The holiday season is difficult for many, and the pandemic has caused even greater need. Here’s a list of local nonprofits working to make sure everyone has a great holiday season. Please do what you can to help, whether it’s donating money or time. While you’re at it, consider bringing a basket of homemade goodies, fresh fruit or colorful flowers to show your appreciation for the staff and volunteers at these nonprofits.
Adopt a Senior 2021
Cherokee County Senior Services is collecting the following gift items for local seniors: a bath towel set, a $25 grocery gift card and a book of stamps. Please place gifts in a holiday gift bag (no wrapping please). Drop off gifts Mondays-Fridays, Nov. 1-Dec. 6, with a special Saturday drop-off 10 a.m.-noon Dec. 4. Gifts may be taken to the Cherokee County Senior Center, 1001 Univeter Road, in Canton. For more information, call 770-345-3025 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cherokee County Homeless Veterans Program
Cherokee County Homeless Veterans Program is looking for candidates for the Holiday Adopt A Vet program. The focus is to help low-income veterans, those in senior living facilities, as well as homeless veterans this holiday season. If you know of a veteran family in need, or you want to help volunteer for this program, contact Betty Lewis of the American Legion Post 45 Auxiliary, at 770-318-6451.
Items are needed for the program’s annual drives and events, such as 10 bicycles for boys or girls for the Adopt A Vet program. Donors also can drop off gently used winter coats for the annual coat drive, Christmas cards for senior veterans (they do not have to be personalized), toiletries, flashlights with batteries, hand warmers, good gloves, emergency blankets and first aid kits to American Legion Post 45, 160 McClure St., in Canton. To schedule a donation drop-off, contact Jim Lindenmayer at 678-983-7590 or email@example.com.
Cherokee Family Violence Center
Cherokee Family Violence Center has a transitional housing complex, with 72 apartments and an emergency shelter that accommodates 12 women and children affected by domestic violence. The Thanksgiving wish list includes weekly meals through the holidays for shelter residents, canned items (like soups, meats, fruits and vegetables) and over-the-counter medications for cold and flu season. Additional donation items include unscented laundry pods, dishwashing pods, paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, plastic utensils, new pillows, white linens for twin and full beds, white towel sets (washcloths, bath towels and hand towels) and new undergarments for all ages. Contact 770-479-1804, Ext. 101, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cherokee Recreation & Parks Agency
Cherokee Recreation & Parks Agency is collecting items in support of helping seniors in need. Donations will be taken between Nov. 1 and Dec. 15. Donors can bring a new warm blanket and new slipper socks to the recreation center at 7545 Main St., Building 200, in Woodstock. For more information, contact Bailey Johnson at email@example.com or 770-924-7768.
The 29th annual event, on Nov. 25, is open to everyone. Organizers are partnering with Williamson Brothers Bar-B-Q in Canton to serve approximately 2,600 free meals, by delivery or pickup, in Cherokee and Pickens counties. Local area emergency service personnel, as well as area hospital emergency staff, receive dinners. Visit the website to reserve meals for delivery or pickup on Thanksgiving Day, sign up to volunteer as a meal delivery driver or food prep assistant, or make a monetary donation.
The Children’s Haven
This nonprofit promotes the health and happiness of children in Cherokee affected by abuse. The group works to ensure their safety, advocate on their behalf and respond to meet their needs. Holiday needs include Christmas/holiday/winter-themed pajamas (sizes newborn to teen), as well as gift cards for Target, Kohl’s, Best Buy and similar stores. Volunteers always are needed to assist in the Caregiver’s Closet. Items can be dropped off at 1083 Marietta Highway in Canton. 770-345-3274.
Encompass Ministries and its food pantry offer year-round food and stability, as well as life-skills training assistance. Special holiday needs: donations of turkeys, ham and nonperishable food items. A list of the top 10 food needs is kept up-to-date on the website. Tax-deductible donations also are accepted on the website. For more details, call 770-591-4730.
Forever Fed hosts drive-through food pantries and clothes closets in outdoor settings every month. Donations of non-perishable foods always are needed. For a complete list of events and volunteer opportunities, check the website. If your organization would like to support us with a food drive or coat and blanket drive, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 678-883-3314.
Goshen Valley Foundation
Goshen Valley Boys Ranch attempts to provide a memorable Christmas experience for foster children, with the community’s help. This includes building traditions, talking about the true meaning of Christmas, as well as fulfilling young people’s wants and needs through gift giving, to teach them that they are loved. With 42 kids to purchase gifts for, Goshen Valley relies on the generosity of the community to fulfill these wishes. A list of gifts has been compiled on Amazon through a charity wishlist. For details, visit http://goshenwishlist.org, email Executive Director Stacy Cooper at email@example.com or call 770-796-4618 for a clickable link to view gifts the boys have requested.
MUST Ministries — Cherokee
The MUST Ministries Thanksgiving Food Box Program long has been a source of help and hope to those living in poverty in Cherokee County. To help your neighbors in need, MUST is collecting donations of canned green beans, corn, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes. Also requested are boxes or packets of mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, cornbread, stuffing and gravy mixes (no glass please). Additionally, monetary donations for frozen pies are needed. Nonperishable items can be dropped off 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. through Nov. 12, and Christmas toy donations can be dropped off through Dec. 2 (see the list of items needed). Drop-offs are at MUST’s Canton location at 111 Brown Industrial Parkway. Please call Maurice Speaks at 770-721-2924 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MUST Ministries Christmas toy needs include:
• Jewelry and watches
• Adult coloring books and colored pencils
• Sports equipment (balls, gloves, bat, skateboard)
• Makeup kits
• Calligraphy sets
• Hair dryers/flat iron
• Cologne/perfume/bath sets
• Purses, wallets and belts
Toys for Ages 0-12
• Educational toys
• Helmets and large bikes
• Ethnic baby and Barbie dolls
• Jackets and scarves
• Hats and gloves
• Hot Wheels tracks
The food pantry is seeking partners to help fight hunger in our community. The pantry provides more than 126,100 meals to approximately 800 households each month. Never Alone’s partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank allows it to purchase food at greatly discounted prices. Consider making a tax deductible donation online at www.NeverAlone.org, or by check, made payable to and mailed to: Never Alone Outreach, P.O. Box 1904, Woodstock, GA 30188.
Operation Christmas Child
Representatives will be collecting donations of filled shoeboxes Nov. 15-22, but collection may look a little different this year. Check the website for updates on locations in the area that will be accepting shoeboxes, including RiverStone Church and Ellison & Ellison Co. in Kennesaw, and for directions on donating or filling a virtual shoebox.
The Secret Santa program of the Department of Family and Children’s Services of Cherokee County offers a way for individuals, businesses, schools, churches or groups such as Sunday school classes or Boy and Girl Scout troops, to help the more than 375 children in foster care this year. Sponsors can be matched with specific children or collect speciality items needed to service the program. All levels of contributions are accepted. All size donations are appreciated. For more details, call the Secret Santa phone line at 470-333-8673.