The holiday season is difficult for many, and the pandemic has caused even greater need. Here’s a list of local nonprofits working to make sure everyone has a great holiday season. Please do what you can to help, whether it’s donating money or time. While you’re at it, consider bringing a basket of homemade goodies, fresh fruit or colorful flowers to show your appreciation for the staff and volunteers at these nonprofits.
Acworth Police Department Christmas Shoppe
Every year, the Acworth Police Department invites parents in need to come and select holiday gifts for their children at the station’s Christmas Shoppe. The community can assist the Christmas Shoppe by donating new, unwrapped toys and clothes for school-aged children. Donations can be dropped off at the police department anytime before Dec. 15. 770-974-1232, Ext. 1115.
Encompass Ministries and its food pantry offer year-round food and stability, as well as life-skills training assistance. Special holiday needs: donations of turkeys, ham and nonperishable food items. A list of the top 10 food needs is kept up-to-date on the website. Tax-deductible donations also are accepted on the website. For more details, call 770-591-4730.
The Center for Family Resources
The center has a goal of providing 1,000 boxes of food for local families for Thanksgiving week. Register to be a Smart Stuffer Packing Partner; each box costs $50-$60 and contains traditional holiday foods as well as staples such as cereal, peanut butter and jelly, pasta and beans. Another option is to become a Thanks for Giving 2021 sponsor, which helps underwrite the costs of the holiday campaign, as well as providing gift cards. 770-428-2601.
Cobb Christmas Stuff-A-Bus
Help the Stuff-A-Bus program brighten the holidays for local children in need by donating new toys, food or monetary contributions to Cobb Christmas, a nonprofit, nondenominational organization that helps low-income families during the holidays. It is 100% run by volunteers, so all donations go directly to help the community. Cobb Christmas provides a minimum of three age-appropriate toys to each child, ages infant-15. Families go through a qualification process. Check the website to find a donation location near you, or drop off donations 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 8-10 at the IAM Lodge 709 (1032 S. Marietta Pkwy., Marietta).
Cobb Senior Services
Brighten the holidays for senior clients who won’t receive gifts or visits from family during the season. Senior Santa 2021 will help current clients. Cobb Senior Services is not accepting new clients for the program at this time. Ways to help include:
• Adopt a senior. Purchase items from a local senior’s wish list, and drop them off at the senior services office by Nov. 19.
• Donate gift cards. Cards for Kroger, Publix, Walmart and Target allow seniors to purchase much-needed items and should be dropped off by Nov. 19.
• Make a monetary donation. Donate funds at https://bit.ly/3plqxuR.
For more information or to receive a wish list, call Andrea Rapowitz at 770-528-1445.
Family Promise Cobb County
www.family promise cobb county.org
Family Promise serves housing insecure families with children, by providing shelter through community faith partnerships. While the family has shelter, the day center staff stays busy working to help the adults find jobs, learn budgeting, connect with benefits and services that will help them. Donations of gas cards and Walmart, Publix, Kroger or Target gift cards are requested to help the families being served. Donations of new bed pillows, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, paper towels and toilet paper are always needed.
Goshen Valley Foundation
Goshen Valley Boys Ranch attempts to provide a memorable Christmas experience for foster children, with the community’s help. This includes building traditions, talking about the true meaning of Christmas, as well as fulfilling young people’s wants and needs through gift giving, to teach them that they are loved. With 42 kids to purchase gifts for, Goshen Valley relies on the generosity of the community to fulfill these wishes. A list of gifts has been compiled on Amazon through a charity wishlist. For details, visit http://goshenwishlist.org, email Executive Director Stacy Cooper at email@example.com or call 770-796-4618 for a clickable link to view gifts the boys have requested.
The Hope Box
The Hope Box, a nonprofit dedicated to rescuing abandoned babies and toddlers, needs donations via gift cards to Walmart, CVS and Target to cover the costs of car seats and other needs of mothers and infants in crisis. Mail gift cards to 3330 Cobb Parkway, Suite 324/180, Acworth, GA 30101. For more information, call 770-765-6301.
KSU CARE Services
The Campus Awareness, Resource & Empowerment (CARE) Services office offers program support to students who are experiencing homelessness, food insecurity and/or the foster care system. Monetary donations to the fund can make a huge difference in the lives of students, and their academic careers. There is an online shopping gift list for granting holiday wishes to students within this special population. For details, contact CARES at firstname.lastname@example.org or 470-KSU-5260.
The MUST Ministries Thanksgiving Food Box Program long has been a source of help and hope to those living in poverty. To help your neighbors in need, MUST is collecting donations of canned green beans, corn, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes. Also requested are boxes or packets of mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, cornbread, stuffing and gravy mixes (no glass please). Monetary donations for turkeys and frozen pies are the most helpful. The Donation Center can accept donations of non-perishable items Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at the MUST Ministries Donation Center located at 1280 Field Parkway, Marietta, GA 30066. For more information, email Gabe Fleming at email@example.com.
NorthStar Church Bags of Kindness
The NorthStar Church November Big Give is the annual Bags of Kindness giveaway. Pick up a NorthStar grocery bag Nov. 7 at the church; then, fill it with the items on the shopping list inside the bag. Return bags to NorthStar Church Nov. 14, 9 a.m.-noon. The bags, filled with items needed for a Thanksgiving meal, will be given to families in need, referred by local school social workers. Visit https://bit.ly/3b2TweQ to download the shopping list.
Operation Christmas Child
Representatives will be collecting donations of filled shoeboxes Nov. 15-22, but collection may look a little different this year. Check the website for updates on locations in the area that will be accepting shoeboxes, including RiverStone Church and Ellison & Ellison Co. in Kennesaw, and for directions on donating or filling a virtual shoebox.
Simple Needs GA
The Spirit of Christmas program helps school- and agency-referred families who were unable to register for other local programs, such as the MUST Toy Shop, Cobb Christmas and Toys for Tots. Volunteer opportunities include buying requested presents, wrapping gifts, making deliveries, sorting and organizing and more. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots is a national program started by the Marine Corps. Toys for Tots collects new, unwrapped toys year round to distribute to children in need during the holiday season as a way of spreading joy to the less fortunate. Visit the website for the most updated list of collection sites in Acworth.