Are you getting into the holiday spirit, thinking of ways you can help others who need a helping out?
The coming holidays will offer plenty of opportunities as several local organizations sponsor events to help low-income families, children and elderly residents.
"I would urge folks to be as generous as possible," said Barb Smith, executive director of the United Way of Douglas County, which funds 29 local social service agencies.
"I would say to people, if they're feeling a little tight with their money, it's important to remember that there are some people without any choices at all."
Following are some assistance programs that will be operating during the holiday season:
The Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen, which serves an annual Thanksgiving dinner, is seeking volunteers to help serve and deliver meals this year.
LINK WILL serve a Thanksgiving meal from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the First Christian Church, 1000 Ky. Pam Casagrande, chair of the LINK board, said organizers are seeking volunteers to help serve meals at the church. Also, she said volunteers are needed to deliver meals to people who are home-bound. For more information, call 842-9699.
The Flamingo Club, 501 N. Ninth, will hold a similar dinner at Christmas and will be seeking volunteers to help with its event.
For more information about the Christmas dinner, call the club at 843-9800.
Warm Hearts, which helps low-income families pay for winter heating bills, is accepting donations for an estimated 400 families that may need help this winter. Sherri Cannon, coordinator of six social service agencies that take applications for the program, said the goal this year is to raise $70,000 for the program. People may apply for assistance starting Jan. 4.
MORE THAN 1,000 people in about 360 families were assisted by the program last year, Cannon said.
People who want to contribute to the program may send donations to P.O. Box 1555 Lawrence, 66044.
The Holiday Bureau, which provides holiday dinners and presents to families that are supported anonymously by local individuals and businesses, also is seeking donations, people to adopt families, and volunteer help.
Sherri Cannon, coordinator of the program, said more than 1,000 families were assisted last year through that program. She estimates that 1,250 to 1,500 famlies may require help this year. People can apply for assistance at six social service agencies through Dec. 4. Applicants should have proof of income, Social Security cards for all members of the household, and proof of Douglas County residency, such as a driver's license or utility bill.
PEOPLE WHO want to donate or adopt a family can contact one of the six agencies participating in the Holiday Bureau: Penn House, 842-0440; Lawrence Indian Center, 841-7202; Douglas County Senior Services, 842-0543; Salvation Army, 843-4188; Ballard Center, 842-0729; and the Help Connection in Eudora, 542-3764.
An annual "Share the Warmth" coat drive, sponsored by Scotch Fabric Care Services. Local residents may donate their extra coats at any local Scotch store through Nov. 28. The company has five stores in Lawrence: 1029 N.H., 1517 W. Sixth, 3025 W. Sixth, 1526 W. 23rd and 1410 Kasold.
The stores have bins set up inside, where residents can donate their coats. Scotch cleans the coats and will donate them to the local Salvation Army, which will distribute the coats to local residents Dec. 4-5. A location for the distribution has not yet been determined.
Last year, the local Scotch stores collected about 2,000 coats. For more information, call 843-2796.
TOYS FOR Tots, sponsored by Sunflower Cablevision and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. New toys or cash donations for a toy may be dropped off at the Sunflower Cablevision office at 644 N.H. between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
The third annual Toys for Tots Telethon will be held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Dec. 13 and will be broadcast on Sunflower Cable channel 6.
All funds raised for Toys for Tots will be used to purchase new toys, which will be given to the Salvation Army for distribution to local children on Dec. 16-17. A site for the distribution has not yet been determined.
Jan McNish, Sunflower Cablevision office manager and coordinator of the drive, said organizers are looking for people interested in making a presentation during the telethon or giving a talent performance.
For more information, call McNish at 841-2100.
The Salvation Army is seeking volunteers and donations and people to adopt families in need. Volunteers are being sought for its annual bell-ringing campaign. Lawrence will have 15 bell-ringing sites this year.
A THANKSGIVING dinner also will be served at noon Nov. 25 in the Salvation Army gym, 946 N.H.
A Christmas dinner will be served at noon on Dec. 23 in the gym and a Christmas party is scheduled for 9 p.m. Dec. 24 in the gym for the homeless.
Violet Windham, wife of the local Salvation Army captain, said organizers are seeking volunteers to help prepare for the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and for the toy and coat distributions a few days before the events. Anyone interested can call the Salvation Army at 843-4188 in advance.
The Roger Hill Volunteer Center can provide information on other activities and volunteer needs. Anyone interested can call the center at 865-5030.