, health and wellness, hobby classes, as well as a mentoring program at their Training Center.

Dress for Success Billings is also very proud of their successful suiting program. During the interview suiting, they assist their clients in selecting a head-to-toe interview-appropriate outfit. This includes not only the outfit, but jewelry, makeup, shoes and other accessories. The client is also offered a complimentary haircut. Then, once the client becomes employed, she is allowed to return for an employment suiting. During this suiting, they provide her with approximately a weeks-worth of coordinating outfits appropriate for her occupation.

Volunteer and Donation Opportunities

  • Donate clothes – Your fabulous suits and other professional apparel and accessories could furnish another woman with the confidence to enter or return to the workplace, make a great first impression and land a job that could change her life.
  • Donate money
  • Volunteer

Dress for Success has moved to 333 N. 31st St. This relocation helps to fulfill their dream of reaching more women than ever by combining their Boutique and Career Center into one lovely space! Their Boutique and Career Center entrance is on N. 31st St. directly facing the First Interstate Drive-Thru Bank. Clothing donations are gratefully received every Wednesday, between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Donations can be dropped off at their back Red Door entrance, which can be accessed from the alley between 30th and 31st St. N.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

The ReStore is a non-profit home improvement store. They accept donations of new and gently used building materials and household goods. These items are then sold at a fraction of their retail value to people like YOU. Proceeds help build decent and affordable homes for people living in poverty conditions right here in Billings.

They do not accept donation drop-offs on Mondays. They do, however, schedule pick-ups for Monday through Friday. Pick-up service is free but selective to new or gently-used large ticket items that are too large for you to bring into their drop-off center. Please call their hotline and ask for the Donation Coordinator or General Manager for specifics. It is important to them to offer only good quality items at ultra-low prices to their shoppers.

Volunteer and Donation Opportunities
You can bring your donations into their Donation Receiving location at 685 King Park Drive. Any one of their friendly staff will be happy to help you unload and write you a receipt for tax credit. This is their preferred way of receiving your donations. Their intake is closed to donations/drop-offs on Mondays.

They accept only new or gently used building materials and home improvement items, such as:

Cabinet pulls
Door hardware
Light fixtures
Packaged hardware
Patio furniture
Sinks, tubs and shower enclosures, etc.
Toilets (clean)
Window air conditioners

If you have any questions, you can contact Habitat for Humanity ReStore by calling (406) 256-0409, emailing Mariah at donations@billingshabitat.org, or emailing Gus at restoregm@billingshabitat.org.  

Explorers Academy

The purpose of the Explorers Academy program is to provide comprehensive services for young children and their families to achieve school readiness and lifelong success.

They accomplish their mission by:

  • Embracing diversity
  • Honoring individual differences
  • Using best practices
  • Seeking to learn and innovate
  • Promoting healthy life habits

Volunteer and Donation Opportunities

  • Monetary donations
  • Material donations
  • Classroom volunteers
  • Nutrition volunteers
  • Garden volunteers
  • Playground and maintenance volunteers
  • Board and policy counsel members

Monetary Donations may be given online or mailed to their main office:

Explorers Academy
615 N. 19th St.
Billings, MT 59101

Material donations including classroom, office and family supplies can be dropped off at any of their locations. Contact their Volunteer Coordinator by phone at (406) 869-1220, or email volunteer@explorershs.org to find out which items are most needed.

Time is one of the easiest ways to give to Explorers Academy. See their Volunteer Page for a list of current opportunities, contact their Community Relations Director by phone at (406) 869-1220, or email volunteer@explorershs.org for further information.

Montana Rescue Mission

At Montana Rescue Mission in Billings, Montana, they rely on compassionate support from donors. Friends like you provide food, clothing, shelter and life-changing services for homeless and struggling people in their corner of Big Sky Country. You can bring them in from the streets and offer hope of a better life.

Volunteer and Donation Opportunities

  • Volunteer your time
  • Provide your trade or skill
  • Volunteer in the chapel

For more information about volunteering with Montana Rescue Mission, review their current needs.