INFORMATIONAL SESSIONS for the public on the Affordable Care Act and the new Health Insurance Marketplace will be held at 6 p.m. Monday at the Cayce-West Columbia Branch Library, 1500 Augusta Road, West Columbia. Presentations by TeamHOPE, Eau Claire Cooperative Health Centers, S.C. Appleseed Legal Justice Center, the Cooperative Ministry and AARP; each session will be followed by a Q&A period. Enrollment in the marketplace will be held through March 31 at the Main Library, noon-4 p.m. Mondays; 4-8 p.m. Wednesdays; and 9 a.m.-noon Fridays; Pelion Branch, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Nov. 14; Cayce-West Columbia Branch, 1-5 p.m. Nov. 23. Individuals must register in advance for a one-hour appointment with a counselor. (803) 785-2680
PETSENSE AND COLUMBIA ANIMAL SERVICES are teaming up to increase the amount of pet adoptions. The nationwide pet store, at 7402 Garners Ferry Road, will house up to six cats at the store and facilitate more adoptions through the store. The partnership and program will help Columbia Animal Services become a no-kill shelter within the next five years. for more information, call Marli Drum, animal services superintendent at (803) 545-7387 or go to www.columbiasc.net.
THE DORN VA MEDICAL CENTER and area partners are joining forces to host the annual Stand Down for the Homeless 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday at the Midlands Housing Alliance, 2025 Main St. The stand down is open to veterans and other individuals who are homeless or at risk for homelessness. Stand downs are part of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs efforts to provide services to homeless veterans typically through food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, counseling and other services. Cooperating agencies supporting this year’s event include AARP of South Carolina, Angel House, Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, Fort Jackson Warrior Transition Unit, McEntire Produce, Otis Spunkmeyer, Pepsi, St. Joseph Catholic Church, the American Legion, Transitions (Midlands Housing Alliance), Vietnam Veterans, Village of Hope Ministries and the William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center. (803) 776-4000, extension 4083 or 6883
A CHRISTMAS CRAFT SHOW and holiday bazaar will be held 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday in the Lexington Middle School cafeteria, 702 N. Lake Drive, Lexington. More than 50 crafters and vendors from around the Midlands. Proceeds from a silent auction will benefit Harvest Hope Food Bank. (803) 553-4912
NURSERY ROAD ELEMENTARY PTO is sponsoring a garage sale/holiday bazaar 8 a.m.-noon Saturday at the school, 6706 Nursery Road. Crafters and vendors welcome; cost for participating is $20 (any money you raise is yours to keep). Tables available for rent at $10. The event will take place in the teacher’s parking lot but will move inside to the gym in case of rain. Email email@example.com to reserve your spot.
THE ANNUAL OYSTER ROAST to benefit the Newberry Opera House will be 5-8 p.m. Sunday at the Waldrop Farm, 637 John Waldrop Road, Newberry. Menu will feature Bowen’s Island oysters, turkey hash, baked beans, hors d’oeuvres, beverages and more. Raffle tickets for prizes including dinner for two at Steven W’s Downtown Bistro, two front row seats for the Wynonna show and an overnight stay at the Hampton Inn; $25. Oyster roast tickets are $40 (both on sale at the Opera House or any of the Newberry Opera House Guild members). (803) 276-6264; www.newberryoperahouse.com
HAGGAR AND BELK are teaming up with the Purple Heart Service Foundation to gather gently used clothing for resale to benefit veterans and their families in need. Customers contribute by donating any brand of gently worn pants at any Belk store, Nov. 8-11. The Purple Heart Service Foundation sells the items at their resale locations. Then, customers may purchase any new Haggar casual or dress pant for $29.99 during the four-day promotion. Monies from the sales of donated goods provide funding for veterans services, welfare, rehabilitation and educational programs not only for veterans wounded in combat, but all veterans and their families at no cost. Local stores include Columbiana Centre, 100 Columbiana Circle, (803) 701-4100; Dutch Square, 421 Bush River Road, (803) 722-8430; Richland Mall, 3400 Forest Drive, (803) 782-2600; and Village at Sandhill, 670 Promenade Place, (803) 419-7878.
NORTHEAST COLUMBIA YOUNG LIFE is taking pre-orders for Christmas trees. Trees will be extremely fresh — cut the day before Thanksgiving and ready for pick-up locally the day after Thanksgiving. Multiple sizes available at reasonable rates (a 5-6-foot tree is $36. Orders must be placed by Nov. 10; go to www.necolumbia.younglife.org
WALK TO BETHLEHEM, a fundraiser for the Columbia Bethlehem Community Center, will be begin at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 16 at 344 McCrae St. Registration is $20; groups of 10, $50; deadline is Nov. 11. Bike, run or walk — fruits, juices and healthy breakfast snacks will be available. CBCC provides services to families and children in need. (803) 807-9582 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
THE CITY OF COLUMBIA is collecting old or unused wireless phones through the Verizon HopeLine® program. Phones that are collected will be refurbished or recycled; refurbished phones complete with 3,000 minutes of wireless service are provided to domestic violence organizations for use by survivors. Bring old wireless phones, batteries and accessories in any condition from any wireless carrier and drop them off in the collection bins at City Hall, 1737 Main St., 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. through Thursday. HopeLine® locally supports Sistercare. www.verizonwireless.com
LEXINGTON COUNTY RECREATION AND AGING COMMISSION is collecting canned goods and non-perishable food items through Nov. 26. All items collected will be distributed to congregate and homebound Meals on Wheels recipients during the month of December. If you, your business or church would like to donate to the food drive or are interested in being a drop-off site, call (803) 356-5111. The following information will be needed if you are interested in being a drop-off site: The name of your business, church, etc., contact person and phone number, address where you will be collecting and dates and times of collection. Collection sites will be responsible for providing collection containers. All canned food items may be delivered to the Gilbert Senior Center, 409 Broad St., by Dec. 6; or call before Dec. 6 to make arrangements for pick-up.
