SENIORS CHRISTMAS LUNCHEON, sponsored by the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission, is slated for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 12 at Crooked Creek Park, 1098 Old Lexington Highway, Chapin. Enjoy fun, food and fellowship; bring a dessert or fresh fruit to share. No charge for the luncheon; registration deadline is Sunday. (803) 345-6181
TAYLOR MEMORIAL CHURCH will hold a year-end clothing giveaway and soup kitchen from 10 a.m.-2 p.m Dec. 14 at the church, 1004 Short St. (803) 254-4685
ST. PAWS THRIFT STORE, 304 12th St., West Columbia, lends a hand to area animal rescue organizations through its Protecting Animal Welfare (PAW) awards. St. Paws was formed to serve as a portal for the sale of tax-deductible merchandise donations, providing a steady source of funding for the numerous animal rescue and welfare organizations in the Midlands. Those interested in applying for a PAW award, volunteering or donating, should call (803) 936-0077. To qualify, all PAW award applicants must be registered 501c3 nonprofit organizations in good standing.
SO YOU CHANGED YOUR CLOCK, did you change the batteries in your smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector? The Cayce Department of Public Safety in conjunction with Energizer and the International Association of Fire Chiefs will be providing a limited number of batteries for these lifesavers to seniors and needy households in Cayce. To obtain the batteries or make arrangements for installation, call (803) 794-0456
NEED HELP PAYING your Medicare prescription drug cost? The Extra Help program helps individuals pay their Medicare prescription drug plan costs such as premiums, deductibles and copayments. The Medicare Savings program can help with Medicare costs such as premiums, deductibles, copayments and the monthly Part B premium. To see if you qualify for these programs, contact the I-CARE (Insurance Counseling Assistance and Referral for Elders) program of the Central Midlands Area Agency on Aging/Aging and Disability Resource Center at (803) 376-5390, ext. 309 or 312. The Central Midlands region covers Fairfield, Lexington, Newberry and Richland counties. The I-CARE program is a volunteer insurance counseling and assistance program for persons on Medicare. There is no charge for these services and absolutely no selling of insurance involved.
SCLAWANSWERS.ORG is an interactive resource available to the public for around-the-clock access to legal help. The website allows individuals who meet the qualifications to post legal questions and have them answered by a volunteer attorney. It is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, allowing both the attorney and client to use the resource at their convenience. The site is designed only for civil questions (family law issues, landlord/tenant law, consumer law, probate, juvenile law, immigration, bankruptcy and health care); clients who have criminal questions are referred to a local public defender. The website can be accessed by going to www.sclawanswers.org. For those who require assistance not offered through the site, helpful links can also be found there.
ENROLLMENT SESSIONS for the public in the Health Insurance Marketplace will be held through March 31 at the Main Library, 5440 Augusta Road, noon-4 p.m. Mondays; 4-8 p.m. Wednesdays; and 9 a.m.-noon Fridays. 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.
BE A REALLY GOOD NEIGHBOR by donating whole blood or platelets. Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. The American Red Cross encourages people who are in good health to donate so hospital patients have the blood or platelets they need to make a recovery. The Red Cross Columbia donation center is at 2751 Bull St. (800) 733-2767; http://www.redcrossblood.org/sc
GALA FOR A GREENER MIDLANDS, a fundraiser to support beautification in the Midlands will be held Thursday at the Holiday Inn, 110 McSwain Drive, West Columbia. The black-tie optional event gets started at 6 p.m. with light refreshments and an auction; dinner and awards program will follow at 7:30 p.m.; fun and dancing with The Project Band begin at 8:30 p.m. Individual tickets are $75; or sponsor a table. Tickets and sponsorship information at (803) 733-1139; www.keepthemidlandsbeautiful.org
OLD MILL HOLIDAY SHOPPING MARKET, a fundraiser to benefit a local family in need. The market will be open 5-9 p.m. Friday for easy shopping, raffle items, gift wrapping, bake sale and dinner at the Old Mill Brew Pub. If you come out on Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., there will be more easy shopping, a raffle, gift wrapping, a bake sale, Santa pictures by Rob & Jon Photography, open house at Lake Murray Treasures, children’s activities and lunch at the Old Mill Brew Pub or Creekside. Vendors include thirty one, Mary Kay, Scentsy, Bella Riley Spa, Pampered Chef, Origami Owl, It Works, Stella & Dot, Avon, Soul Purpose handcrafted gifts, personalized items and ornaments. The Old MIll is at 711 E. Main St., Lexington.
