Sunday, November 30, 2008
How to help during the holidays
JUSTIN COOK The Roanoke Times
Blacksburg High School student Minoka Gunesekera counts boxes of food to be delivered to families as part of a student council project. Minoka is also working on the DECA club's "Home for the Holidays" project, an effort that provides nutritious breakfast and lunch foods to 175 reduced-price and free lunch students during the winter break.
JUSTIN COOK The Roanoke Times
Mary Cook and Carol Fox sort through books donated by Barnes & Noble shoppers at the Montgomery County Christmas Store. "It's like Christmas for us, too, every time we get a book," Fox says.
Courtesy of the Christiansburg Lions Club
Shoppers choose among the many crafts on sale at the Lions Club Holiday Craft Show in 2006.
Courtesy of Ann Walker
Radford Elf Shelf volunteers provide new toys and gifts for children of income-eligible families.
Radford Elf Shelf
Now in its 15th year, Radford Elf Shelf volunteers provide new toys and gifts for children of income-eligible Radford families, as well as a SHARE food box for every eligible Radford family.
This year's toy distribution is Dec. 12-13, at which time parents have appointed times to come to the distribution site and select gifts for their children. Each gift has a point value roughly equivalent to dollar value and 35 points are allowed for each child. New books are a bonus item and each parent selects one or two for each child.
The SHARE food distribution portion is Dec. 19. Any income-eligible Radford family can sign up and receive a SHARE package for the month of December.
Last year, Radford Elf Shelf provided toys and gifts to 328 children and SHARE food packages to 188 Radford families.
n How to donate: Toy donations are being collected at all the local Radford banks, many local churches, Radford High School and Dalton Middle School. Monetary donations can be mailed to Radford Elf Shelf, P.O. Box 358, Radford, VA 24143.
n More information: 639-9266 or email@example.com
Be a Santa to a Senior
The 2007 campaign delivered more than 250 gifts to local needy seniors.
Again this year, area retailers and agencies that serve older adults have partnered with local senior-care services to make sure that isolated seniors receive gifts and companionship through the program, which runs through Dec. 19.
Christmas trees in Wal-Mart bear ornaments with the first names only of the seniors and their respective gift requests. Holiday shoppers can pick up an ornament, buy items on the list and return them unwrapped to the store, along with the ornament attached. Home Instead Senior Care then collects, wraps and distributes the gifts to these seniors.
n How to donate: Look for special Christmas trees at Wal-Mart, select and ornament and buy that gift. To volunteer your time, contact Debbie Witt at 230-3160.
n More information: beasantatoasenior.com
Southland Log Homes
Southland Log Homes is participating in the "Be a Santa to a Senior" program. The company has set up a tree covered with ornaments containing holiday requests from local seniors at its model home in Christiansburg, next to Cracker Barrel.
n How to donate: Choose an ornament from the tree, buy the requested gift and return it unwrapped to the office.
n More information: Ronnie Tynan, 268-2243
Montgomery County Christmas Store
The Montgomery County Christmas Store is an all-volunteer, community nonprofit that assists low-income families in Montgomery County during the holiday season by providing a shopping experience characterized by choice and dignity. This year's shopping begins Dec. 9.
n How to donate: The store needs gently used winter clothes, jeans and coats, as well as any new clothing, household or toy items. Bring them to the store at 30 W. Main St. in Christiansburg. Cash donations are accepted by mail to P.O. Box 221, Blacksburg VA 24063.
n More information: mcchristmasstore.org
Barnes & Noble
For the third year, Barnes & Noble customers and booksellers are being encouraged to buy new books for children ages newborn to 10 to benefit children served by the Montgomery County Christmas Store. Last year, customers and booksellers purchased more than 1,200 new books for the Christmas Store.
n How to donate: Customers can come into Barnes & Noble's Christiansburg store, select a favorite book or choose from a selection of books at any register for purchase.
n More information: 381-4923
Daughters of the American Revolution
The Alleghany Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution in Blacksburg will collect boxes of extra-nice Christmas cards to be sent to wounded soldiers in a German hospital via Project Patriot.
