Ways to help out during the holidays

The holiday season often means time spent with friends and family, giving gifts, eating great meals and generally recharging one’s battery at the end of a year. It is also a time for many people to help those who are less fortunate. If you are looking to donate time, money or goods to worthy causes in the area, here are just some ideas. if you don’t see your favorite cause listed here, e-mail editor@thecitizen.com with “Helping at the Holidays” in the subject line.

• Be a Santa to a Senior (BASTAS) – The aim of the program is to provide holiday gift baskets and care packages to local seniors who would otherwise be left out during the holiday season.  To participate, find a participating BASTAS location, remove an ornament from the tree (gift ideas are printed on each ornament), purchase the gift(s) listed, and return the ornament and gift back to the participating location.  Peachtree City locations include Prudential Georgia Realty (at The Avenue) and The Gathering Place.  Financial donations are tax-deductible contributions.  Please make checks payable to Fayette Senior Services, write “MoW/BASTAS” on the memo line, and mail to Home Instead Senior Care – MoW/BASTAS, P.O. Box 866, Fayetteville, GA  30214.  To volunteer as a collection site, contact is Betty.Keane@homeinstead.com or call 770-312-4791.  For detailed information, including the location of ornament trees, visit www.BeaSantaToaSenior.com.

• Blue Jeans, Blue Christmas - The Young Professionals of Fayette County will be collecting blue jeans for boys and girls (sizes 6-14) and hygiene products that will be donated to Fayette Holiday Helpers at an event Friday night, Nov. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Alexandria’s in Peachtree City. Fayette Holiday Helpers assists 400 needy children identified by Fayette County Schools.

• Embracing Military Families -The war is finally winding down, and this will be the last year that Embracing Military Families will be helping the brave men and women at Ft. Benning in providing a Merry Christmas for their families. Even as the news continually updates us on the units coming home, a lot of units remain deployed. For many of the soldiers, this is their fourth or fifth deployment. They all still need our help. We are all stretched with what to do with charitable dollars. 
EMF is collecting unwrapped toys now for per-school age through 5th graders. Drop off boxes are available around town. Box drop offs are located at the following locations; DHL, Johnny’s Pizza in PTC, J. Christopher’s, Y-Knot, and both World Gym’s in PTC. Monetary donations can be placed in money jars located in Hallmark, Wild Bird Unlimited, Omega Book Store, and Rona’s Flowers which are all located at N. Peachtree Parkway shopping center.

EMF will be redirecting its energies in 2013 and concentrating on wounded warriors and their families. This will be an ongoing effort, with a different focus. But for this year, 2012, let’s give those littlest warriors one more Merry Christmas. If you would like to help, you may contact or send your monetary donation to Director Cathy McMullen at 202 Panstone Drive, Peachtree City, GA 30269.  EMF is a 501(c) charity under the umbrella of United Charitable Programs. Checks should be made out to EMF. 

• Fayette Samaritans is a non-profit organization dedicated to the food and clothing needs of Fayette Countians. Their needs for this month are as follows: canned meat, dry beans, soup, rice, peanut butter, jelly, toilet tissue,canned fruit, ramen noodles, potatoes. The clothing section is in need of ladies and girls underwear and socks-all sizes and must be new. Men’s boxer shorts-M, L., must be new. Men and boys T-shirts and socks, all sizes. The facility is located at 125 Hickory Rd., next to Fayetteville Christian Church. It is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon. Call them at 770-719-2707. Town Square Jewelers in downtown Fayetteville is serving as a drop off for items needed by the Fayette Samaritans this holiday season.

• Fayette Senior Services’ Project Love is a fundraising campaign that provides holiday meals via Meals On Wheels to homebound seniors.  Without these funds, there will be homebound seniors in Fayette County who have nothing to eat on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  For as little as $10, two meals can be provided for a senior.  There is no limit to the number of meals that can be purchased, and general donations are welcomed.  Donation forms can be found at www.fayss.org (online donations accepted) and at Fayette Senior Services Life Enrichment Center, 4 Center Drive in Fayetteville.  Checks should be made payable to Fayette Senior Services.  Credit cards accepted.  For more information about Meals On Wheels or if you have an interest in becoming a Meals On Wheels volunteer, contact Ginnie Plunkett, Meals On Wheels Coordinator, at 770-461-0813.

