Kristina Brown

This is the time of year when our thoughts turn to the holidays and celebrating with family and friends. Unfortunately, those gatherings will look and feel different this year as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As you begin to make plans for the days ahead, please consider helping the organizations in our community that provide services for those in need. Many are asking for donations of food, clothing and toys.  Most nonprofits have had to cancel vital fundraising events this year and are in great need of financial assistance. 

If 2020 has taught us anything, it has shown us that our situation can change overnight. Please help wherever and however you can this holiday season.

CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER   |  (615) 867-9000    | cacrutherford.org

Please consider sponsoring a family this year through the Child Advocacy Center. The CAC is a non-profit agency that works with the Department of Children’s Services, law enforcement and the district attorney’s office to respond to child abuse cases, investigate the crime, aggressively prosecute sex offenders, and help children and their families heal from the trauma.

By sponsoring a family, you would purchase holiday gifts for the children. Each child has a wish list of toys and clothing. Grocery gift cards for food for the family are also appreciated. 

Gifts must be delivered to the CAC on Thursday, Dec. 10 or Friday, Dec. 11 between 7:30 a.m.–noon.  Arrangements can also be made to drop off earlier in the week. Gifts should be wrapped and labeled with the child’s name. The gifts need to be individually packaged by family in either boxes or bags and labeled. All toys must be non-violent toys. For information, call (615) 867-9000. 

DOORS OF HOPE   | opendoorsofhope.org | 615-900-0634 | 428 E. Bell St.

Support Doors of Hope while shopping for your Christmas decorations. By purchasing an ornament or Christmas wreath, your donation goes directly toward helping the women it serves.  Ornaments are $10 and the wreaths are $40. 

GREENHOUSE MINISTRIES | greenhousemin.org | (615) 494-0499 | 309 S. Spring St.

More than 600 turkeys are needed this year to distribute during the Thanksgiving Mobile Food Pantry.  Drop off turkeys on Friday, Nov. 20 between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. 

Food, clothing, and toiletry donations needed: Fall/winter clothing (especially coats), sleeping bags, blankets, canned fruit, Hamburger Helper, spaghetti noodles, tomato sauce, pancake mix and syrup, cereal, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and shaving cream.

Garden Patch Thrift Shoppe: Stop by to shop for all of your Christmas items. Proceeds from the store go directly back into the ministry.

Volunteers are needed to serve as personal shoppers, peer counselors and to help with bike repair. If you’re interested, contact volunteer@greenhousemin.org.

THE JOURNEY HOME   | lovegodservepeople.org   | (615) 809-2643 | 308 W. Castle St.

Provide a Food Bag for Thanksgiving: Each bag should include mac and cheese, potatoes, green beans, bread, corn, and turkey or ham. Additionally, sponsors are needed to help families in supportive housing by donating $25 grocery gift cards. Their goal is $1,700.

Clothing Donations Needed: New children’s pajamas, warm gloves for children and adults, undergarments for men and women. Handmade Christmas cards to give to their clients are always appreciated.

Volunteers Needed: A business or group of 8-10 people are needed for the “Third Thursdays Team”.  The group will sponsor the meal by purchasing the food, cooking and serving at the Community Cafe in the Outreach Center. Dec. 17 and beyond is available. Time commitment is around four hours each month.

NOURISH FOOD BANK | nourishfoodbanks.org | 1809 Memorial Blvd.  | (615) 203-3693

Food Donations Needed for Thanksgiving and Christmas: Items needed for 500 families include instant potatoes or potatoes au gratin, cream of mushroom soup, gravy mix, canned yams or sweet potatoes, pie filling, canned pineapple, basic cooking staples (sugar, flour, etc.), chicken broth, canned fried onions and cranberry sauce. 

Volunteers are needed to pack holiday meal bags for November. A group of 5-10 people is needed to pack Thanksgiving meals on Friday, Nov. 13 and another group to pack Christmas bags on Thursday,

Dec.10. Sign up at https://signup.com/Group/408463194062/.

Nourish provides assistance to over 600 families each month.  Food items they always need include canned meats, cereal, oatmeal, breakfast bars, canned chili, ravioli and spaghetti, soup, chicken broth, ramen noodles, rice and dried beans.

There are three locations:  Smyrna (130 Richardson St.; Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and the second and fourth Saturdays of the month (except holidays); Murfreesboro (1809 Memorial Blvd.; Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and Thursday, 3:30-7:30 p.m.; Islamic Center of Murfreesboro (every Saturday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.).

For information, call (615) 203-3963 or go to www.nourishfoodbank.org.

POSSIBILITY PLACE | 521 Old Salem Rd. | (615) 653-3840

The Christmas Possibility Store is a “store” of new, donated items where adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities can purchase gifts for family and friends with “bucks” they earn doing jobs at Possibility Place and in the community.

They get to experience the pride of shopping independently and the joy that comes from giving. These are all life experiences that are denied to many adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Donations Needed for Store:  New gift items for women, such as body wash sets, jewelry, perfume, body sprays, lotions, gift sets, gloves, scarves, hats, and candles.  New gift items for men, such as body spray, gloves, scarves, hats, tool sets, and sports paraphernalia. Also, games, candy, snacks and keychains. Gift cards from Walmart, Target, local restaurants and movie theaters are greatly appreciated.

Volunteers needed to set up and organize the store, shopper’s assistants and helpers to wrap gifts. The Store will be held Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 14-15. 

Items can be dropped off at The Experience Community Church, 521 Old Salem Rd. in Murfreesboro between 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday through Thursday, before Friday, Dec. 4. To arrange drop off, or to volunteer, contact Clare Wood at (615) 653-3840 or at clare.possibilityplace@gmail.com.

READ TO SUCCEED | ReadToSucceed.org | (615) 738-READ

Read To Succeed is looking for gently used children’s books this holiday season. To donate, contact Chatassia Grigsby at familyliteracy@readtosucced.org

SALVATION ARMY |   615-895-7071   | 1137 West Main Street

Red Kettle Challenge: This year bell ringing will be a bit different. Volunteers are needed to ring their bell both online and in the community. The money raised provides about 10% of The Salvations Army’s budget to operate programs. Go to www.SalvationArmyMurfreesboro.org to register a team.

Angel Tree: The Salvation Army Angel Tree will soon have angels ready for adoption. Find information on how to adopt an angel at www.SalvationArmyMurfreesboro.org.

Submit names of organizations and events for the monthly Community Matters column to kristinawbrown@gmail.com.

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