Here's how to share your blessings this holiday season

As last-minute shoppers make visits to the grocery store to check off everything on the Thanksgiving list, some area nonprofits are helping those less fortunate dress their Thanksgiving tables.

For the past few weeks, members of Valley Baptist Church, in Timonium, have collected food to distribute to families in need.


Students at the church’s pre-school have brought in canned green beans, pumpkin and cranberry sauce as their contribution, while older members of the church have dropped off full Thanksgiving meals. The collected food is then donated to to be distributed by the Assistance Center of Towson Churches, a nonprofit collective of more than 50 local churches of which Valley Baptist Church is a member, and distributed to needy area families.

“Feeding the needy is a pretty main tenant of Christianity,” said Allison Pomroy, ministries assistant at Valley Baptist. “We try to do a nice donation for ACTC. It helps the kids understand that every little bit helps.”


The church collective’s annual Thanksgiving basket drive started in 1988, when it provided Thanksgiving dinner to 126 families

Today, ACTC has expanded its reach to serve its clients in Towson, others in Baltimore County and families in Baltimore City through partner agencies; earlier this week, its members distributed Thanksgiving baskets to more than 2,000 families.

Dozens of local nonprofit groups are committed to serving those in need and are in need of donations.

Like Valley Baptist Church and the Assistance Center of Towson Churches, these groups can always use our help to help others.

Below is a listing of local organizations that are seeking donations of money or items, or both. In this season of giving and Thanksgiving, please share your blessings by giving to those less fortunate.

The Arc Baltimore — 7215 York Road., Baltimore, MD 21212. Provides advocacy and high quality, life-changing supports to more than 6,000 adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Contactus@thearcbaltimore.org or 410-296-2272.

Wish List: diapers (all sizes); Pull-ups (25-125 pounds); Goodnights (S-XL); canvas grocery bags; grocery store gift cards; protein (peanut butter, tuna, chicken, chili, etc.); laundry/dish detergent; toiletries; gift cards for family/holiday activities. Or designate a donation to the Family Fund at www.thearcbaltimore.org/donate.

Assistance Center of Towson Churches — 120 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Towson, MD 21204, provides food and financial assistance to low-income families and the homeless. 410-296-4855, www.actconline.info.

Wish List: Personal items: Deodorant, razors, lotion, and toothpaste. Men’s and women’s socks, hats, gloves and scarves. Food items: Cereal, canned tomatoes, pork and beans, canned vegetables and fruits, pasta meals canned (ravioli, spaghetti), spaghetti sauce, tuna, peanut butter and jelly, soup, dried pasta (spaghetti, macaroni), macaroni and cheese, potatoes (boxed), and rice, For the homeless care bags: pop-top canned meat (beef stew, chili, etc.), also small fruit cups. Also, food gift cards $5 to $15.

Baltimore Child Abuse Center — Mission is to provide all reported victims of child sexual abuse in Baltimore, and their non-offending caretakers, with comprehensive interviews, medical treatment, referrals, and crisis counseling services with the goal of preventing future child sexual abuse. 410-396-6147 or www.bcaci.org

Wish List: Non-perishable healthy food items, monetary donations and gift cards, toiletries such as lotions, deodorants, soap or body wash, laundry detergent, bleach, fabric softener, dryer sheets, baby items such as diapers, wipes, baby powder and lotions and undergarments (all sizes from children to adults).

Baltimore Humane Society — an independent, nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter, which offers low-cost veterinary care to the public, and a pet cemetery with grief support services. 410-833-8848 www.bmorehumane.org.


Wish List : Non clumping cat litter, paper towels, dog treats, laundry detergent, dish detergent, latex gloves, science diet brand foods, treats (soft/chewy), peanut butter, kong stuffing, vitamin C tablets for guinea pigs, Timothy Hay bedding, shredded paper, Carefresh Ultra (for small animals), janitorial supplies, Clorox Germicidal Bleach, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, mop heads, scrub brushes (with long handle attachment), spray bottles, dog toys, cat toys, cardboard cat scratchers, puppy pads and Feliway spray. For the Bmore Kind Pet Food Bank: Cat food (dry, any variety) and dog food (dry, any brand), (Opened or Closed bags are OK for the food bank). http://bmorehumane.org/donate/.

Believe In Tomorrow National Children's Foundation — provides hospital and retreat housing services for critically ill children and their families. The Believe In Tomorrow Children's House at Johns Hopkins offers families a sense of home where they can stay for days or weeks at a time while their child undergoes treatment or surgery for a life threatening illness. Believe In Tomorrow also offers families five beach and mountain retreat homes, which they can utilize year-round, free of charge, to renew their spirits and reconnect as a family. Believe In Tomorrow's unique programs bring comfort, hope and joy to critically ill children and their families. 410-744-1032. www.believeintomorrow.org.

