Holiday helpers are turning up in all corners of the Columbia area, as many service agencies, civic groups, businesses, churches and others are holding seasonal drives.
Many are seeking a helping hand from the community to help brighten the season for those in need. Here is a sampling of opportunities to give, support or volunteer in the coming weeks.
HONOR THE DREAM FOOD DRIVE: The city of Columbia and the Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation is collecting nonperishable food items through Jan. 3 at these locations: City Hall, 1737 Main St.; Charles R. 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 all city parks and recreation sites. Donations will be presented to Harvest Hope Food Bank. (803) 545-3100
SISTERCARE FOOD DRIVE: The local non-profit serving survivors of domestic violence is collecting nonperishable food items and canned goods through Dec. 31 to be distributed to battered women and their children during the December holidays. To participate in the drive or make deliveries, call (803) 926-0505.
Toy and clothing drives
TOY/GIFT DRIVE: Boland’s True Value, 745 Chapin Road, Chapin, will be accepting toys and gift items 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, Saturday12/21 and Monday. Bring a new, unwrapped present for infants through age 18. Gently used toys will also be accepted. Suggestions for the older children include toothbrushes, makeup, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, nail polish, razors, cologne, etc. All gifts will be donated to The Hub, Good Works, We Care, Newberry Sheriff’s Department and Christ Gate. (803) 345-1336
ADOPT A CHILD FOR CHRISTMAS: The Recreation Therapy Department of Three Rivers Midlands Campus, a residential treatment center for adolescents and children from 6-18, is seeking churches or businesses to help one of the facility’s 59 children who will not be able to go home for the holidays. Each resident has filled out a wish list of the things they would like for Christmas. If you would like to adopt a child or participate in a campus-wide gift, call Wilhemina Addison Harrell or Lisha Morant, (803) 791-9918, ext. 4218 or 4509.
HOLIDAY FOOD AND TOY DRIVE: The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department is accepting donations of non-perishable food items; new, unwrapped toys and new, unwrapped clothing for the agency’s annual event for Lexington County residents in need. Donations will be accepted through Friday at these drop-off points: 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; and West Region Patrol District Headquarters, 4079-B Augusta Highway, Gilbert. Call Lt. Kevin Blackmon at (803) 785-2411.
SHARE THE LOVE: Senior Resources’ Meals on Wheels holiday card campaign is under way. For a $5 donation in honor or memory of a loved one or friend, a senior adult will receive a meal and a visit during the holiday season. Designees will be mailed a Meals on Wheels holiday card, letting them know you have donated a heartfelt gift of a nutritious meal in their honor. (803) 252-7734, ext. 256.
THE GIVING TREE: Palmetto Health and the James R. Clark Memorial Sickle Cell Foundation are co-sponsoring The Giving Tree for sickle-cell patients and their siblings. Residents are asked to bring new, unwrapped toys for children newborn through age 16 to the foundation, 1420 Gregg St., 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays. The deadline to purchase gifts is Friday. For more information or to have items picked up, call Regina Brown, (803) 296-2961 or the James R. Clark Memorial Sickle Cell Foundation, (803) 765-9916.
THE SALVATION ARMY: Needs volunteers to distribute Angel Tree gifts at their Christmas warehouse. Stop by the Ruff Building (near the rocket) at the State Fairgrounds to sign in. They need folks from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday. (803) 309-6435
HOLIDAY HELPINGS AND HOPE PROGRAM: Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders is looking for volunteers to help alleviate some of the holiday stress for families of children with cancer or a blood disorder. Children’s Hospital provides wish lists (submitted by patient families who are struggling financially) for individuals and community groups interested in lending a hand. Volunteers will be assigned a family and are asked to buy and deliver Christmas items for the family. Call Stacy Dunleavy, (803) 434-3522.
HOME WORKS OF AMERICA CHRISTMAS BREAK BLITZ: Volunteers are needed to make repairs to the homes of the elderly and disadvantaged in the greater Columbia area Dec. 27-30. No skill level required. (803) 781-4536; email firstname.lastname@example.org
HOLIDAY MUSIC: The Palmetto Health Cancer Center needs volunteers who play musical instruments to play their own selection of music in one- to two-hour shifts, from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. through Wednesday. Small musical combos and small choral groups also are invited to perform. A piano is available. Call Carole Howell at (803) 434-2659.
TREAT BAGS FOR PATIENTS: Volunteers are needed to prepare treat bags for those remaining at Palmetto Health during the Christmas holidays. Volunteers will distribute the treat bags to patients throughout December. To volunteer or to receive a list of items for the bags, contact Carole Howell, (803) 434-2659.
Special holiday drives
LIGHTS FOR HOSPICE: Palmetto Health Hospice is holding its annual Lights for Hospice fundraising drive. For a gift of $35 or more, residents can honor a family member or friend during the holidays with a symbolic light that will be displayed on the crosswalks and other areas of Palmetto Health. An acknowledgement card also will be sent in their name. A gift of $135 or more includes a symbolic light, acknowledgement card and a holiday ornament keepsake. Call Leah Peace at (803) 296-2330.
HOLIDAY SUPPLY DRIVE FOR HOMELESS PETS: Pawmetto Lifeline’s high-need list includes cat and dog food, cat litter, cat and dog toys, gently used linens. Donations will be accepted 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. through Friday at the Meyers-Finlay Adoption Center, 1275 Bower Parkway. www.pawmettolifeline.org
Rosie Brooks and Bertram Rantin