Area agencies hope that local residents will remember those in need this season with gifts of time and assistance.
Opportunities abound for helping at holiday stores, events and food banks — or even just by ringing a bell.
“People can help infants through senior citizens,” said Shelly Hornbaker, coordinator of the Roger Hill Volunteer Center at the United Way of Douglas County.
Hornbaker said that most volunteer opportunities are for adults, but many agencies welcome teenagers or older children who are accompanied by an adult. It is best to check with each agency in advance.
• Toys for Tots will open its Christmas Toy Shop in December for local needy families to select toys for their children. Many retail outlets will have drop boxes for toys, but volunteers also are needed to set up and staff the store, especially volunteers who speak both English and Spanish. The store, 4931 W. 6th St., suite 118, will open starting Dec. 10, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays. To volunteer, contact Mary Jones at 785-766-3023.
• Share the Warmth has been collecting donated coats this fall and will distribute them Dec. 5 from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Dec. 6 from 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers are needed to help The Salvation Army with distribution those days and also to help with sorting and set-up of the coats Dec. 2 from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Bell ringers are needed at locations throughout the city through Dec. 24 for The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Christmas Campaign. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays. Salvation Army will serve a holiday dinner Dec. 4 and needs volunteers for set-up, meal preparation, serving and clean-up. Volunteer for Share the Warmth, as a bell ringer or for the holiday dinner, contact Marisa McCleur at 785-843-4188.
• Big Brothers Big Sisters of Douglas County is seeking volunteers for its 19th Annual Gingerbread House Festival, which takes place Dec. 6-7. Contact Stacie at 785-843-7359 for more information.
• The Lawrence Arts Center needs volunteers to work sewing costumes and building sets for it’s A Kansas Nutcracker production, as well as room attendants during the production. Contact Erika Gray at 785-843-2787, drop by the Arts Center at 940 New Hampshire St. or email Erika at lawrenceartscenter.org.
Holiday gift donations
• The Holiday Bureau, which comprises ECKAN, Penn House and The Salvation Army, has a community-wide adoption program that allows local residents to adopt a family in need and provide food, gifts and clothing. To be matched with a family, contact ECKAN, 785-841-3357; Penn House, 785-842-0440; or The Salvation Army, 785-843-4188.
• Local children who are homeless or living in foster care or group homes would appreciate gifts of new clothing, toys, CDs, gift certificates, books or school supplies. Items for teens are also needed. Donors can be matched with a child or be given a child’s wish list at KVC Behavioral Health Care, Mona Kerns, 785-331-4200, ext. 6638 or email@example.com; or The Villages, Inc., Diane Schulze, 785-267-5900, ext. 0 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Community Living Opportunities seeks volunteers to adopt individuals with developmental disabilities for the holidays. To request a “Holiday Wish Card,” contact Katie Castle at email@example.com.
• Lawrence Family Promise seeks volunteers to adopt children and families who are homeless. Contact Becky Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Douglas County Senior Services’ Adopt-a-Senior Program will match community members with a senior, to provide at least one item from his or her wish list and a grocery certificate. Contact Janet Ikenberry at 785-842-0543.
• Douglas County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is seeking volunteers to provide Christmas stockings for abused and neglected children, ages 3 months to 18 years. For information about donating a stocking or a gift, contact CASA at 785-832-5172.
• The Lawrence Community Shelter’s Holiday Gift Program needs donations of gift items such as AA batteries, backpacks, deodorant, shampoo, coffee, cereal, socks, sweatpants, gloves, knit hats and blankets. Call Diane Huggins at 785-832-8864 to contribute or request a full wish list.