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.
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 Friday through Monday. 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.
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.
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.
Rosie Brooks and Bertram Rantin