Many people find the holiday season to be 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.
• Lovely Ladies of Laurel is a nonprofit organization committed to providing mentoring services to young ladies residing in Laurel and the surrounding areas. L3 seeks to promote responsibility, respect and academic rigor to a diverse group of young ladies within the community. http://www.lovelyladiesoflaurell3.org.
Wish List: Coats, coat drive underway until Dec. 17. Drop off Mondays between 6:30 and 8 p.m. at the second trailer at Laurel High School, 8000 Cherry Lane. Ask for Ms. Hill or Mr. Lomax.
• Hospice of the Chesapeake improves the quality of life for those in our communities experiencing advanced illness or bereavement through hospice and other palliative care, compassionate support and education. Volunteer Department, 443-837-1549 or toll free, 800-745-6132. http://www.hospicechesapeake.org.
Wish List: Volunteers are needed in Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties with 4-wheel drive vehicles to assist patients and staff with transportation during inclement weather conditions.
• 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. Mailing address: Fish of Laurel Inc., P.O. Box 36, Laurel, MD 20725-0036. Street address: 308 Gorman Ave., Laurel, MD 20707. http://www.fishoflaurel.org. Email email@example.com. 301-776-9296. Help line: 301-262-7106.
Wish List: Cash donations, nonperishable food items, a volunteer fundraiser and a maintenance coordinator.
• 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.
Wish List: Pantry items needed: Peanut butter and jelly, tuna and Tuna Helper, canned fruit and vegetables, canned soup, beans, cereal, oatmeal, "just-add-water" pancake mix, macaroni and cheese, pasta and sauce, rice and other staples. Donors are needed to adopt families who are in need of food and gifts during the December holidays. To adopt one or more families, contact Laura Wellford, holiday coordinator, 301-776-0442, Ext. 27 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Donors can also provide loose gifts (no used items) and practical gift cards/certificates (gas, grocery) for families who are not adopted. Last day to drop off holiday donations is Friday, Dec. 14, at LARS, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Monday evenings, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., 311 Laurel Ave. General donations can also be made to help fund programs such as eviction prevention and utility assistance. Make checks payable to LARS or to donate online, go to http://www.laureladvocacy.org.
• 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, email@example.com. http://www.sidebysidelaurel.org.
Wish List: Volunteers to help supervise children at our monthly Family Academy and tutor elementary school children once a week who need reading or math help. Side by Side also needs office space.
• First Generation College Bound is a grassroots nonprofit whose goal is to increase the number of students who attend college by developing an educational community support system through the bridging of the resources of the home, church, school and community. 301-490-0911
Wish List: Two computers, school supplies and Christmas party gifts for 60 low-income students.
Sarah's House is a homeless shelter and transitional housing program in Anne Arundel County.
Wish List: Gift cards and new, unwrapped toys to stock Santa's Workshop for the families at Sarah's House. Bring items to Sarah's House Christmas Open House, Sat., Dec. 8, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 2015 20th St., Fort Meade. For information, call 410-551-7722 and ask for Kelly or Eileen or SHChristmasTeam2012@cc-md.org.
• 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Download from http://www.VolunteerAnneArundel.org or
Wish List: Gifts of time and in-kind donations for charities listed in guide.
• Volunteer Center Serving Howard County Holiday Guide to Giving 2012 is a resource for volunteering and donating during the holidays. To access the guide, go to http://www.volunteerhoward.org/publications. 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., closed Monday, 3-9 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday; noon -9 p.m., all other days, 301-725-2302; Russett Community Center, 3500 Russett Common, until Dec. 14, 301-498-3897; Vansville Elementary PTA, 6813 Ammendale Road, Beltsville, M-F, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m., 202-445-0022. For other locations, go to http://www.toysfortots.org/donate/toys-city-county.asp.