A group of 90 people will write messages on the cards for the men and women in the hospital who do not receive anything for the holidays.
n How to donate: Drop off unsigned boxed cards from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Thursday at the German Club Manor on Southgate Drive on the Virginia Tech campus or anytime at the lobby of the Sycamore Deli at 310 Turner St. in Blacksburg.
n More information: Joan Allen, 953-1385
Love Light Tree
Good Samaritan Hospice celebrates the lives of loved ones each year through its "Love Light Tree" program at the New River Valley Mall in Christiansburg.
For a $10 donation, you may sponsor a "love light" in honor or memory of someone. That person's name is placed on the tree. For $25, you can also receive a porcelain ornament for your own tree or as a gift to someone you designate.
Proceeds benefit terminally ill patients in the Roanoke and New River valleys. The New River Valley Mall tree, near the Belk store, will be lit at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
n How to donate: A donation form is available at the mall, by calling 381-3171 or by going online to www.goodsamhospice.org.
n More information: 381-3171
Home for the Holidays
The Blacksburg High School chapter of the DECA club is sponsoring its second annual "Home for the Holidays" project, an effort that provides nutritious breakfast and lunch foods to 175 reduced-price and free lunch students during the winter break.
Each package contains four sleeves of Ritz crackers, a 15-ounce box of cereal, 10 granola bars, an 18-ounce jar of peanut butter, a 6-cup jar of applesauce, a box of Pop-Tarts, a 14-ounce box of graham crackers and a box of fruit snacks.
This year's project is being done in memory of Ayesha Wintersdorff, a 17 year-old DECA officer who died in a car wreck this summer.
n How to donate: Make a $17 donation to the effort or provide a grocery bag with the items listed above at the high school by Monday.
n More information: Kim Radford, 951-5706
Montgomery Regional Hospital operating room staff
Staff in the operating room at Montgomery Regional Hospital are assembling care packages to send to soldiers in two units stationed in Iraq.
n How to donate: Bring nonperishable snacks, personal care items and books and puzzles by Tuesday to Dee Hawthorne at the hospital.
n More information: Dee Hawthorne, 953-5374 or 320-1065
Giles County Biker Toy Run
Now in its fifth year, the ride sponsored by the National Bank, the Pembroke Police Department, Ronnie Lang, College Motors and B&H Trikes collects unwrapped toys for local children. Santa leads his merry riders along the route from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 7. The snow date is Dec. 14.
Stops, in order, are: Hilltop Grocery in Newport, Dollar General in Pembroke, Dollar General in Pearisburg, MacArthur Inn in Narrows, Dollar General in Rich Creek and Neighborhood Exxon in Glen Lyn.
n How to donate: Bring an unwrapped toy to donate to one of the stops or come along for the ride.
n More information: Billy Bowles, 626-7213, or Jan Bailey, 599-2775
Christiansburg Lions Club
The Christiansburg Lions Club is encouraging its members to donate to the Montgomery County Emergency Assistance Program and will match donations up to $500.
Of course, the club cannot match public donations but encourages others to donate to this worthy cause that gets bombarded with requests this time of the year.
The Lions Club also hosts an annual craft show, the proceeds of which are used to help residents who are hearing or sight impaired and qualify for assistance. This year's show is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Christiansburg Recreation Center.
n More information: Allan Burke, club president, 382-1452
NRV Prison Outreach Center
Valley Harvest Ministries in Dublin is working with the NRV Prison Outreach Center to provide gifts for the children of inmates at the New River Valley Regional Jail and the Montgomery County Jail. Residents are asked to provide a child's gift that costs between $15 and $20.
n How to donate: Pick up an angel at the back of the sanctuary, leave the tracking card on the table and return the wrapped gift by Dec. 7.
n More information: Sharon Webb, 599-5160 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bells for Kids
Taco Bell hosts this annual fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of the New River Valley. Customers at Taco Bells in Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Dublin and Fairlawn can buy paper bells for $1. Last year, the restaurants helped to raise about $5,000 for the nonprofit.
n How to donate: Customers can buy paper bells for $1
n More information: Amanda Melniczek, 260-3481 or at email@example.com
Searching for that perfect gift? It might be closer to home than you think.
Volunteers from across the New River Valley are working to make the lives of others a little brighter during the holidays. Your help is always needed -- and if you're searching for something for that hard-to-shop-for person, try making a donation to a good cause in his or her name.
Here are just a few of the ways you can help locally: