The holiday season is upon us, and as we make plans to gather with family and celebrate with meals and gifts, let us not forget those that find this time of year to be the most difficult.

I want to encourage you to consider giving to one of the non-profits featured in this column. Each of them serve those in need right here in our community. Some work with victims of abuse, others serve children or adults with disabilities. Some provide for the homeless and working poor, or assist families trying to rebuild their lives.  

When you gather around the table this Thanksgiving, consider asking your family to help you shop for gifts for a victim of child abuse or for children or adults with disabilities. Donate coats, gloves, and scarves for those in need. Help stock a food pantry, or purchase grocery store gift cards so that a family can afford a holiday meal. No matter how you choose to give back this year, please include your entire family. This is a learning experience for children and a special time you can spend together.

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

Be a Secret Santa! For many of the families served by the Child Advocacy Center, the joy of the season is overshadowed by the emotional and financial toll of child abuse. You can help by becoming a Secret Santa for a needy family this year.  

Your generosity helps provide a sense of normalcy for families who have been through so much this past year. There are three ways that you can get involved this holiday season: 1) Sponsor an individual family with holiday gifts for the family and gift cards for food; 2) Sponsor an individual family with a Visa, Walmart or grocery store gift card; or 3) Sponsor the Child Advocacy Center through a special holiday offering or in-kind contribution. Please contact the Child Advocacy Center at (615) 867-9000 to find out how to get involved. 

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

The women in the Doors of Hope program are in need of new or gently-used winter coats and gloves.  Please drop off at their office Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

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

Volunteers needed to assist with the Turkey Collection Drive on Friday, Nov. 22 and to help with the Mobile Food Pantry on Saturday, Nov. 23 from 7:30 a.m. until noon. Contact Ginny at volunteer@greenhousemin.org to participate.

Donations Needed:  warm hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, coats, sweaters, hand/feet warmers, Christmas decorations and toys in good condition with all pieces included. Please bring to their warehouse located at the back of their building on Academy Street, Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

JOURNEYS IN COMMUNITY LIVING   |  journeystn.org  | (615) 890-4389

The 23rd Annual Journeys In Community Living Christmas Heart Tree provides much needed gifts for adults with disabilities in Rutherford and Cannon counties. Each resident has two “needed’ items and one “wish” item in the price range of $25. Stop by, pick up a heart or two, purchase and wrap the gifts for the residents. Donations are also accepted. Contact Rachel with any questions at (615) 890-4289.  Gifts must be delivered by Monday, Dec. 16 to Journeys In Community Living Center, located at 1130 Haley Rd.

MINDFUL CARE ADULT DAY SERVICES  | (615) 542-4371    | mindful-care.org   

The board of Mindful Care Adult Day Services welcomes donations to support its Thanksgiving celebration, Nov.  26, for participants and their caregivers as well as the organization’s hard-working staff. This occasion honors a program that strives to preserve the highest possible quality of life for those afflicted with Alzheimer’s and other compromised memory issues—while providing their caregivers with a much-needed break.  

Please mail checks payable to Mindful Care to P.O. Box 332966, Murfreesboro, TN 37133. 

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

Food Donations needed for the holidays: instant potatoes, pie filling, canned green beans, canned corn, cream of mushroom soup, broth, and canned meats (tuna, chicken, etc.). Please drop off at 1809 Memorial Blvd., Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Contact Jennifer Bass at admin@nourishfoodbank.org for more information. Volunteers are also needed.

READ TO SUCCEED  |  ReadToSucceed.org  |  (615) 738-READ | 415 N. Maple St.

Read To Succeed gladly accepts new and gently-used books age-appropriate for children through young adult. If you would like to donate books, please contact Read To Succeed or stop by its office Tuesday-Thursday from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. 

RUTHERFORD COUNTY SCHOOLS ATLAS PROGRAM 

ATLAS is Rutherford County Schools’ homeless education program. Several organizations provide food bags for these students each weekend. However, additional volunteers are needed to create food bags during the long winter holidays.  

Each food bag contains a variety of shelf-stable items that include fruit, lean proteins and nutritious, kid-friendly foods. Students receive their food bag in a plastic Ziploc bag which is placed in their own book bag. If you would be willing to help, please contact Karen Meador at meadork@rcschools.net.

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

The Salvation Army is in need of volunteers from churches, civic clubs, schools and individuals to take the Red Kettle Challenge by signing up to ring the bell at a Kettle location this year. 

The Kettle Season runs from Nov. 29 to Dec. 24 (Monday–Saturday). That’s 22 days at 25 locations with two five-hour shifts a day from which to choose. The opportunity to help is unlimited and money collected stays local, funding The Salvation Army’s shelter and feeding programs which provided 14,682 nights of lodging and 58,768 meals last year. 

To take the Red Kettle Challenge, contact John at (615) 895-7071 or John.r.mitchell@uss.salvationarmy.org.  

SPECIAL KIDS    |   (615) 893.4892  |  specialkidstn.com

Families caring for children with special needs often face financial burdens and have difficulty affording gifts for the Christmas tree. At Special Kids, the Cornelius Christmas program allows individuals and groups from the community to give back to families who need financial support the most. 

Special Kids is responsible for identifying the families in need and matching them with a community sponsor while keeping everything confidential. Sponsors range from individuals, families, employee groups, and churches who come together to provide for an individual family.

Special Kids is seeking sponsors to adopt families of all sizes and have gifts ready for pick up on December 9 and 10. Those interested in sponsoring can sign-up online at www.specialkidstn.com/cornelius-form or by calling (615)893-4892. Sponsors are encouraged to register by November 15.

Kristina Brown can be reached at kristinawbrown@gmail.com.

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