I like your idea podster in regards to donating to animal shelters. I have often seen flyers in the Veterinarian Offices from local animal groups asking for donations. The one I recall is asking for all sorts of things that I wouldn't have thought of as being needed, such as cleaning supplies, towels, sheets, blankets for bedding and such. I am a person who much prefers to donate to animal rights groups than to many human needs group. My animals have brought me so much pleasure over the years that I want to return the favor in some by hopefully giving a better quality of life to another animal.
The one tip that came to mind about using kitty litter may not be needed in Arizona, but I have read that a person should keep a bag of kitty litter in their car during cold months in areas where there is a chance of snow fall. Supposedly the kitty litter when sprinkled around stuck in snow tires, help give traction for the tire can get out of the rut it is in. Makes sense to me.