Throughout the area, there are dozens of local nonprofit groups who are committed to serving those in need. These groups can always use our help. 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.
•Bread of Life Food Pantry provides food and toiletry items, as well as clothing items when available, to people in need within the community. First Baptist Church of Savage, 8901 Washington St. 301-725-3944.
Wish list: Nonperishable food donations, toiletry items and clothing can be dropped off at 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays at the pantry, located at the back of the church building. Call the church office to arrange a special drop-off time.
• Oaklands Presbyterian Church has a food pantry on-site and can always use donations of food or money for residents who are in need of help.
Wish List: Canned chicken, canned soup, canned tuna fish, canned vegetables, pasta and sauces, peanut butter and jelly, breakfast cereal and macaroni and cheese. Donations can be dropped off during office hours, Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m., at 14301 Laurel Bowie Road. Call 301-776-5833.
• FISH of Laurel Inc./Elizabeth House helps needy neighbors in the greater Laurel area by providing dinners, groceries and referral services. Mail checks and monetary donations to FISH of Laurel Inc., P.O. Box 36, Laurel, MD 20725-0036. Address is 308 Gorman Ave., Laurel, MD 20707. Fishoflaurel.com. . Contact Webmaster@fishoflaurel.org or 301-776-9296 or 240-547-9013.
Wish List: Volunteer coordinator who can assign replacement volunteers on an as-needed basis and a person who can assist board president as vice president; monetary donations and nonperishable food items all year long; cases of bottled water and packaged snacks for bag lunches; new warm socks, gloves, winter hats and scarves; full-size toiletries; and frozen turkeys and hams for Christmas bundles.
• Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services is a non-proselytizing 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. LARS is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; and Monday evenings, from 5-7:30 p.m. General donations can also be made to help fund programs such as eviction prevention and utility assistance. Make checks payable to LARS; to donate online, go to laureladvocacy.org and click on Donate. Food items can be dropped off during office hours at Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services, 311 Laurel Ave.
Wish List: Canned vegetables, cranberry sauce, stuffing and cornbread mix, instant potatoes, gravy, frozen hams and turkeys, pies, pie crusts and pie filling.
• Side by Side hosts close to 100 workshops a year for parents at local elementary schools, equipping the parents to practice learning activities with their children at home as partners with schools to promote their success in the classroom. 424 Main St., Laurel, MD 20707. Contact 202-710-5555 or email@example.com. Sidebysidelaurel.org.
Wish List: Monetary donations for parent workshops.
• Laurel Cats is a nonprofit community effort to find and implement ways for outdoor "community" cats to live harmoniously alongside people, their homes and their businesses throughout Laurel, while humanely reducing their numbers. Offers free spay and neuter operations for Laurel cats in need. For information or to volunteer, contact Helen Woods, 301-886-0161.
Wish List: Volunteers to knock on doors to get the word out to the poor about free spay and neuter operations; Spanish-speaking and bilingual translators; donations of cat food, and money to pay for spaying and neutering. Small donations can be dropped off at Spay Now Animal Surgery Clinic, 7401 Van Dusen Road. For pickup of larger items, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301-886-0161. Monetary donations can be sent to Laurel Cats, P.O. 57, Laurel, MD 20725.
• DDM Insurance is collecting funds and supplies for the Laurel Pregnancy Center, which provides pregnancy tests and other confidential services. The Laurel Pregnancy Center does not recommend, refer or provide for abortions or abortifacients. Donations may be dropped off Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. at DDM Insurance, 10732 Baltimore Ave., Twin Chimneys Office Park, Beltsville, by Friday, Dec. 9. Call 301-937-1500.
Wish List: Diapers for sizes 4, 5 and 6; baby wipes; onesies for sizes NB, 0-3 months and 3-6 months; infant hats, receiving blankets, pacifiers, baby lotion, bibs, infant socks and booties; infant toys, books, washcloths and towels; and burp cloths and baby powder.
• Sarah's House provides emergency shelter, supportive housing, and case management to help homeless families achieve independence. Call 410-551-7722.
