Looking for an opportunity to pay it forward this holiday season?
You don’t have to look for. There are plenty of ways to give back to the community, from picking names on giving trees at area malls to making financial donations to help victims of the Oct. 4 floods.
We’ve pulled together a sampling of opportunities in the Midlands.
A.C. FLORA HIGH SCHOOL will host its DANCE Winter Showcase 6 p.m. Dec. 10-11 in its theater, 1 Falcon Drive. General admission is $5. All proceeds will be donated to victims of the Oct. 4 flood.
C.A. JOHNSON HIGH SCHOOL’S Distinct Ladies will sponsor “Purses of Hope” through Dec. 11. Students will collect gently-used purses, liquid soap, bar soap, deodorant, toothpaste, feminine products, toothbrushes, wash cloths, wipes, snacks, shampoo and bottled water to distribute to homeless women. People can drop off donations of those items to the front desk of the high school, 2219 Barhamville Road.
CENTRAL CAROLINA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION is accepting online donations at www.YourFoundation.org to help flood victims. The nonprofit organization serves 11 Midlands counties.
CITY OF COLUMBIA is seeking donations of canned fruit, vegetables, dry goods and canned meats through Dec. 21 for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Honor the Dream Food Drive. Drop off donations at City Hall, Columbia Tennis Center, Charles R. Drew Wellness Center, Earlewood Park, Emily Douglas Park, Greenview Park, Hampton Park Heathwood Park, Hyatt Park, Katheryn M. Bellfield Booker Washington Heights Cultural Arts Center, Lorick Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Park, Melrose Park, Pinehurst Park, St. Anna’s Park, Sims Park, Woodland Parks, City Human Resources, Columbia Fire Department Headquarters, Columbia Police Department Headquarters and Public Works. (803) 545-3100
FORT CLARK BAPTIST CHURCH is requesting donations of new or used toys, new or used clothing for parents and children, and food to help those in need. 421 Veterans Row, Elgin. (803) 438-5071
HARVEST HOPE FOOD BANK is teaming up with community partners for the Share Your Holiday food drive 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday in the First Baptist Church parking lot on Sumter Street downtown, near Washington Street. Donors can give nonperishable and canned foods to the drive from their cars. The event also will feature a food truck rodeo.
MUSIC FARM will host a Christmas and holiday party called Palmetto Christmas, 6-11 p.m. Dec. 23, 1022 Senate St. Proceeds from the event will benefit Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. Admission is $25 per person or $40 a couple. The event will feature live music, an open bar, food, games and a raffle. Tickets and donations at www.palmettochristmas.com.
PROVIDENCE HOME is asking for donations of men’s flip flops for showering, men’s boxer briefs, bath towels, basic computers, Lowe’s Home Improvement gift certificates, financial contributions and group meals on the weekends. The 50-bed facility, 3421 N. Main St., helps house men, including military veterans, struggling with homelessness and substance abuse. (803) 779-2927
RED CROSS is seeking donors to give blood or platelets, especially types O, B negative and A negative. Those who donate through Nov. 29 will receive a limited-edition Red Cross mixing spoon with recipes from celebrity chefs while supplies last. The Red Cross also is looking for hosts for blood drives, as donations drop during the holiday season. To donate or host a drive: www.redcrossblood.org , (800) 733-2767.
RED CROSS also is seeking monetary donations to help those affected by this year’s floods. Donate at www.redcross.org/donate/weather.
RICHLAND 2’S HIGH SCHOOLS like to compete with each other in sports – and in their annual holiday drives. All of them welcome community donations to boost their campaigns. Among items being collected: Richland Northeast (socks, new or gently used books, toiletries, canned foods); Blythewood (sponsoring Palmetto Project and a family displaced by flooding); Ridge View (canned foods, foster child gifts, financial donations for God’s Storehouse and homeless veterans); and Spring Valley (financial donations for Make-A-Wish, canned foods, new toys, stuffed stockings, toiletries). Other Richland 2 elementary and middle schools have holiday drives as well. Check with individual schools about their needs.
SALVATION ARMY OF COLUMBIA has several volunteer opportunties, among them ringing bells (through Dec. 24; sign up at www.columbiasa.volunteerfirst.org); helping with Christmas Warehouse setup (Dec. 7-12; www.columbiasa.volunteerfirst.org); helping with Christmas distribution (Dec. 14-18; www.columbiasa.volunteerfirst.org); serving dinner or breakfast at the Inclement Weather Center on an on-call basis (https://goo.gl/ckS60l); and working shifts at its family store between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Saturdays (http://goo.gl/eDH8yB).
SENIOR RESOURCES is hosting its “Share the Love” holiday card campaign through November and December. Donors can give $5 to send a card to a person they would like to honor while also purchasing a meal for a local senior in need. To order, visit tinyurl.com/HolidayCard2015 or by mail or in person at the Senior Resources office, 2817 Millwood Ave., Columbia, SC 29205.
SOUTH CAROLINA YOUTH ADVOCATE PROGRAM is in need of cash or gift card donations to help provide foster care and community-based services in the state through its Angel Tree program. To learn more: www.scyap.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 779-5500.
SUNSET FELINES is seeking volunteers to be caregivers and feeders for cat colonies one time a week. Donations also are needed of Friskies pate cat food, chicken or ham meat baby food, unscented scoopable cat litter, canned tuna in water, paper towels, financial donations, gently used towels and fleece blankets. Details on these and other needs: email@example.com or (803) 794-5686.
TOYS FOR TOTS is collecting toys through Dec. 11 at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, 3250 Airport Blvd., West Columbia. Donors can help fill the back of a truck, in the main lobby of the terminal, with new, unwrapped toys that will be distributed to children in need.
TRANSITIONS HOMELESS RECOVERY CENTER is seeking monetary gifts to help its clients who are working to overcome homelessness. www.transitions.org
UNITED WAY OF THE MIDLANDS is collecting funds for its Flood Disaster Relief Fund. Donate and learn more by visiting www.uway.org.
UNITED WAY OF THE MIDLANDS is seeking volunteers for an Inclement Weather Center through April 1. The organization partners with Transitions, Salvation Army and the City of Columbia to operate the center on nights where the temperature drops below 40 degrees at 191 Calhoun St. Visit www.columbiaiwc.eventbrite.com.
WOODYARD FUND: Donations are being accepted to help those in need pay their winter heating bills. Mail to the Woodyard Fund, c/o The Salvation Army of the Midlands, P.O. Box 2786, Columbia, SC 29202. Make checks payable to the Woodyard Fund. All donations are tax-deductible.