As do so many in our community, my family tries to look for ways to help others over the holiday season. If you are looking for some inspiration, consider giving to the HoCoKids Campaign. For more than 20 years, the Howard County Police Foundation and Police Department have worked together to ensure that disadvantaged youth in the county have a happy holiday season. The program invites children in elementary school, who may be homeless or whose families are struggling to make ends meet, to attend a holiday party. The children celebrate the season with officers by playing games and doing crafts. They can enjoy a warm meal and are given a holiday present containing winter necessities, such as a coat, gloves, hat or shirt, plus a craft and toy. To learn how to make a monetary donation online or via mail, visit the Howard County Police Foundation web site: hcpf.org/hocokids. Donations of new unwrapped toys, socks, hats or gloves are also accepted at donation boxes at the Howard County Police Department locations in Ellicott City, Laurel and Mt. Airy.
Another great service program in our community actively incorporates youth as volunteers. Food on the 15th is an award-winning organization that delivers groceries to low-income senior citizens in Howard County near the middle of each month, when money can run low. Student volunteers at local schools, including Clarksville Middle and Pointers Run Elementary, learn about community service while helping to collect, sort and deliver the food items. If you would like to contribute, nonperishable donations for Food on the 15th are accepted at Claret Hall, 6020 Daybreak Circle. For more information, go to foodonthe15th.org.
Now in its 70th year, the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program collects and distributes holiday gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the toys are collected. By delivering a message of hope to children, the program hopes it will assist them in becoming responsible, productive and patriotic citizens. The Creig Northrop Team is sponsoring a Toys for Tots toy drive for our community. Donations of new, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at its new offices in the Clarksville Commons, 12230 Clarksville Pike, suite A, through Wednesday, Dec. 13. Learn more at CNTtoysfortots.com.
After doing good, plan to spend an afternoon enjoying the Christmas Pops concert at St. Louis Church on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 4 p.m. The holiday program, performed by the St. Louis choirs and orchestra, will include excerpts from Victor Herbert’s “Babes in Toyland,” Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite” and “A Feast of Carols.” The family-oriented entertainment is free and open to the public. For more information, go to stlconcertseries.org or call 410-531-6040.
If you would like some inspiration for making your home look more festive, check out a Holiday Decorating Workshop on Wednesday, Dec. 13, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Clarksville Commons community room, in the second floor of the North Building. A local master gardener will teach participants how to decorate their homes for the holidays with natural materials. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is requested but not required. For questions or to register, send an email to info@ClarksvilleCommons.com.