Local Acts of Love

Four local organizations that share the common goal of making life better for others in the Lake Norman area.

Sharing and giving to others comes naturally during the holiday season and often we look to national or international charities to give our support, but many families in our own community need help, at the holidays and all year long. In the hustle of life we sometimes forget others are struggling just to buy food and clothing, everyday essentials we can easily take for granted, or to provide their children with a stable home. There are many reasons someone might struggle including unexpected job loss or financial struggles due to healthcare burdens. Giving back as a family teaches our children valuable lessons of compassion and caring, so it’s important to get them involved.

We found four local organizations that share the common goal of making life better for others in the Lake Norman area, and provide volunteering and donation details so your family can help, not just at the holidays, but all year long. All it takes is a little patience and planning to show your children the importance of giving back.


Hope House, Huntersville

Charities are not always defined as a hand-out, but a hand-up. This is the motto of Hope House in Huntersville, a non-profit home for women that have experienced job loss, financial struggle because of illness, and broken homes. Executive Director Fran Mathay says, "You cannot find a job living out of a car."

The Hope House Foundation was started by Lee Beth Lindquist, a Lake Norman physician that noticed the volume of homelessness in this area. It was her dream to help these women and children. After generous grants and private funding a newly renovated Hope House opened in 2009. The house has a full time staff including volunteers around the clock. Program Director Val Daye explains, "We are constantly recruiting volunteers for shifts throughout the day." Volunteer jobs include answering the phone and the door, and being a resource for residents that need career counseling, tax preparation, parenting, cooking and hobbies. Mathay says, "The environment is not highly structured, it’s home-like." Women are responsible for their children as if they were living in their own homes.

Both Mathay and Daye explain that children adjust well at Hope House because of the stability and structure that comes from volunteers who help tutor children and do crafts and games.

Mathay commented, "The Hope House wants volunteers to come with whatever their passion is. We want them to first come with their hearts."

How to Help

The Hope House
Items needed for donation are paper products including, napkins, plates and cups, and high efficiency laundry detergent.


Barium Springs Home for Children

Barium Springs Homes for Children in Troutman is a testament to the quote "Nothing you do for a child is ever wasted."

Founded as a non-profit over a century ago, Barium Springs cares for the needs of children in 41 counties throughout the state. The mission is to provide a safe home through foster care and group homes, healing for children that are troubled or abused, and education for children to reach their potential and move forward. Children of all ages come to Barium Springs from different backgrounds, but all looking for a safe, nurturing place they can call home.

Regional Development Manager Jill Gibson describes educating children about Barium Springs saying, "Some kids aren’t lucky enough to have a family that cares for them in the right way. Some need a safe place to live and others need to talk to someone about why they are scared, mad or sad. Those kids need our help."

Tours of Barium Springs are encouraged and are held every first and third Tuesday of the month 9:30-10:30am.

How to Help

Barium Springs Home for Children
Volunteer through the Mission Awareness Committee that meets monthly to discuss child advocacy events, fundraising and wish list items. Volunteers can bring a holiday meal and serve food to the children.


Lydia's Loft

Families need temporary assistance in times of financial hardship and crisis. This help can come in the form of clothing and simple household items. Lydia’s Loft, an outreach of Huntersville First Baptist Church, provides local families a chance to shop for clothing, linens and other home items without cost.

Coordinator and volunteer Bev Clayton describes the population of Lydia’s Loft, "It includes the unemployed, single moms that cannot make ends meet and families on a low income level." Some families only have to visit one time and are fortunate enough to get back on their feet again. Through the months of November to January Lydia’s Loft will supply the needs of over 400 families.

Clayton explains local schools take tours of the house to give children a better understanding of how we help others in the community. "Home school students help with specific monthly activities like preparing hygiene bags of soaps, toothpaste and self care items." He recommends a good way to show a child what Lydia’s Loft does is to set up a time with a volunteer to see how the process works from taking donations to welcoming the shoppers.

Clayton says he sees families come over a period of time, or maybe just once. His favorite words from shoppers are, "I hope this is the last time I have to come."

How to Help

Lydia’s Loft
Volunteers can help sort clothing and household items or make donations. The most needed items are boys clothing for ages 6- 12, linens and blankets.


Rider Anabelle, Mentor Joshua, Triple Cross Ranch

Everyone needs a place they call their own. Whether it’s a therapeutic vacation spot, or a hobby that brings fulfillment, we all enjoy activities in our comfort zone. Triple Cross Ranch in Mooresville believes in new chances, new choices and new dreams for children and young adults that experience anxiety, autism and other mental issues. Triple Cross Ranch is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of children through therapeutic horseback riding. Owner Kari Booth explains, "This is a place for kids to learn at their own pace. They can achieve anything they want here from learning to ride and being comfortable with animals, to becoming a mentor to other riders."

The ranch has six horses and the riders have their own horse and mentor each time to maintain consistency. Participants are age eight and up and some have stayed in the program so long that they have gained enough independence to mentor other riders. Booth says children need to understand, "These kids come here to be themselves and do it with as little anxiety as possible. They don’t always feel like they fit in at school, but when they are here it’s all about their comfort level and accomplishing individual goals."

Triple Cross Ranch is fortunate to have an extended family of volunteers through riders and their parents. "This is all about relationships. We want to touch their lives." If someone you know might benefit from therapeutic riding, contact Triple Cross Ranch at the link below.

How to Help

Triple Cross Ranch
Donate new or gently used riding equipment, holiday decorations for the ranch.

Kids Can Help Too!

  • Include children in cleaning out closets, the garage or toy boxes for items to donate.
  • Ask children what belongings they are willing to part with.
  • Discuss how these items will help someone else.
  • If allowed, let children take a tour, or help drop off items at the site.
  • Encourage children to share the experience with others.