The holidays are a time to spend with family and friends, but reaching out to strangers in need is a heart-warming way to share the spirit of the season. Here are some volunteer and donation opportunities, compiled by Margaret Perkins-McGuinness with the Roger Hill Volunteer Center.
Salvation Army and Toys for Tots Christmas Toy Shop
Volunteers are needed to sort and display items Dec. 13-15. Volunteers also are needed to assist clients in choosing toys and clothing Dec. 8-20. Contact Donnie Hornberger at 843-4188, ext. 102
Douglas County Senior Services
DCSS is selling Jingle Jars this holiday season to benefit the Adult Day Program. Jars are filled with ingredients to make baked goods, soups and drinks, and are available in three sizes: half-pint ($3), pint ($5) and quart ($10). For more information, contact DCSS at 842-0543.
Salvation Army holiday bell ringers
Bell ringer volunteers are needed through Dec. 24 from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. for a minimum of two-hour shifts. Businesses, church groups, clubs, scout troops, neighborhood groups, families and individuals are invited to volunteer. For more information, call Donnie Hornberger at 843-4188, ext. 102.
Kaw Valley Center's Holiday Party
KVC will host a holiday party for children served by the agency on Dec. 15. Volunteers are needed to help decorate for the party and to photograph the children with Santa Claus. Stocking stuffers or small gifts are needed. Contact Lydia Diebolt at 331-4200, ext. 6620
Lawrence Community Shelter Holiday Gift Program
LCS needs donations of gift items such as AA batteries, strollers, newborn clothing, diapers, camping gear, deodorant, razors, shampoo and shaving cream. Other items needed include socks, gloves, knit hats, blankets and coats. Call Diane Morgan at 832-8864 for more information and to request a wish list.
Lawrence Arts Center Children's Holiday Shop
The Lawrence Arts Center needs volunteers for the Children's Holiday Shop, which will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 9. Volunteers will work as "elves" to accompany the children into the shop and help them chose their gifts. Volunteers also are needed to wrap gifts for the children after purchase. Additional volunteers are needed to support the project by directing guests to the appropriate stations of the holiday shop. To volunteer, please contact Noelle Uhler at the Lawrence Arts Center, 843-2787 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gift donation and holiday adoption programs
Adopt a Family, coordinated by the Holiday Bureau
The following agencies participate in this communitywide program coordinated by the Holiday Bureau. Participating families receive a holiday meal and a gift for each family member. Donors may adopt an individual or family, or make a financial donation to the program. To adopt a family or donate, please contact any one of the following agencies:
Ballard Community Center, 842-0729
Penn House, 842-0440
Pelathe Center, 841-7202
Salvation Army, 843-4188
Donations for children
The following agencies serve children and teenagers and welcome donations for youth holiday gifts. Clothing, toys, books, gift certificates for groceries, diapers and school supplies are needed:
Mother to Mother: Barbara Katz Ndao, 841-0838
Boys and Girls Club: Roger Ross or Janet Murphy, 841-6854, ext. 2003
Kaw Valley Center: Lydia Diebolt, 331-4200, ext. 6620
Adopt a child:
You can make the season bright for children living in foster care or group home settings by donating gifts such as clothing, toys, CDs, gift certificates, books or school supplies. Gift items for teens also are needed. Donors can be matched with a child or be given a child's wish list:
Kaw Valley Center: Lydia Diebolt at 331-4200, ext. 6620
Achievement Place for Boys: Roxanna Sarraf at 843-5560
The Villages: Diane Schulz at (785) 267-5900
Women's Transitional Care Services Adopt a Family
WTCS's Holiday Adopt-a-Family Program provides food, clothing and other necessities to women and children who are in danger as a result of domestic violence. Contact WTCS at 865-3956 for more information.
Adopt a Grandparent
Douglas County Senior Services' Adopt a Grandparent Program is looking for caring volunteers to pair with a senior and provide at least one item from his or her wish list and a grocery certificate. To adopt a grandparent for the holidays, please contact Janet Ikenberry at 842-0543, ext 110.
Douglas County AIDS Project
DCAP serves people living with HIV/AIDS between the ages of 6 and 66. Donations of holiday gifts, certificates for gasoline and food are needed. Contact Gerald Downs at 843-0040, ext.2
Community holiday meals
Salvation Army Homeless Holiday Dinner
The Salvation Army seeks volunteers to assist with setup, serving and cleanup for a holiday dinner for the homeless Dec. 6. To volunteer, please contact Susan Dalberg at 843-4188, ext. 105, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Salvation Army Shelter Christmas Party
The Salvation Army seeks volunteers to assist with the Shelter Christmas Party on Dec. 24. To volunteer, please contact Liz Coleman at 843-4188, ext. 106, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Free Community Holiday Dinner
The Free Community Holiday Dinner is served on Christmas Day at First United Methodist Church. Pies are needed. Contact Brower Burchill, 843-9199, for more information.
Lawrence Community Shelter Christmas Breakfast
LCS will be hosting a hot breakfast for the homeless on Christmas morning. Food dishes and volunteers are needed to assist. For more information or to volunteer, please call Loring Henderson at 832-8864.
Food pantries are in great need of donations, especially during the holiday season. To donate nonperishable items or grocery store gift cards, please contact any one of the following local food pantries:
Ballard Center: 842-0729
Pelathe Center: 841-7202
Penn House: 842-0440
The Salvation Army: 843-4188
Trinity Interfaith Food Pantry: 843-6166