Wish List: Keurig K-cups (coffee, tea, hot chocolate), granola bars, individual snack bags (chips, popcorn), individual cereal cups, Duraflame logs, paper plates, paper coffee cups and lids, plastic silverware, disposable food containers, paper towels, toilet paper, dishwasher detergent, Clorox wipes and furniture steam cleaner.

Carson Scholars Fund Inc . — seeks to combat the American education crisis by discovering promise and rewarding excellence in our nation’s youth through our Scholarship and Reading Room programs. http://www.carsonscholars.org

Wish List: Monetary donations.

Casey Cares Foundation — provides uplifting and on-going programs for critically ill children and their families throughout Mid-Atlantic region. 443-568-0064. CaseyCares.org.

Wish List: $10 or $25 gift cards for Target, Walmart, Ledo Pizza, Pizza Hut, Red Lobster, Subway, Dunkin Donuts, Chick-fil-A, Panera. $10 or $25 gift cards for Redbox, AMC and Regal Theaters or Fandango. New, two-piece pajamas (adult and infant sizes are needed most).

Center for Pregnancy Concerns — is a pregnancy resource center providing free physical, emotional and spiritual help and guidance to women and children. www.cpcforhelp.org. 410-391-6699 (Admin Office); 410-391-3911 (helpline).

Wish List: Clothing (preemie to 4T, new or gently used; especially 0-6 months and toddler sizes); Onesies (especially 0-6 months); Sleepers (especially 0-9 months); Booties, socks, shoes, bibs, blankets, receiving blankets, crib sheets, hooded towels, disposable diapers (preemie to size 6, but especially Newborn, 1, 4, 5, and 6); Similac Advance Formula, new baby bottles, baby lotion, baby oil, baby wash; toys and stuffed animals; maternity clothing (new or gently used); Bassinets, potty chairs, bouncy seats, stationary entertainers, new infant car seats (no used), playpens, swings, gates, strollers, booster chairs, high chairs, bathtubs, Pack & Plays. Gifts for women: lotions, hand creams, cocoa butter, nightgowns, shampoo, baby books, parenting books, cosmetics, nail polish, small jewelry items. Monetary donations and volunteers.


Christopher Place Academy — provides education and employment training, as well as emotional, spiritual and addiction recovery support to formerly homeless men. 443-986-9031. www.cc-md.org.


Wish List: Twin sheets, towels, wash cloths, lotion, bar soap, razors, athletes foot cream and deodorant.

Defenders of Animal Rights — is dedicated to eliminating cruelty to all animals by providing services which include rescues, the sheltering of unwanted animals and abuse victims, adoptions through an innovative pet center, spaying/neutering, humane education, youth work, grief counseling, and human health enhancements via pets. 410-527-1466. www.adopt-a-pet.org

Wish List: Feline pine litter, Pro Pan Dry Dog/Puppy food, dog and puppy canned food, Purina Adult Cat and Kitten Chow, cat and kitten canned food, dog and cat treats and toys, rawhides and chew toys, parakeet and parrot food and toys, wild bird feed, suet cakes, bales of straw and hay, fresh fruit and veggies, peanut butter, canned tuna, baby food: pureed meats, kitten nursing bottles/KMR, gift cards (Petsmart, Walmart, grocery stores, Amazon, Lowes), Linens (sheets, towels, blankets), laundry detergent, large trash bags, bleach, paper towels, sponges, scrubbers, dish soap, hand soap, scrub uniforms; stamps, white copy paper, pens/markers, scotch tape, blank CDs, correction tape, manila file folders.

Dream 4 It Foundation — raises funds to support educational scholarships for college freshmen. 443-472-3311. www.dream4it.net.

Wish List : Cash donations and services and products for annual silent auction event.

Ellene “Brit” Christiansen Memorial Fund — at Towson Arts Collective, mission is to run the center, providing a fully inclusive, accessible venue for exhibits, classes, and events for all artists of all abilities. 410-916-6340.

Wish List: Video cameras, tripods, folding chairs and folding tables.

The Franciscan Center — provides a broad range of services to persons who are economically disadvantaged to assist them in moving toward a more self-sufficient lifestyle. 410-467-5340. www.franciscancenterbaltimore.org.

