The season of give-me is upon us as many kids feverishly update and rework their Christmas lists for Santa and his many helpers. For the lucky among us, it won't be too difficult to grant many of those wishes for bikes and video games and art supplies.
But, as the kids are thinking about what they want, I think it's good to help redirect some of that energy and encourage them to think about what many in our community need and don't have.
There are many opportunities in our community to help out those of us who are less fortunate. I checked in with the United Way of the Greater Triangle and Activate Good to learn more about some options for kids and families. I'll be chatting about this on Fox 50 a little after 8:30 a.m., Wednesday.
At the United Way, there are always volunteer opportunities available on the group's volunteer site. There, you can search for various options and needs.
Chris Pfitzer, vice president of marketing and communications at the United Way, also shared some more specific needs.
- Freedom House Recovery Center will be serving Christmas and New Year's Day breakfasts and dinners. They need baked goods, fruit, breakfast casseroles for 30 people for the breakfasts; ham, traditional side dishes, desserts, rolls and other items for 60 for the Christmas dinner; and ham and turkey, black-eyed peas, hoppin' john, greens, rolls and other items for 60 for the New Year's dinner. Meals and ingredients can be delivered the Monday to Wednesday before the holidays. Contact Kelly Stanley for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-942-2803, ext. 206. The center provides support for children and adults with mental illness or behavioral issues. It also offers recovery treatment for those struggling with substance abuse.
- Urban Ministries of Wake County needs 300 Christmas dinner boxes. This is a great way for friends, families, co-workers,or neighbors to work together to help out a needy family in Wake County. Each box should include a $25 gift card for Food Lion for a turkey, ham, or chicken; stuffing, potatoes or yams, cranberry sauce, canned fruit, canned vegetables, biscuit mix, and cream of mushroom soup; and cake mix, prepared icing, and pie filling. All Christmas dinner boxes should be delivered to the Urban Ministries Food Pantry by Friday, Dec. 12. Contact Carol Schwartz, outreach coordinator, at email@example.com or 919- 256-2179 with questions. All Urban Ministries donations should be dropped off at 1390 Capital Blvd., Raleigh.
- Partnership for Children is coordinating the Toys for Tots for Johnston County this year. New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at 1406-A S. Pollock St., Selma, through Dec. 15. Contact Karen Mills at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-202-0002 ext. 252 for more information.
- And you can start 2015 by participating in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and 40 Days of Peace Projects, which is coordinated through the United Way. The MLK Day Projects take place on Jan. 19. The 40 Days of Peace Projects take place from Jan. 20 to Feb. 28. There are opportunities for kids and families to help out. The United Way will be holding three drives during this time for the following items: children's and adult books; non-perishable food items; and basic baby items such as wipes, diapers and formula. Contact Natasha Wayne at email@example.com for more information, drive tool kits if you want to hold your own, and drop off locations.
Activate Good also coordinates volunteer opportunities in the area. On its Holiday Volunteer Page, there are opportunities to put together holiday welcome baskets or provide a gift and encouraging note for a homeless veteran for Passage Home; holiday card making and toy drive for Zach's Toy Chest; and more.
Finally, I was exchanging emails with Michelle Old of the Diaper Bank of North Carolina. She tells me that she loves when families of all ages come and volunteer at the Diaper Bank. The group provides diapers and wipes to agencies who work with needy families. The bank usually has volunteer hours from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, but Old said they can be flexible if those times don't work.
If you'd like to donate diapers, the Diaper Bank, which covers 30,000 bottoms a month, could really use size 6 diapers right now. It also is short on sizes 1, 2 and newborn, but they are happy to take all sizes and are grateful for new or opened packages of diapers. The group's website has more information about how to donate diapers. There are drop off locations and opportunities to donate online. Old tells me she hopes to have 20 drop-off locations across the region by Jan. 20.