The holidays are upon us, and it’s the most wonderful time of the year to lend a hand to someone in need. There are plenty of opportunities to be a Santa to the folks in our community. Here are some ways local nonprofits and businesses are helping and ways you can be involved.
Giving Back, Linda’s Legacy (GBLL) started with the purpose of helping others while also providing people, especially youth, an opportunity to see the need around them and to give back.
The nonprofit collects food, clothing, blankets, coats, sleeping bags, toys, baby supplies, toiletries and other items for the homeless population in shelters and on the streets in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Individuals, churches, and corporate sponsors are involved.
There are many ways to pitch in: collect supplies, assemble health kits and help with Christmas Eve deliveries. Information will be updated regularly on the organization’s Facebook page and at www.homelessdrive.org. Collection days for the 2018 drive will be December 18-21 at the farmers market off Riva Road in Annapolis. To help, individuals and organizations can contact GBLL at email@example.com.
Many businesses are collecting toys and other items for children. Mattress Firm’s Foster Kids program has provided more than 600,000 clothes, toys, school supplies, and toys to foster children through the years.
Through December 16, Mattress Firm stores in Pasadena and Severna Park have barrels to collect new and unwrapped toys and clothing.
Gary Wilson, an assistant manager at the Pasadena location, said all donations are provided to Anne Arundel County children. Wilson said many foster children must leave their homes with just the clothes they are wearing. Helping with clothes and toys for the holidays is a way to provide a bit of comfort during a potentially tricky situation.
Mattress Firm stores collect supplies for foster children throughout the year. In January, the stores will begin collecting pajamas. The company also supports pancreatic cancer research.
Admiral Cleaners is helping people stay warm this holiday season. Drop off your used coats, and the business will take them, dry-clean them, and get them where they can provide some needed warmth to those in need.
Partner with a family in need to provide food and gifts through Serving People Across Neighborhoods (SPAN). Donations or gift cards are also appreciated. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-647-0889.
Another way to help is through Toys for Tots. The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve started more than 70 years ago, providing toys for children whose parents can’t afford to buy them for Christmas. The tradition has continued, and many local businesses, including Arundel Federal Savings Banks, are drop-off locations through December 13.
The American Legion Posts of Anne Arundel County is helping Toys for Tots with its annual motorcycle toy parade on November 17. It starts at the American Legion Post 175 in Severna Park. Registration begins at 9:00am, and the escorted parade begins at 11:00am with Santa and Mrs. Claus riding an antique open-cab fire truck. Bikers travel north on Ritchie Highway to American Legion Post 40 in Glen Burnie. Food, drinks and live music will be at the destination.
The cost of admission is $15 and one unused, unwrapped toy. Kids under 12 are admitted with a toy. You don’t need a motorcycle to enjoy the festivities.
Many other individuals, businesses and nonprofits are helping in a variety of ways. Plan now how you and your family can help make the holidays brighter for someone else.