As we come to the close of another challenging year on the economic front, local nonprofit groups throughout the area are still struggling to make ends meet and address growing needs in the community.

These groups and the people they serve need our help more than ever.

Below is a listing of local helping organizations seeking donations of either money or items, or both. In this season of giving and Thanksgiving, please share your blessings, by giving to those less fortunate.

Abilities Network provides educational and emotional support to families during pregnancy and through the first five years of childhood. 410-828-7700 or

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Wish List: New books and basic toys such as blocks and baby dolls. No electronic toys.

AIDS Action Baltimore provides AIDS research advocacy, programs on HIV prevention and emergency assistance, including rent, medical bills, prescriptions and other expenses to people with HIV. 410-837-2437 or

Wish List: Monetary donations.

Assistance Center of Towson Churches provides emergency food, clothing, shelter, toiletries and financial help for evictions, utility turnoffs, prescriptions and transportation. 410-296-4855

Wish List: Monetary donations, volunteers, soap, toothpaste, shaving cream, razors, hand and body lotion, shampoo, toilet paper, paper towels, food certificates in $5 amounts, cereal, canned fruit, dry milk, tuna, saltines, peanut butter, jelly, canned meat, macaroni and cheese, pasta, spaghetti sauce, canned vegetables, canned or boxed potatoes, rice, pork and beans and soup.

Baltimore Child Abuse Center — Mission is to provide all reported victims of child sexual abuse in Baltimore, and their non-offending caretakers, with comprehensive interviews, medical treatment, referrals, and crisis counseling services with the goal of preventing future child sexual abuse. 410-396-6147 or

Wish List: Monetary donations. Also, crayons, colored pencils, markers, coloring books, construction paper, glue sticks, child-friendly scissors, stickers.

Baltimore Police Department Northern District Community Council Provides food and toys to families in need. 410-367-8491

Wish List: Nonperishable food for food baskets, new toys for children in less fortunate families and monetary donations.

Believe In Tomorrow National Children's Foundation provides hospital and retreat housing services for critically ill children and their families. The Believe In Tomorrow Children's House at Johns Hopkins offers families a sense of home where they can stay for days or weeks at a time while their child undergoes treatment or surgery for a life threatening illness. Believe In Tomorrow also offers families five beach and mountain retreat homes, which they can utilize year-round, free of charge, to renew their spirits and reconnect as a family. Believe In Tomorrow's unique programs bring comfort, hope and joy to critically ill children and their families. 410-744-1032.

Wish List: 2 matching reclining lounge chairs, 1 love seat sleeper sofa, 2 traditional sofas (leather or fabric), 3-4 multi-colored Adirondack chairs for deck furniture, 2 air hockey tables.

Casey Cares Foundation provides uplifting programs to critically ill children and their families. 443-568-0064 or

Wish List: $10 or $25 gift certificates for Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Ledo Pizza, Pizza Hut, Pizzeria Uno, Three Brothers Pizza, Taco Bell, or Subway. $10 or $25 gift certificates for other national restaurants, big box store and movie theater chains. New, two-piece pajamas (adult and infant sizes are our most needed)

Catholic Charities provides: Services to people of all faiths and races who are in need. Catholic Charities provides programs designed to improve the lives of children, families, seniors, the disadvantaged and people with developmental disabilities. 410-547-5490 or

Wish List: New toys; gift certificates to restaurants, movies, supermarkets, sporting events and shopping; canned foods; powdered drink mixes; pancake mixes; sugar; pasta; spaghetti sauce; paper towels; napkins; toilet paper; plastic bags; brown lunch bags; new clothing of all sizes; art and craft supplies; toiletries; sports and recreational equipment; diapers; baby wipes; baby food; children's books; blankets; sheets; pots; pans; cleaning supplies, and AA batteries.

Center for Pregnancy Concerns is a pregnancy resource center providing free physical, emotional and spiritual help and guidance to women and children. 410-243-6823.