By: Rachel Pillow
During the holidays it is easy to get caught up in the frenzy of shopping, decorating, dinners and parties. It is a season of overindulgence, of spending too much money and eating too many cookies. But, it can also be a season of giving – to those who do not have the means to overindulge…or indulge at all. Below you will find 6 ways to give back and help those in need in our community. Whether it is through a holiday meal, Christmas gift, warm blanket or helping hand, these are simple ways to make a difference in someone’s life this season.
- Prepare a meal for homeless women & children with Family Promise of Gwinnett. Family Promise of Gwinnett has a short-term (night to night) emergency homeless shelter called SaltLight Center, specifically for women and children. They are in need of volunteers who can prepare meals for up to 14 people or can spend the evening as a “host” to get families situated and show them around the facility. They also have a recovery sustainability program for homeless families that houses 4 families at a time for 30-60 days. If you are interested in donating, they are also in need of “graduate gifts” for families who go through the recovery program. These are usually small household appliances or everyday items such as laundry baskets, kitchen utensils, towels, etc. For more information visit familypromiseofgwinnett.org.
- Deliver blankets, hats and gloves to homeless people in Atlanta with Project Live Love. It is estimated that over 20 homeless people die each year in Atlanta from sleeping in the freezing cold. Project Live Love is dedicated to changing that through their program, Three-Oh-We-Go. All throughout the winter season, when temperatures drop below freezing, a team of volunteers meet and divide up routes & supplies and take to the streets with blankets, hats, gloves, hand warmers and winter items. You can join by signing up for the GO-alarms to be alerted when a team is going out, by texting the word “ALARM” to 63566. Volunteers need to be at least 9 years old and anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. You may also make a donation to this project to go towards the purchase of winter items by visiting projectlivelove.com.
- Be a Santa to a Senior Citizen with Friends of Gwinnett County Senior Services. Did you know that Gwinnett County has the 2nd largest senior population in the State? These senior citizens need assistance and companionship throughout the year: whether it is help with transportation to and from appointments/errands or help with yard work and home maintenance. But, during this time of year you can especially brighten their holiday season by helping put together over 800 Christmas gift bags that will be delivered to seniors in the community. If you are interested in hosting an angel tree and collection box, contact Gerry Serotte: Gerry_serotte@mindspring.com, or 770-265-9332. If you are interested in sponsoring, either through cash or in-kind donation, contact Gary Galloway, firstname.lastname@example.org or 678-377-3020. If you would like to volunteer to assemble or deliver gift bags, contact Carolyn Kim, email@example.com or 678-377-6716.
- Give a Thanksgiving meal to a hungry family in the community with Daily Bread for All. Daily Bread for All runs a Food Pantry that provides food for local homeless shelters as well as monthly groceries to impoverished families in the community. They are specifically asking for Thanksgiving food donations including: whole turkeys, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pies, yams, dressing, bread rolls, cranberry sauce and other traditional Thanksgiving food items. You may drop off the food at their Norcross location or schedule a pickup. Visit dailybreadforall.us for more information.
- Give a holiday meal and gifts to families in need with The Quinn House. Each year Quinn House assembles and distributes roughly 500 Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets to those in need throughout Gwinnett. They also serve a traditional meal for the program residents, their families and staff. You may also sponsor a child or family to ensure that they have gifts to open on Christmas morning. Contact 770-962-0470 to get involved or visit the quinnhouse.com
- Sponsor a child for Christmas or feed a family with North Gwinnett Co-Op. North Gwinnett Co-Op is dedicated to serving families and individuals in need throughout Suwanee, Buford and Sugar Hill. During the holiday season, you may sponsor a child by providing: a winter coat (if needed), a set of pajamas, one outfit for school or church, one pair of shoes and a toy (not to exceed $30). You may also help feed a family during the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) by providing a complete meal box or donating $50 towards the contents of a meal box. For holiday volunteer shifts, a list of meal box items and other needs, visit northgwinnettcoop.org.