Turkeys for Thanksgiving

Terri Thomas, of Laurel, looks over her shoulder as she carries her bag of Thanksgiving groceries out of the Laurel Advocacy and Referral Service. Standing in the background is Volunteer and Laurel Police Explorer, Gopal Topiwala, 14. (Photo by Nate Pesce, Patuxent Homestead / November 19, 2011)

Many people find the holiday season a time to share their blessings with the less fortunate. Local organizations and advocacy groups such as those below would put your gift to good use.

Fish of Laurel/Elizabeth House helps needy neighbors in the greater Laurel area by providing dinners, groceries, referral services and, on a very limited basis, some financial help. Elizabeth House kitchen, 301-776-9296. Fish of Laurel groceries and financial help, 301-262-7106.

Wish List: Donations of food (fresh meat, cheeses, fresh fruit and vegetables, dry or canned food), money and volunteers for kitchen and pantry.

Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services is a nonproselytizing ecumenical ministry serving the greater Laurel area by assisting homeless and low-income individuals or families experiencing crisis with emergency and long-term services designed to promote self-sufficiency. Shelly Kessler, holiday coordinator, 301-776-0442, or go to http://www.laureladvocacy.org.

Submit a Letter to the Editor for the Laurel Leader, Columbia Flier and Howard County Times

Wish List: Donors are needed to adopt families who are in need of food and gifts during the December holidays. Donors can also provide gifts and gift cards/certificates for families who are not adopted.

Side by Side works to strengthen Prince George's County public schools in Laurel and to strengthen their families. 15808 Kerr Road, Laurel, MD 20707, 202-710-5555, sidebyside@sidebysidelaurel.org. http://www.sidebysidelaurel.org.

Wish List: Volunteers to help supervise children at our monthly Family Academy and to tutor elementary school children once a week who need reading or math help. Also need someone familiar with WordPress to help us improve our website.

First Generation College Bound is a grassroots nonprofit organization whose goal is to increase the number of students who attend college by developing an educational community support system by bridging the resources of the home, church, school and community. 301-490-0911.

Wish List: Two computers, one conference table, school supplies and Christmas party gifts for 60 low-income students.

Teen Challenge of Maryland is a nonprofit drug and alcohol rehabilitation center for men. Moved from Laurel location to 8390 Washington Blvd., Jessup, 301-617-4956.

Wish List: Meat, eggs, milk, heating oil, office supplies, copier ink, janitorial supplies, computer supplies, auto donations, items to sell in our thrift shop and sponsorship of individuals through monetary contributions.

Volunteer Center for Anne Arundel County's Holiday Guide includes a variety of volunteer opportunities along with charitable organizations' wish lists for items that can make a real difference for people who are less fortunate. Get started now with helping others while enjoying your own satisfaction in doing something worthwhile. Receive a free copy at Volunteer Center, 2666 Riva Road, Suite 130, Annapolis, MD 21401, or contact info@volunteerannearundel.org. Download from http://www.VolunteerAnneArundel.org.

Wish List: Gifts of time and in-kind donations for charities listed in guide.

Volunteer Center Serving Howard County's Holiday Guide to Giving 2011 is a resource for volunteering and donating during the holidays. To access the guide, go to http://www.volunteerhoward.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/2011GuideGIVING.pdf. 410-715-3172.

Wish List: Volunteer and donation needs of local nonprofit and governmental agencies are listed in guide.

Toys for Tots, sponsored by the local Marine Corps Reserve, is a toy drive for underprivileged children. Local drop-off locations: American Legion Post 60, 2 Main St. between Nov. 25 and Dec. 15; Russett Community Center, 3500 Russett Common, until Dec. 19; Vansville Elementary PTA, 6813 Ammendale Road, Beltsville, until Dec. 16; and any Toys R Us location. Go to http://www.toysfortots.org/donate/toys-city-county.asp.

Wish List: Children's toys and members of the community to help with the campaign since many Marines are serving overseas.

Holiday Sharing Program, sponsored by the Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services, will match you with a family or senior in need from your area in the county. You may then purchase and personally deliver your food/gifts. If you prefer, you may send a tax-deductible contribution, which will be used to provide food/gifts for those families/seniors in your area. Call 410-269-4462 to receive a response form. If you are already planning to help a family or families in your community, we would appreciate knowing the names in order to avoid duplications. Holiday Sharing Office, 410-269-4462.

Wish List: Food and gifts or cash donations.

Teen Moms' Fresh Start, formerly Teen Moms Friends Club, a nonprofit organization created by the mom of a teen parent, provides educational and life skills programs imperative for successful parenting, managing a household, and caring for oneself.