Wish List: New or used blankets and comforters and linens; new pillows, plastic storage bags, wraps and foils; plastic silverware, toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, cups and napkins; new and used winter coats in all sizes; underwear, socks, undershirts; baby wipes; tuna fish, cereal, healthy snacks, 100 percent juice, powdered drink mix, mayonnaise, instant mashed potatoes, ground beef, Gerber Graduates, butter and shredded cheese; new towels, wash cloths, twin sheets and shower curtain liners; bath soap, baby soap, deodorants, shampoo and conditioner, feminine products, razors and shaving cream; and gift cards for Target, Walmart, grocery stores and Home Depot.
• Hope Works (The Domestic Violence Center) provides comprehensive services to women, men and children impacted by intimate partner violence and sexual assault in Howard County. Call 410-997-0304.
Wish List: $25 gift cards for gas, groceries, Target and Walmart; personal care items, lotion and toothpaste; cleaning items, all-purpose cleaner; latex and non-latex cleaning gloves, Clorox wipes and laundry detergent; paper towels, toilet paper; plastic wrap, aluminum foil and gallon freezer bags; diapers and wipes; pop-top canned goods, pasta and sauce, peanut butter and jelly, Ramen Noodles and Cup of Noodles, pancake mix, maple syrup, juice boxes, salad dressing, ketchup, brown and white sugar, flour; crackers in individual packs and granola; Ibuprofen, Tylenol, daytime and nighttime aspirin, cough drops, cough syrup, cold and allergy medicine without alcohol; Pepto Bismol, vitamins; nasal strips and band aids; antacid, antibiotic ointment and aloe; new undergarments for men, women and children; and batteries of all sizes.
•Hospice of the Chesapeake's mission is to care for life throughout the journey with illness and loss by providing physical, psycho-social and spiritual support services to individuals living with and affected by advanced illness. These services are provided wherever the patient calls home. Call Volunteer Department at 443-837-1508 or toll free at 800-745-6132. Hospicechesapeake.org.
Wish List: Active duty military personnel to perform honor salutes for veteran patients and for the Veterans-to-Veterans program. For the winter months, volunteers are needed in Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties with four-wheel drive vehicles to assist patients and staff with transportation during inclement weather conditions. Also needed are volunteers in many capacities, from patient care to administrative duties; and members for the Threshold Choir.
• Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center provides shelter to homeless individuals and families, along with crisis intervention services. Call 410-531-6006.
Wish List: Gift cards for Walmart, Target, Kohl's, Safeway and Giant; new pillows and blankets; new toys for children, ages 2-13; warm heavy socks; body lotion; and laundry detergent.
• The Arc of Howard County helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities achieve full community life — one person at a time. 410-730-0638.
Wish List: Donation requests: General items always needed: variety of arts and craft supplies such as crayons, jumbo crayons, markers, scissors, card stock, construction paper, modeling clay, etc. Household items needed: TVs, DVD players, android tablets, household vacuum cleaners, new sheet sets all sizes, portable CD/radio players, laundry soap, children and young adult books, Home Depot/Lowes, Target, Walmart, Costco gift cards. Gift cards/tickets for community activities: movies, bowling, restaurants, sporting events, performing arts, community events, etc. Volunteer requests: Individuals to provide simple cooking classes or arts and crafts activities.
•Success In Style (SIS) provides free business wardrobes and coaching to disadvantaged men and women seeking employment. Proceeds from resale shops, such as Charity's Closet, Phil's Closet, Cherie Amour Bridal Resale and Charity's First Picks go to Success In Style. All SIS resale shops are open for shopping and donations drop-off. Historic Savage Mill, 8600 Foundry St., Savage. 301-498-5035. Successinstyle.org.
Wish List: Jewelry, handbags and new undergarments for men, such as T-shirts, briefs and boxers; new dress socks for men, queen-sized panty hose and black and brown knee highs; women's shoes and men's shoes; wedding dresses, brides maids and mother of the bride dresses, evening gowns and veils; and volunteers. Current or retired professional men and women who are interested in a rewarding opportunity to give back to the community can train to consult clients to create a professional interview image. Contact Jeannette Kendall at 301-498-5035 or email@example.com
• Operation Welcome Home (MD) provides a hero's welcome several times a week at BWI Airport to military personnel returning home from overseas deployments. Since 2007, OWHMD has greeted over 600,000 sailors, soldiers, Marines and airmen and women. Volunteers help put up poster, and put together snack bags prior to their arrival. For a list of the dates of OWHMD events, go to operationwelcomemaryland.org. An event line is updated at 9 a.m. the day of the event. Contact Kathy Thorp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-630-1555.
Wish List: Volunteers of all ages at the international terminal to cheer and clap for, shake hands with and say thanks to troops; and community organizations, schools, scouts, church groups and individuals to lead a snack or card drive for the snack bags. Directions for the cards are on our web site. OWHMD is involved with Wreaths across America at the U.S Naval Academy and seeks individuals and companies to help by sponsoring wreaths to be placed on the grave sites of those fallen on Dec. 9. Deadline for the wreaths sponsorship is Nov. 28.
• Neighbor Ride is a volunteer-based transportation service that helps Howard County senior citizens stay active, independent and connected to the community. Call 410-884-7433 or go to neighborride.org.
Wish List: Volunteer drivers who like a flexible schedule, want to interact one-on-one with seniors and can do two rides a month.
• Maryland Therapeutic Riding (MTR) is a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with special needs through equine therapy and activities.
Wish List: Volunteers, ages 14 and up, to assist with riding lessons and care of therapy horses and barn and facility maintenance. No horse experience required. For more information about volunteering, go to HorsesThatHeal.org or contact Nichole at email@example.com or call 410-923-6800. New horses to join the equine therapy team between 13 and 16 hands and 8-18 years old. Contact Equine Manager Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-923-6800.
• Volunteer Center Serving Howard County Guide to Giving 2016 is a resource for volunteering and donating during the holidays. To access the guide, go to volunteerhoward.org and click on the 2016 Guide to Giving at volunteerhoward.org/guidetogiving to view online or download. Contact email@example.com or 410-715-3172.
Wish List: Holiday volunteer and donation needs of more than 30 local nonprofits are listed in guide with opportunities ranging from wrapping presents, delivering meals and holiday visits to donating food, gifts, clothing and gift cards.
• Volunteer Center for Anne Arundel County's Holiday Volunteer Guide 2016 includes a variety of volunteer opportunities along with wish lists of charitable organizations for items that can make a real difference for people who are less fortunate. Volunteer to help people, make new friends and brighten holidays for the homeless. Volunteer with family, learn about community, earn community service credits and have fun. Receive a free copy at Volunteer Center, 2666 Riva Road, Suite 130, Annapolis, MD 21401 or send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. View on website at or download from aacvc.org/resources.
Wish List: Gifts of time and in-kind donations for charities listed in the Holiday Volunteer Guide.
• The Woman's Club of Laurel is a volunteer organization committed to making improvements in the Laurel community. The club provides small weekly food bags to 20 hungry children at Scotchtown Hills Elementary. The bags contain breakfast items for two days, lunch items, a snack, something to add to a family meal, fresh fruit, milk and a drink. All food is prepackaged, kid-friendly and nutritious. The food is purchased by the club and packed and delivered to the school weekly for distribution. These children currently receive free and reduced meals at school (FARM). The students remain anonymous to the club and are chosen by the school guidance counselor.
Wish List: Donations for the Weekend Tummy Tamers program and checks and grocery store gift cards of $10. Send donations to Linda Hammil, 6456 Skipton Dr., Hanover, MD 1076. Please make checks payable to the Woman's Club of Laurel. Donations are tax deductible.
• St. Mary of the Mills Catholic Church Parish Food Pantry provides groceries and lunches to the community. 114 St. Mary's Place. 301-725-3080
Wish List: Donations of canned goods, boxed cereal, juice boxes and peanut butter and jelly.