Wish List: Warm clothes (jackets, boots, socks, mittens, gloves, knit hats, scarves), toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, tooth <FZ,1,0,35>brushes, wash cloths, deodorant, razors, shaving cream, etc.), non-perishable food for the pantry, children's Items (clothes, toys, formula, diapers), money to run the programs.

Gallagher Services — opening doors for individuals with developmental disabilities through group homes in the community and a medical day program. 410-252-4005. www.cc-md.org.

Wish List: Monetary donations made at www.cc-md.org/donatenow, bath towels [new], twin bed linens [new], blenders, food processors, cookware sets, flashlights, puzzles with large pieces, art supplies, office desks, office supplies, shrubs and flowers for landscaping, mulch, skill-building computer games, Nintendo Wii system, Wii games, karaoke machine with microphone, earphones [big], walk-man or iPods [music players], colorful pictures to hang on the wall, heavy duty paper shredders, vacuum cleaners [commercial type], PC Computer w/ Microsoft office, printers, V-tech tablets.

House of Ruth Maryland — provides comprehensive services to victims of intimate domestic violence and their families. 410-889-0840. www.hruth.org.

Wish List : New wash cloths, wire hair brushes, deodorant, diapers (sizes 4, 5 and 6), new undershirts (sizes 24 months to 3T), new boys undergarments, all sizes (including men’s for the older boys), new girls undergarments (size 2T-6X), new girls socks (toddler sizes), new socks and undergarments for women and children, new pillows, new twin-size blankets, comforters and sheet sets, new air mattresses, baby wipes, pampers (sizes 3, 4, 5 and 6, Pull-ups sizes 4T, 5T and 6T), crib sheets for small cribs and cots, crib sheets that fit mattresses sized 23 3/8 x 37 1/4 (not standard size), new infant and toddler sleepwear, infant and toddler toys, play mats, rattles, baby mirrors, stacking cups and boxes, Jack in the boxes, Lego duplo, Fisher-Price Learning toys, nesting blocks, new socks and undergarments for women and children, gift cards for grocery stores, gas stations, department stores (Walmart, Target, etc.) and non-perishable food (peanut butter and jelly, tuna, cereal, pasta, granola bars, juice boxes, etc.)

Kennedy Krieger Institute — is improving the lives of children and adolescents with disorders and injuries of the brain and spinal cord as well as developmental disabilities through patient care, special education, research and professional training. 443-923-7300. www.kennedykrieger.org.

Wish List: Cause-and-effect toys, light-up and sound toys, stacking/sorting toys, educational toys, Fischer-Price Little People toys, Playskool toys, arts and craft sets, DVD movies (G-PG13), Wii games (rated E), board games (ages 8 and older), sports items, gift cards for grocery stores/gas stations, and nonperishable food items. Please, no stuffed animals.

Lutheran World Relief — a non-profit organization that works with local partners to provide lasting solutions to poverty, injustice and human suffering. http://lwr.org/ 800-597-5972 or lwr@lwr.org.

Wish List : Monetary donations.

Maryland CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for children), 402 W. Pennsylvania Ave., 3 rd Floor, Towson, MD 21204 www.MarylandCASA.org / ed@marylandcasa.org. Provides more than 1,000 trained volunteer advocates for more than 1,500 children and youth who are under court protection due to abuse and neglect, ensuring their right to safe, permanent homes. Far more children and youth need our help.


Wish List: gift cards (Target, Walmart, etc.) for holiday gifts for children and youth, as well as to help older foster youth who are leaving foster care to set up their own households, office supplies to assist youth in their job search or to pursue college, office/training supplies to train additional volunteers, etc. Tax-deductible donations are also welcome at http://marylandcasa.org/get-involved/make-a-donation or above address, and we are always in need of volunteers to serve as advocates, assist in the office, help with fundraising and public awareness, etc. http://marylandcasa.org/get-involved.

Maryland Food Bank – as the largest charitable food provider in the state, the Maryland Food Bank distributes an average of 115,000 meals every day to thousands of food pantries, soup kitchens and community-based organizations across Maryland.

Wish List: The Maryland Food Bank can stretch monetary donations furthest, turning every $1 donation into 3 meals. Make an immediate impact and donate to help hungry Maryland households today! Visit www.mdfoodbank.org for more information.

Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland — provides nutritious meals to homebound individuals since 1960. 410-558-0827. www.mealsonwheelsmd.org.