KEEPIN’ IT REAL, a ministry for the homeless, has released its wish list for the winter. Financial assistance is used to pay rent and utilities for the transitional homes and storage units, upkeep and gas for the van and for emergency needs (prescriptions, transportation, etc.); warm clothing and blankets (coats, blankets, hooded sweatshirts, gloves, knitted caps, warm socks and footwear); there is a critical need for men’s clothing and new socks and underwear. Donations of women’s and children’s clothing are also accepted and distributed. Out of season clothing is stored until needed. Meals, local churches or groups are sometimes needed to provide food and fellowship following Sunday afternoon worship; canned goods and non-perishable foods for seniors; volunteers and donations of prepared food are also needed for the Christmas Night Dinner, 5 p.m. Dec. 25 at the Transit Station, Sumter and Laurel streets. (803) 406-0724
HONOR THE DREAM FOOD DRIVE: The City of Columbia and the Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation have teamed up for an annual food drive to benefit Harvest Hope Food Bank and to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of community service and helping others. Collection boxes for non-perishable food items will be set up through Jan. 3 at the following locations: City Hall, 1737 Main St.; Charles H. Drew Wellness Center, 2101 Walker Solomon Way; City Water Customer Service, Washington Square, 1339 Main St.; City Human Resources Office, 1225 Lady St.; James E. Clyburn Golf Center, 2091 Slighs Ave.; Columbia Tennis Center, 1635 Whaley St.; and city parks and recreation sites (visit www.columbiasc.gov/parks-recreation/facilities for names and addresses). (803) 545-3100
THE LEXINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT is accepting donations of used cellphones and telephone accessories to benefit Cell Phones for Soldiers. The nonprofit group sells used cell phones and accessories to a recycling company and uses the proceeds to buy prepaid telephone calling cards that are issued to members of the armed forces serving outside the United States. Personal information and personal photographs should be deleted. Drop-off points include the Lexington County Law Enforcement Complex, 521 Gibson Road, Lexington; North Region Service Center, 111 Lincreek Drive, Columbia; South Region Service Center, 102 Airport Road, Pelion; West Region Patrol District Headquarters, 4079-B Augusta Highway, Gilbert; and Crooked Creek Park, 1098 Old Lexington Highway, Chapin. Sgt. David Amick is coordinating the effort, if you have questions, call him at (803) 223-3778
STAR TREE ADOPT-A-CHILD, a West Columbia Community Empowerment Center program is under way. Stop by the West Columbia Fire Department lobby, 610 N. 12th St. from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. daily through Dec. 18. Choose a star-shaped ornament bearing a needy child’s name, age and gender. Buy the child a gift, wrap it and use the ornament as a label. Santa will deliver the gifts at the annual Christmas party which will feature food, games and entertainment for the children.
HOLIDAY HELPINGS AND HOPE PROGRAM, an initiative of Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders is seeking individuals and community groups interested in lending a hand to families of children with cancer or a blood disorder. Children’s Hospital provides wish lists (submitted by patient families who are struggling financially). Volunteers will be assigned a family and are asked to buy and deliver Thanksgiving and/or Christmas items for the family. To volunteer to adopt a family, contact Stacy Dunleavy at (803) 434-3522 or email email@example.com
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
REACH OUT AND READ, an early literacy program providing books for children age 5 and younger during well-child visits at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, needs new book donations and contributions. Call Callee Boulware, (803) 434-2523.
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