The spirit of giving is on full display in the Midlands as many service agencies, civic groups, businesses, churches and others are holding seasonal drives. Here is a sampling of opportunities to give, support or volunteer in the coming weeks.
The Lexington Police Department is serving as a Toys for Tots collection point again this holiday season. In addition to collecting toys, the department is accepting food for Lexington Interfaith Community Services. Residents can drop off a new, unwrapped toys or non-perishable food items at the police department offices in the Lexington Municipal Complex, 111 Maiden Lane (behind the Old Court House) through Dec. 15.
The Giving Tree, 421 Bush River Road, is accepting gently used jackets, coats, sweaters and other items for area children in need during the holidays. The goal is 1,000 coats. Donations are accepted 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders is seeking participants for its annual Holiday Helpings and Hope Program 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 patients’ families, and individuals and community groups are assigned a family and asked to buy and deliver Christmas items to them. To adopt a family, call (803) 434-3533.
The Salvation Army needs help with its Christmas Toy Drive to collect new, unwrapped toys for children in need. Toys can be dropped off at The Salvation Army's Center for Worship and Service, 3024 Farrow Road, Columbia, 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m, through Dec. 5, or at the Christmas Warehouse in the Hampton Building at the SC State Fairgrounds, 1200 Rosewood Drive, Columbia, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Dec. 8-12. For more information, call (803) 223-9969 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
Home Instead Senior Care’s local office again is sponsoring the Be a Santa to a Senior program, which provides gifts and companionship for lonely and isolated seniors. Through Dec. 12, Pink Sorbet, 2726 Devine St. in Columbia, and Chick-fil-A, 229 Bush River Road, Columbia, will have Christmas trees featuring ornaments with seniors’ first names and gift requests. Holiday shoppers are encouraged to visit one of the two locations, select ornaments, purchase the items and return them unwrapped with the ornament attached to one of the two stores. Program partners and volunteers will wrap and distribute the gifts to local seniors who might otherwise spend the holiday alone. For more information about the program, call (803) 736-4242.
Palmetto Health and the James R. Clark Memorial Sickle Cell Foundation are sponsoring “The Giving Tree” for sickle-cell patients and their siblings. Area residents are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys for children from infant through 16 years old to the James R. Clark Memorial Sickle Cell Foundation, 1420 Gregg St. Columbia, 9 a.m. -4 p.m. weekdays. The deadline to purchase gifts is Dec. 12. For more information or to have items picked up, call the James R. Clark Memorial Sickle Cell Foundation at (803) 765-9916.
The S.C. Bar Young Lawyers Division is collecting items for women in need in the Midlands through Dec. 11. Needed items include paper towels, toilet paper, tissues, cleaning products, children’s clothes and canned goods. A complete list of drop-off locations and needed supplies can be found at scbar.org. For more information call Andrea Sancho at at (803) 318-9745 or email email@example.com.
Sharing God’s Love is seeking various items for the poor and needy in the Irmo, St. Andrews and Ballentine communities during the holidays. Needed items include sheets and towels (which may be used but in good condition), jelly, spaghetti sauce, noodles, laundry detergent, shampoo, deodorant, dish washing liquid, toothpaste, tooth brushes, bar soap and toilet paper. For more information call (803) 732-3188.
Walmart has launched its Food Pantry Holiday Makeover campaign as part of a nationwide effort to help food pantries across the country win funds for facility makeovers during the holidays. Through Dec. 12 area residents can visit walmart.com/holidaymakeover and vote for the food pantry to receive funding. The 75 food pantries getting the most votes will receive $20,000 to purchase equipment to prepare, store and transport food to families in need.