Helping hands for the holidays

There are plenty of ways to give back this holiday season.


Opportunities include gift-giving for children, bell ringing for The Salvation Army, food drives for the hungry, and sending holiday mail to servicemen and women.

Here's a sampling to get you started:

WHITE CHRISTMAS: Get a Christmas wish list from an area child in need, then spend $40-$60 on gifts for that child. Drop the gifts off at at Augusta Urban Ministries by Dec. 7. Call (706) 722-8195.

TOYS FOR TOTS: The Marine Corps collects and distributes toys to needy children. To find a dropoff location, see

ADOPT A FAMILY: The Broad Street Ministry Center has already delivered its Thanksgiving food, but is looking for volunteers to adopt families who need Christmas gifts. You may also give a $25 donation, which will pay for a meal box for a family. Call (706) 722-5999 or fill out the form at

HOLIDAY MAIL FOR HEROS: The American Red Cross sends cards to service members and veterans. Mail up to 15 signed cards addressed “Dear Service Member, Family or Veteran” to Holiday Mail for Heroes, P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456 by Dec. 7. Call (706) 724-8481 or see

CHRISTMAS TOY SHOP: Adult volunteers are needed to help families through The Salvation Army’s Toy Shop, where toys, stockings and groceries are served to families. More than 2,449 families were helped last year. Call (706) 364-4061.

ADOPT-A-KETTLE:. Volunteers are needed to adopt kettles, which fund programs of The Salvation Army. Call (706) 364-4061.

FILL A STOCKING: The Salvation Army provides more than 3,000 children with stockings. The stockings are filled with items such as candy, pencils, coloring books, toys, socks, toiletries and other small gifts.

ADOPT AN ANGEL: Pick up a tag from the Augusta Mall’s Christmas tree after Thanksgiving or by calling the Salvation Army at (706) 364-4061. Each tag includes the child's gender, age, clothing size and a wish gift. More than 1,000 are up for “adoption” this Christmas.

DONATE A COAT OR BLANKET: Both the Broad Street Ministry Center and the Salvation Army collect coats and blankets to distribute. Call (706) 722-5999 to contact the ministry center, or (706) 364-4061 for the Salvation Army.

GIVE A HEATER: ACTS of Aiken’s annual heater and utility drive uses $40 donations to keep people in need warm this winter. Call (803) 649-3800 or see

STUFF-A-TRUCK EVENTS: Golden Harvest Food Bank and the Salvation Army hold this event seeking nonperishable food items and toys twice next month: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Walmart at 1201 Knox Ave. in North Augusta; and 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 18 at the Wal-Mart at 260 Bobby Jones Expressway in Martinez.

DONATE FOOD: Several organizations accept food donations. See for a list of ongoing food drives at the Golden Harvest Food Bank or contact Carrie Jones at (706) 736-1199, ext. 217, to set up a food drive. Donate to GAP Ministries, a coalition of Christian churches, by calling (706) 722-4408. Donate to the Community Ministry of North Augusta by calling (803) 279-5771.

SORT DONATED FOOD: The Golden Harvest Food Bank needs volunteer groups of 10 to 20 people, ages 13 and up, for help on Saturdays sorting donated products. For information or to reserve a time, call Laurie Harmon at (706) 736-1199, ext. 208.

EMPTY STOCKING FUND: The Augusta Chronicle's Empty Stocking Fund has provided food and clothing for area families since 1930. Donate at or mail to The Augusta Chronicle's Empty Stocking Fund, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928. Applications are available in the lobby of the Augusta Chronicle news building, 725 Broad St., from 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday - Friday. The application deadline is Dec. 4.



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