MAIN STREET BATTLE FOR BLOOD: Blood drive, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday at four locations in downtown Columbia. Presenting donors will receive a free Main Street Battle for Blood T-shirt (while supplies last) and will automatically be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card. Locations will be Capitol Center, 1201 Main St., first floor, lower level; First Citizens Building, 1230 Main St., bloodmobile on Lady Street near Main Street; Meridian Building, 1320 Main St., 17th floor conference room; and the NBSC Building, 1221 Main St., 14th floor multi-purpose room. Donors are invited to cast their vote for one of the event sponsors: McAngus Goudelock & Courie, EDENS, Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, McNair Attorneys, Nelson Mullins, First Citizens, NBSC and Nexsen Pruet; NBSC was the winner of the 2012 competition. For appointments, go to http://www.redcrossblood.org and enter the sponsor code mainbloodbattle
MORGAN OUTREACH MINISTRIES INC. has adopted the S.C. Combat Veterans Group for the holidays via Operation Turkeys to Soldiers and Combat Veterans. The goal is to provide 300 turkeys to soldiers and veterans on Nov. 23. Contributions will be accepted until Wednesday. (803) 479-7673 or email email@example.com
THE CITY OF WEST COLUMBIA and West Columbia’s Empowerment Center are sponsoring a food drive to make Thanksgiving baskets for citizens in need of food for the holidays. Items will be collected until Nov. 25 for Nov. 27 distribution. Drop-off points are West Columbia City Hall and the West Columbia Police Department, 200 N. 12th St.; West Columbia Fire Department, 610 N. 12th St.; and the West Columbia Empowerment Center, 754 B Ave. (803) 739-6238
HARVEST HOPE FOOD BANK is preparing for the holiday season. A monetary gift will help gather loads of food from across the country. The food is often donated and free, but the transportation is not. In addition, backpack sponsors are needed for children. A $30 gift will provide 29 meals on the weekends. Harvest Hope dedicates 98 cents out of every dollar donated to its mission of feeding struggling families, children, seniors and neighbors. www.harvesthope.com
THE CENTRAL MIDLANDS COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS is seeking volunteers for its volunteer driving program. The ARP, administered by CMOG, is being implemented in Central Midlands rural communities with service beginning January 2014. Individuals 21 and older with disabilities and seniors 60 and older can get free rides to important locations. Volunteers may be eligible to receive mileage reimbursement; plus CMOG will insure each ride. If you’re interested call (803) 376-5390 before Friday.
HARVEST HOPE FOOD BANK needs volunteers for groups and for counselors in its Emergency Food Pantries. Go to www.harvesthope.org
JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT is looking for folks to supplement the standard school curriculum with real world relevance and experience. JA’s school programs are made available at no charge to all teachers and schools. JA VolunTeachers may determine their own schedules (training and all materials will be provided). Volunteers may choose to work with elementary school students, kindergarten through fifth grade, 30 minutes a week for five weeks. Middle-schoolers in grades 6-8 will meet 45 minutes a week for six to eight weeks; programs for students in grades nine-12 require a commitment of an hour a week for seven to 12 weeks. Choose your school and class by calling (803) 252-1974, ext. 204 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
THE LOURIE CENTER needs volunteer drivers for its 5 Points Wheels program, a transportation service for seniors and handicapped in the downtown area. The program operates from a 15-passenger shuttle bus, taking seniors to doctors appointments, personal errands such as banking and salons and food shopping. There is an immediate need for a driver for a weekly 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday shift. Substitute drivers for Mondays-Thursdays are also needed. Requirements: standard driver’s license, ability to drive a large vehicle, knowledge of downtown Columbia, ability to work with the public and seniors, some physical aptitude and mobility. Call Stephanie Benjamin, (803) 779-1971, ext. 12 or email email@example.com.
CARIS HEALTHCARE is seeking hospice volunteers. For more information, call Michelle Robinson, volunteer coordinator, at (803) 794-4141 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
GIRL SCOUTS OF SOUTH CAROLINA – MOUNTAINS TO MIDLANDS is looking for adult volunteers to provide leadership opportunities to local Girl Scouts in Richland and Lexington counties. No experience is necessary, training is free. (803) 461-3737, (803) 461-3736; http://www.gssc-mm.org
SUNSET FELINES is in urgent need of reliable folks to spare an hour a week (mornings or late afternoons, weekdays and weekends) to assist with the feeding of several cat colonies in Lexington County. Ideal for retirees or those with flexible schedules. Also need foster homes, both short- and long-term; plus they have plenty of adoptable cats. (803) 794-5686 or email email@example.com
FIDO DOG RESCUE is looking for volunteer foster families to care for rescued dogs until they find permanent homes. (803) 796-2390
THE IRMO CHAPIN RECREATION COMMISSION is seeking volunteers age 18 and older to become nature interpreters at Saluda Shoals Park. Nature interpreters interact with and educate park guests in the Wetlands Preserve. Volunteers meet at 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesdays for training. No experience necessary; retirees welcome. Jeanette Wells, (803) 213-2051