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How To Help This Holiday

Featured Photo from How To Help This Holiday

Last issue, we helped you get in the giving spirit early by sharing what local nonprofits need in the months before holiday giving begins in earnest. Now, the green-and-red rubber is meeting the road, and it’s time to help our local charities make the holidays merry for neighbors in need. From serving meals to sponsoring a wish list for a child in foster care, there are dozens of ways, both big and small, that you can make a difference.

Christian Sharing Center

What do they do?

The Christian Sharing Center is focused on preventing hunger and homelessness for families and individuals in crisis. Thanksgiving food distribution will be on November 16 and 18. Christmas meals and kids’ shoe distribution will be on December 15, 20, and 22.

What They Need:

To find out how you can help with any or all of these deliveries, contact Dan Ryan, director of client services, at 407-691-3114. The Sharing Center hopes to feed 300 families and 100 homeless individuals/families for Thanksgiving and another 500 families and 100 homeless for Christmas. Donations can be dropped off at the Food Pantry, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.  600 North U.S. Hwy. 17-92 in Longwood. Donations can be dropped off at the back door - and you don’t even have to get out of the car!

Thanksgiving

These are the items you can donate that will help:

For Families: 

Stuffing
Green beans
Potatoes
Packaged gravy
Jell-O
Broth
Sugar
Coffee/tea
Evaporated milk
Canned pumpkin
Cranberry sauce
Marshmallows
Pie crust
Jiffy mix
Cake mix and frosting
$10 grocery gift cards

For the Homeless:

Canned ham
Pop-top beans
Pop-top veggies
Instant potatoes
Pop-top fruit
Ready-to-eat pudding/Jell-O
Beef jerky
Hot chocolate
Instant coffee
Sports drinks
Bottled water
Can opener
Plastic utensils
Napkins
Toiletries

Christmas

For Families:

Boxed stuffing
Boxed scalloped or au gratin potatoes
Canned green beans, corn, and fruit
Boxed cake mix
Canned frosting 
Boxed Jell-O
A can or packet of gravy
Bags or boxes of coffee or tea
Plastic jars of mustard and mayonnaise
$10 grocery gift cards

For the Homeless:

Pop-top canned ham
Pop-top canned baked beans
Pop-top canned vegetables
Pouches of instant potatoes
Single-serve fruit cups and pudding cups
Packets of hot chocolate and instant coffee
Plastic utensils and napkins

Christian HELP

What do they do?

The nonprofit Christian HELP has helped the unemployed and underemployed find jobs in Central Florida for the past 24 years. 

What They Need:

Toys can be dropped off at 450 Seminola Boulevard, Casselberry. If you would like to volunteer they can also contact the office at  407-834-4022.

IMPOWER

What do they do?

IMPOWER is a leading nonprofit mental health and child well-being organization dedicated to empowering the lives of those in need by offering personal attention, counseling, assistance, and inspiration to help young people reach their full potential and achieve individual success.

The holidays, which should be a time of family and fellowship, can often be difficult for the children and teens IMPOWER serves. Some are in families who are struggling to make ends meet. Others are awaiting their forever families or just simply trying to get used to being separated from the life they once knew. IMPOWER’s Holiday Heroes Gift Drive is important because it reminds these children that they, too, are special and deserve kindness during this and every time of year.

What They Need:
To sponsor a child for the holidays, please call 407-215-0095, ext. 215 or email Info@ImpowerFL.org. Provide your contact information and let IMPOWER know if you would like to help one child or more and if you have any preference for age or gender. Once your information is received:

  1. You will be paired up with a child or children and provided first name, age, gender, and a short list of their holiday wishes. These are only guidelines, and sponsors are not required to purchase everything requested.
  2. You, your family, and/or friends do the shopping.
  3. Return the gifts, unwrapped and labeled, to IMPOWER by December 9. 
  4. You can enjoy your holiday knowing that you made a child’s day brighter.
  5. You will receive a personalized thank you note after the holidays, and you’ll be designated as an official “Holiday Hero”!

Meals on Wheels, Etc.

What do they do?

The mission of Meals on Wheels, Etc. is to enhance the quality of life for young and old by providing appetizing, nutritious meals as well as support services for seniors, which enable them to maintain their independence and dignity. 

What They Need:

Volunteers will deliver meals and holiday gift bags on Christmas Day, and the community is invited to make sure every senior in need gets a gift bag. Gift bags must be marked male or female, and all items must be delivered to the Meals on Wheels office (2801 South Financial Court, Sanford) by December 16. If you are donating more than 15 gift bags, Meals on Wheels will pick them up. Call 407-333-8877, ext. 100 to arrange pickup. Meals on Wheels staff say tote bags in bright colors make the best gift bags.

  • Items for the holiday gift bags can include:
  • Personal care items (hand lotion, perfume, nail polish, lipstick, after-shave)
  • Flashlights with batteries included
  • Stationery or greeting cards with stamps
  • Jewelry (pins, earrings, necklaces, bracelets)
  • Small hand towels
  • Socks (male/female, all sizes)
  • Slippers (male/female, all sizes)
  • Gift cards (Walmart, Target, etc.) Elderly clients often use these cards to pay for pharmacy items.
  • Candy (chocolate/hard or sugar free candy)
  • Change purses/wallets (male and female)
  • Crossword puzzles (large print)
  • Fun trinkets

All items must be new and unopened. Please do not include candles or medical products of any kind.

SafeHouse of Seminole

What do they do?

The mission of SafeHouse, the county’s emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence or abuse, is to have a community of healthy, violence-free relationships. SafeHouse strengthens families in Seminole County by developing, promoting, and enhancing creative prevention and effective intervention initiatives that will reduce the amount of violence in intimate relationships.

What They Need:

For the holidays, SafeHouse is looking for the following items:

  • Gift cards to Payless ShoeSource, Shoe Carnival, local malls, or Best Buy
  • Jewelry, hair and makeup items, and nail kits for teen girls

For more specific needs, check out SafeHouse’s holiday wish list on its website and Facebook page, which will be posted in November.

 
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