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Donate gifts to help these Laurel groups

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

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,

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 Download from

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 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

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.

Wish List: Children's clothes (ages newborn to kindergarten highest demand), cribs, crib linens, highchairs, baby beds, toddler beds, Pack N Plays, car seats, strollers, diaper bags, toys and games. Volunteers for local mentor programs, either one-on-one or in small groups, leading skill classes, tutoring, budgeting, resume writing, baby sign language, mommy and me singing. Arrange pick up or drop off of donations, 443-623-5297 or Help with fundraising and monetary donations via or mail to 9737 Promise Court, Laurel, MD 20723.

Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center is an emergency and transitional shelter, a 24-hour phone and walk-in crisis center and an educational resource for all. 6700 Freetown Road, Columbia 21044, 410-531-6006.

Wish List: Gift cards for younger children, teens, men and women staying at the shelter for the homeless. Go to for information about specific shelter needs and holiday donations that are needed.

The Arc of Howard County is the oldest and largest nonprofit organization that provides services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Howard County. 11735 Homewood Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042,,, 410-730-0638.

Wish List: Furniture for lobby, vacuum cleaners for houses, desktop copier and laptop computers.

Anne Arundel County Police Department's Animal Control Section in conjunction with Santa Claus is collecting new pet item donations for their annual "Give a Pet a Happy Holiday." This program provides assistance to The Housing Commission of Anne Arundel County, The Lighthouse Shelter and other local pet owners in need during the holiday season by providing various types of gifts for their pets. Donations are accepted Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. until Dec. 15 at the Animal Control Facility, 411 Maxwell Frye Road, in Millersville.

Wish List: Canned food items, pet toys, crates and carriers, bedding, leashes and collars, treats, dry food items, cat litter, bird toys and bird feed.

USO Outreach Center, Fort Meade is a nonprofit organization serving the military and their families through a variety of events and activities, many of which are supported by volunteers. For more information and to volunteer, contact Charlynn Sunderland, Fort Meade USO Outreach Coordinator at 410-305-0660 or

Wish List: Volunteers with skills or experience in the following areas: administration, scheduling, decorating, event planning, outreach, photography, property, publicity and website. Specific events which need help are: Latin Beats, bunco, health/fitness, Sweetheart Dinner Dance and Children's Fall Festival.

Success In Style's mission is to assist women and men in crisis in the Baltimore-Washington corridor to become employed and self-sufficient. They promote dignity and professionalization through appropriate business attire, practical fashion advice and interview counseling. Proceeds from Charity's Closet, a thrift boutique for men, women and teens benefit Success In Style. The boutique, open for shopping and donations drop-offs, is located at 8600 Foundry St., New Weave Building, mezzanine level, in Savage.

Wish List: Clothing and accessories for women, men and teens, current in styling (usually three years old or less); clean, in good repair; and in-season (preferred). For Success In Style: suits, business separates (jackets, pants, tops, skirts, lightweight sweaters), coats, accessories (shoes, handbags, attache's, scarves, jewelry), wigs, and new only undergarments, cosmetics and hosiery. Charity's Closet: Casual clothing, dressy clothing and accessories.

Operation Welcome Home (MD), a nonprofit organization, provides a hero's welcome every week at BWI Airport international terminal to military personnel returning home from the War on Terror. For information, call 410-757-0982, e-mail, or go to

Wish List: Volunteers are needed to attend welcome home events to greet by cheering, clapping, shaking hands to say thanks. Community organizations, schools, Scout and church groups can attend a welcome or hold a collection drive and /or donate water and snacks for the troops. There is a critical need for thank you cards for distribution to the troops in snack bags.

Assistive Technology: Loans, Acquisitions, Services, and Training Inc. (AT:LAST Inc.), 7050 Oakland Mills Road, Suite 160, Columbia, is a nonprofit organization that endeavors to break down the barriers that prevent individuals with disabilities, their families and service providers from acquiring and effectively using assistive technologies to gain greater independence. 410-381-2667,

Wish List: Previous model iPad, iPod, mp3 or mp4, Kindle, computer projector, laptop, tablet or notebook computer under three years old for use by children and adults with disabilities. New models are also greatly appreciated. Cash contributions to provide training scholarship for parents and to expand our iPad loan library; the gift of your time as a volunteer; and free storage space would be most welcome.

Better Bed Rest Inc. is a telephone support group for women placed on bedrest due to high-risk pregnancies and offers one-time emergency grants to help pay a small bill. 410-740-7662.

Wish List: Stamps, copier paper and monetary donations for emergency grants.

Beyond All Boundries aids disadvantaged children, youth, young adults and families across the globe; and is building an orphanage in Haiti and feeding 350 school children daily in Haiti. 410-740-0598.

Wish List: Christmas gifts for 600 children ($10 value), digital camera, HD digital camcorder, musical instruments (keyboards, guitars, trumpets, clarinets), over-the-counter medications, children's and adult vitamins and baby formula (Enfamil and Similac).

Mothers Against Drunk Driving works to stop drunk driving, support victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking. 410-964-5757.

Wish List: Volunteers to bake and deliver cookies for its annual Cookies for Cops campaign that delivers homemade goodies to each and every law enforcement agency in the state.

Neighbor Ride is a volunteer-based transportation service that helps Howard County senior citizens stay active, independent and connected to the community. 410-884-7433.

Wish List: Daytime, evening and weekend volunteers to provide rides for seniors.

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