Around the block

Toy Giveaway

The annual James Brown Toy Giveaway is teaming up with Toys for Tots and the Marine Corps this year. Registration is required to receive toys for children.

Registration will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at James Brown Arena. Parents must bring their identification, Social Security number for each child and proof of the date of birth for each child they register. The child does not have to be present at registration but must be present at the toy giveaway.

Summer Explosion

Applications are being accepted for kindergarten through eighth grades for Summer Explosion 2011 at Beulah Grove Community Resource Center. Applications are available at bgcrcenter.org. (706) 722-4999.

Essay contest

The Bill of Rights Institute, a nonprofit educational organization, is holding an essay contest for students in grades 9-12 who are U.S. citizens or legal residents and attending school or participating in a general educational development diploma or correspondence school program. Participants must be 19 or younger. Military bases are invited to participate.

The deadline for submission is Wednesday. Visit www.beinganamerican.org for more information and contest guidelines.

Veterans benefit

The new deadline for a stop-loss benefit for veterans is Dec. 3.

Service members who had their enlistment extended or retirement suspended due to stop loss are eligible for the special pay if they served on active duty between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009.

Service members must provide documented proof they were stop lossed.

Contact: Army -- www.stoplosspay.army.mil or e-mail RetroStopLossPay@CONUS.Army.Mil; Navy -- e-mail NXAG_N132C@navy.mil; Marine Corps -- www.manpower.usmc.mil/stoploss or e-mail stoploss@usmc.mil; Air Force -- www.afpc.randolph.af.mil/stoploss/ to file a claim.

Helping Shoppe

A fundraiser for the nonprofit Shoppe 3130 will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at The Well, 1285B Broad St.

The benefit is being held by Shoppe 3130, which helps women escape poverty, and Stella, A Salon and Spa.

Call (706) 664-3547.

Shoe collection

Augusta area podiatrists and Georgia Podiatric Medical Association are sponsoring a shoe collection for the homeless.

Take donations of new or used shoes to an Augusta podiatrist's office through Jan. 7. All types of shoes are needed, regardless of size, condition or type.

Tax assistance

The Augusta area AARP Tax-Aide Program is accepting applications to prepare income tax returns for low- and middle-income taxpayers, with special focus on those ages 60 and over.

All AARP Tax-Aide services are free and preparatory training and equipment are free to volunteers. Computer skills and a general knowledge of tax requirements are a must for volunteers.

For more information, call District Recruiter Lee Lane at (706) 736-6934 or visit www.aarp.org/taxaide.

Advocates needed

Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services is seeking volunteer advocates. Volunteers are needed in Richmond, Burke, Jefferson and McDuffie counties. Advocates must be able to respond to hospitals in their area within 30 minutes.

Contact Dinah at volunteerrcsas@uh.org or (706) 774-2746.

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