Many of our friends and neighbors struggle financially every day, and the holiday season is especially difficult. As Christmas approaches, the needs among local nonprofits have increased as the directors and volunteers are working to make sure everyone has a great holiday season. Here’s a list of organizations devoted to helping others. Please do what you can to help, whether it’s donating money or time.
Adopt a Senior 2022
Cherokee County Senior Services is collecting the following gift items for local seniors: a new bed sheet set, a $25 grocery gift card, a book of stamps and other nonperishable items, such as toiletries, word searches, candy, etc. Please place gifts in a holiday gift bag (no wrapping please). Gift drop-off is 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, through Dec. 2, and a special Saturday drop-off is 10 a.m.-noon Dec. 3. 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 eighth annual Holiday Adopt a Vet program. The focus is on helping 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 Jim Lindenmayer at 678-983-7590 or email@example.com. 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, or call or text Betty Lewis at 770-318-6451.
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 Christmas 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 for the Hugs in a Blanket campaign will be taken through Dec. 14. Donors can bring a new warm blanket and new slipper socks to the recreation center, during regular business hours, at 7545 Main St., Building 200, in Woodstock. For more information, contact Jessica Hallman at email@example.com or 770-924-7768.
Cherokee Secret Santa
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 678-235-5519.
The 30th annual event, on Nov. 24, was open to everyone. Organizers partnered with Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q in Canton to serve more than 2,000 free meals, by delivery and pickup, in Cherokee and Pickens counties. Volunteers are needed beyond Thanksgiving, to help coordinate fundraising, expand the website, organize volunteers and create more awareness for the nonprofit.
The Children’s Haven
This nonprofit promotes the health and happiness of children in Cherokee affected by abuse and neglect. 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, a mobile food ministry, hosts multiple food pantries a month in outdoor settings. There are many opportunities to partner with the nonprofit in building up our community with compassion: volunteer, donate nonperishable foods, send a financial gift or even hold a food drive. For a complete list of events and volunteer opportunities, visit the website.
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, teaching 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 the Amazon website through a charity wish list. For details, visit http://goshenwishlist.org, email Executive Director Stacy Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 770-796-4618 for a link to view gifts the boys have requested.
The Hope Box
The Hope Box, a nonprofit dedicated to rescuing abandoned babies and toddlers, needs donations via gift cards for Walmart and Target to cover the costs of car seats and other needs of mothers and infants in crisis. Mail gift cards to 3330 Cobb Parkway, Suite 324-180, Acworth, GA 30101. For more information, call 770-765-6301.
Meals for Woodstock
Hot cooked meals are provided for free by donations and volunteers, 4-6 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of the month at Vingenzo’s on East Main Street in downtown Woodstock. Other restaurants are encouraged to get involved in the community collaboration by contacting the Woodstock Office of Economic Development. To support the effort with a monetary contribution, visit the website; 100% of funds raised goes to the purchase of food for the program. To volunteer, visit https://bit.ly/3SWEef3 or email email@example.com.
MUST Ministries — Cherokee
MUST Ministries long has been a source of help and hope to those living in poverty in Cherokee County. Christmas toy donations can be dropped off through Dec. 2, or as soon as possible (see the list of items needed below). 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, bats, skateboards)
• Makeup kits
• Calligraphy sets
• Hair dryers/flat irons
• 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. Please 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.
North Georgia Angel House
The organization has served girls since 2006, by providing shelter, life skills, job readiness services, family support and more, for up to 40 females at a time. Current needs include: MP3 players, earbuds, gift cards for clothing or activities in the area and journals. Visit the website to donate, or shop on Amazon Smile and select North Georgia Angel House Inc as your charity to support.
The nonprofit provides food to local families and to complex regions globally. With the help of volunteers, 800 SERV food boxes are delivered each month to families in need in Cherokee County and the surrounding areas. To sponsor a local family for $35 a month, visit the website. For volunteer opportunities, email email@example.com.
Simple Needs GA
The Spirit of Christmas program helps school- and agency-referred families who are getting close to Christmas and were unable to register for other local programs earlier in the year. Volunteer opportunities include buying requested presents, wrapping gifts, making deliveries, sorting and organizing, and more. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots is a national program started by the Marine Corps. As a way of spreading joy to the less fortunate, Toys for Tots collects new, unwrapped toys year-round to distribute to children in need during the holiday season. Visit the website for an updated list of collection sites in our area, including Cherokee County fire stations.
WarAngel Farms Rescue and Rehabilitation
Keep a rescued horse or donkey warm this winter with a holiday donation ($150 per blanket). There are other opportunities for sponsorship of animals, such as horses, ponies, donkeys, pigs, cows and more, on a monthly basis. The nonprofit animal rescue appreciates the community’s part in helping the animals during the winter and year-round. For more information, or to sponsor your favorite animal, visit the Sponsorship tab on the website.