• Fayette Toys for Tots is looking for volunteers (individuals and organizations) to help with the program (collecting and sorting toys, hosting events, raising donations, and serving as toys drop-off sites).  The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community. Last year Fayette Toys for Tots provided toys to over 2,500 children in Fayette County. The Sgt. Clyde Thomason, M.O.H. Detachment 1325, of the Marine Corps League, is responsible for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation program in Fayette and Coweta Counties. To lend a hand, visit www.Fayettetoysfortots.com and register.  Email questions to fayettetoysfortots@hotmail.com.  Toy drop-off locations include City Hall, Kedron Fieldhouse, and the Peachtree City Library. 

The Gaddy Family will host the 6th annual Toys For Tots Drive at their annual Christmas Light Display at 898 Sandy Creek Road. The toy drive will be held on Friday , Nov. 30 from 6:30-10 p.m. Representatives from Toys For Tots will be accepting new, unwrapped toys for children of all ages. Bring your family and start the holiday season by sharing with others. Each child visiting the display on Nov. 30 will receive a small “Thank You” gift from Santa.

Joe Dion’s State Farm office, 1240 Highway 54 West, Suite 500 in Fayetteville will also be a drop off point for Toys for Tots.

There will be a car show to benefit Toys for Tots Dec. 15 at Restorod (110 Hwy 85 North in Fayetteville) from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The entry fee for cars in the car show is a new, unwrapped toy.

• Fayette Youth Protection Homes is a non-profit organization that provides safe shelter and physical, educational, and emotional support to children and youth who have been the victims of abuse, neglect or other tragic circumstances in order to strengthen them for the next phase of life. When children are removed from their homes, they usually arrive with nothing but the clothes on their backs. As a non-profit organization, FYPH relies on the donations of individuals and groups to help meet the needs of children and youth. Items that are needed are new or gently used clothing (size infant through teen), new socks and underwear, winter jackets, mittens and hats, diapers and wipes, toiletires, books for children, canned goods, gift cards to movies, restaurants and clothing stores and school supplies. Items can be dropped off at the FYPH Executive Office at 101 Devant St, Suite 502, Fayetteville, Mon.-Fri. from 9 a.m.– 4 p.m. (Office located off Gingercake Rd. just north of intersection of Hwy. 54/Gingercake, behind Waffle House). For additional information, call 770-461-7020.

• Operation Sandbox will assemble and send care packages to deployed troops using specific donated items as requested by the troops. In the local area monetary contributions (checks or cash) or donated items will be accepted at local businesses through November 30. On December 2, a local patriot who wishes to remain anonymous will deliver the items to a central staging area for packaging and mailing in time for Christmas. The donated items are those that have been most requested by troops, and it varies from year to year. This year the list includes hygiene items, food and snacks, drink mixes and entertainment items. A complete listing of items will be found at local drop off points or at the website, www.operationsandboxga.com.

 • Peachtree City Fire Department Santa Run – Food/Toy Drive – Santa Claus is coming to town, in a fire truck!  The Peachtree City Fire Department will escort Santa around the City on weekends in December, and will accept donations of non-perishable food items to help those in need in our community this holiday season, as well as new, unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots.  Santa will be making his rounds on Saturdays (9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.) and Sundays (11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.) from December 1 through December 16, beginning in Kedron Village.  For Santa’s schedule, visit http://peachtree-city.org/DocumentCenter/View/5976.
• If you’re looking for a way to give back to our troops stationed overseas, Herobox wants your help.

On Saturday, Dec. 8 Herobox will host its third annual Holiday HeroDay to help pack boxes of specialized care packages to send to Afghanistan in advance of the holiday season. The event will be held at the Tyrone Depot in downtown Tyrone from 6-8 p.m. with dinner served for volunteers.
The task is significant, as organizers hope to pack 1,000 Heroboxes in all that evening. The goal is to send out a total of 5,000 Heroboxes to servicemen and women for the holidays, and Home Depot is pitching in with an event to pack 2,500 boxes with items they already have at the ready.
Herobox is also looking for a few volunteer office workers to help in advance of the event at the office location at 500 Swanson Road, Suite 1, in Tyrone.
Herobox, a non-profit organization, is always on the lookout for a common set of items often requested by our troops overseas.
For more information, visit www.Herobox.org.

• Toys for Teens - Often overlooked during the holidays are the older kids and Toys for Teens aims to make sure they receive some nice gifts at Christmas as well. The Citizen’s office at 310 N. Glynn St. in Fayetteville will be a collection point for new, unwrapped toys and items for ages 10-17.

• Warm Hands, Warm Hearts - The Coldwell Banker office at 201 Prime Point, Peachtree City will be collecting coats, mittens, hats, boots, blankets and bedding over the next couple of weeks to be donated to the community of Breezy Point, NY which was hit hard during Hurricane Sandy.