Helping Locally at the Holidays

stock gourds

Seasonal Holiday Giving

Between the holidays and the search for year-end tax deductions, November and December are big months for donations.

However, in our rush to get through the “to-do” list, we may go through the motions of giving without taking the time to stop and teach the lesson of generosity to our children. Giving food and toys are the typical ways families give at the holidays. GoodLiving® has these suggestions to reach out a little further this season and through the year.

Vulnerable Children

Children in Foster Care. Our community has an ongoing waiting list of thousands of children who need to be placed in foster homes, either temporarily or permanently. Consider welcoming a foster child into your home in 2016. Eckerd Community Alternatives manages foster care in our county and they constantly need supplies for children from infants to teenagers who are removed from their homes through no fault of their own. Many times they leave with very little and rely on community generosity for the basics like toothbrushes and pajamas.

Teach children to have compassion for a child of the same gender and age by talking about how it must feel to be alone and frightened. Children in early elementary grades are able to comprehend this, so encourage them to hold a school drive for new pajamas, age appropriate hygiene items, small suitcases or duffel bags or stuffed animals. A group of motivated children can be empowered to make a big impact. Individually, a family can also do a shopping trip where each child in the family chooses items to donate to a foster child that is the same age and gender. Take them with you to the drop off location and let them bring it in so they can see the benefit of their efforts.

Drop Off Sites
Eckerd Community Alternatives
8550 Ulmerton Road, Ste. 130
Largo, Florida 33771

Eckerd Support Center
100 Starcrest Drive
Clearwater, FL 33765

Home Banc
2046 Bayshore Blvd.
Dunedin, FL 34698
Tropical Scooters
11594 Seminole Blvd
Largo, FL 33778
To coordinate pick-up or drop off, call (855) 450-4673.

Helping moms with babies.

Looking for a different kind of helping opportunity this season? Donate diapers and other baby supplies to moms right here in our community through Babycycle. This organization gets the needed items right into the hands of the moms who need supplies. They don’t believe that any mom should choose between food and a clean diaper for the baby. Rally moms at your childcare center or place of worship and do a Diaper Donation Day for the holidays.

Donate diapers and wipes to Babycycle. Serving Pinellas County families. BabycycleFL.org

Children with Serious Illnesses

Make the holiday season and 2016 brighter by helping an organization that serves children with illnesses.

All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg has an ongoing need for toys, from infants through teenagers. For health reasons, only new toys can be accepted. Cheer up children in the hospital this season by collecting toys to do donate. Here’s a short list of some toys to buy: teething toys, stacking toys, puzzles, Little People sets, kid books, board games, dolls, coloring books, craft kits, action figures and teen novels. Drop off toys at the All Children’s Hospital Lobby, 501 6th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

Ronald McDonald House Charities in St. Petersburg serves the families of children who are staying at All Children’s Hospital. The holiday season can be especially difficult for families away from home, so there are many ways to brighten their days. Their food kitchens are always in need of fresh and non-perishable food items. Packaged holiday treats are a nice addition to the season. They accept unwrapped gifts for kids of all ages who are the siblings staying at the houses with the parents. They especially need boy toys. Consider some new release movie DVDs or $10 gift cards for restaurants, gas stations, Target or Wal-Mart, iTunes or Amazon. They also accept gift wrapping supplies to help them with gift giving.

Deliver to any of the St. Petersburg Ronald McDonald Houses
East House 401 7th Ave S St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Central House 601 5th St S St. Petersburg, FL 33701
West House Manager 702 8th Ave S, St Petersburg, FL 33701

The Older Generation

Many seniors are alone during the holidays. They can be in your neighborhood, in your place of worship, in the local assisted living facility or a nursing home.

Talk with friends and family to discuss how you can brighten the season for the elderly in your area. Get a group of children together and make holiday greeting cards and crafts to deliver. Arrange for a caroling group to sing. Collect money from friends to purchase socks and blankets to deliver as gifts. Deliver cookies or other goodies to the folks in your neighborhood to show them that someone cares.

 

Be a Santa to a Senior
Visit a Beall’s Outlet Store in the county to select a gift idea off their angel tree for a local senior citizen who may not receive any gifts or cards at Christmas. Local businesses work with Home Instead Senior Care to identify local need and deliver the gifts.
BeaSantatoaSenior.com and search your zip code for closest location.

The Homeless and Hungry

Giving money to Salvation Army, the Homeless Emergency Project or other homeless outreach projects is a big help. Volunteer to work at Metropolitan Ministries or another food serving program as a way to teach children the value of what they have. Collect food items and feed our food banks like RCS Food Bank, not only in December but through the year ahead. See our list of places in Pinellas County to give.

Additionally, we have school children in every part of the county who get their meals primarily served at school. There are three organizations locally that work with local churches and organizations to collect food and pack backpacks for holiday breaks and weekends.

Each of these organizations is need of constant support to keep the food flowing to thousands of hungry children right here in our county. Help them get through the winter holiday break and then continue into 2016!

Go to the TheKindMouse.org for information on how to donate food
Support Pack a Sack 4 Kids. Contact Lewis Hill at hill0635@aol.com for information on how to donate food
Beth Dillinger Foundation’s Nourish to Flourish. Make a cash donation at BethDillinger.org

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Written by Pamela Settle, owner of Light Shine Media Group and publisher of GoodLiving® Magazine. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced without permission.

GoodLiving Magazine® is printed six times a year for families in Pinellas County, Florida, home to municipalities including Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Largo and St. Petersburg. The densest county in Florida, population is near 1 Million people. Past issues are available for viewing digitally on the website.

As an advocate for children and families, Pamela Settle serves as the local committee chairperson for The Children’s Movement of Florida, a non-partisan advocacy organization that works on behalf of the well being of children throughout the State of Florida.

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