Wish List: Homebound Health Kits, adult diapers (Pull-ups: sizes M, L, XL not tabbed), anti-bacterial liquid soap, adult wipes/towelettes, deodorant, body lotion, tissues, shampoo, comb/hairbrush, toothbrush/toothpaste, back-up boxes, boost or ensure (plain, vanilla and chocolate), canned goods (corn, beans, stew, fruit, etc), canned chicken, tuna or salmon, crackers/cheese crackers, peanut butter/peanut butter crackers, cereal, mac 'n cheese jelly, single servings of fruit cups/applesauce, soup - vegetable/ chicken noodle, fruit juice (single serving size), ultra high temperature (UHT) milk, high protein items, dishwashing liquid, paper towels, laundry detergent, toilet paper, cleaning wipes, dish towels, flash lights, non-skid socks and magnet clips.

Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital — treats children with serious, chronic, and or complex medical needs on an inpatient, outpatient and day program basis. 410-578-8600. www.mwph.org.

Wish List: Gift Certificates, items Under $5 for infants/toddlers and school age/adolescent, adolescent clothing, large items, new toys only, gift certificates to Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart, Chili's, Regal Cinema in Hunt Valley, AMF bowling alleys, pet depot, small lightweight easy-to-hold Infant rattles (No Cloth or Fabric), infant socks (Preemie–6 months), infant bibs, nail polish, pacifiers (0–6 months), batteries: AAA, AA, C, D, koosh balls, Uno cards/playing cards, ChapStick, goop, foam, foam soap, stickers, children's book (English and Spanish), washable stamp pads, coloring books/activity books, crayons, bubbles, infant/toddler, clothing (No zipper–sleepers), preemie and newborn size clothing (0–3 mos, 3–6 mos and 6–9 mos clothes), toddler clothes (12 mos-2T), socks (Preemie–6 months), music CDs–children's music, DVDs–children themed: e.g. Sesame Street, Blue Clues, Disney (English and Spanish), cause & effect toys–pop up, musical, v–tech, toys with blinking lights and/or music, all vinyl baby dolls, toddler toys, boppy pillows and boppy pillow covers, mobiles (No Cloth, Stuffed Animals, etc.), school age/adolescent, arts and crafts supplies–glitter, sand art containers, beads, tissue paper, scissors, paint, fabric paint, finger paint, sand art, puffy paint, construction paper, scrapbooks, tie–dye kits, teen board games, model kits, sports equipment–sports balls (football, tennis, basketballs), Nerf or soft/light balls, newly released DVDs (Rated G, PG, PG–13 only), board games, action figures, LEGO transformers, school supplies, Play–Doh, headphones, Xbox One games, adolescent clothing (girls and boys, sizes adult S–XXL), t–shirts (white and other), sweatshirts and sweatpants, pants, shirts, boxers and underwear, sports bras, athletic shorts, full size infant swings (Graco & Fisher Price-Plug-in preferred) and bright starts/Fisher Price infant vibrating seat.

Muscular Dystrophy Association — We’re fighting to free individuals – and the families who love them – from the harmful effects of muscular dystrophy, ALS and related life-threatening diseases so they can live longer and grow stronger. 410-494-7106 www.mda.org

Wish List: For MDA Summer Camp: gift cards (Target, Walmart, Staples, BJ’s, Visa, grocery stores), insect repellent, sunscreen, band aids, hand sanitizer, gallon zipper bags, paper products, bottled water, arts and crafts kits, glue, construction paper and poster board. For general program services: copy paper, auction items such as restaurant gift cards, theater tickets, concert tickets, gift baskets, autographed sports memorabilia and an office volunteer.

My Sister's Place Women's Center — a comprehensive resource center offering homeless and impoverished women and their children three warm meals a day and resources to help them achieve and sustain self-sufficiency. 410-659-3763. www.cc-md.org/my-sisters-place.

Wish List: cereal, cereal bars, coffee, applesauce, canned soups, canned vegetables, canned fruit, canned tuna, baked beans, mayonnaise, coffee creamer, napkins, travel size toiletries, deodorant, sanitary napkins, cleaning supplies, bleach, wash clothes, trash bags, toilet paper, paper towels and food preparation gloves.

NAMI Metropolitan Baltimore — provides education, support, and advocacy to improve the lives of individuals and families impacted by mental illness in Baltimore City and Baltimore County. All programs are free, confidential, and peer-led. Donations can be made online at www.namibaltimore.org or by mail to 6600 York Road, Suite 204, Baltimore, MD 21212.

Wish List: Monetary donations and gift cards (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, grocery stores) are needed to create a mental health education library and to support volunteer training. Volunteers are needed to share their time and talents in a number of roles, including program facilitators, mentors, presenters, and HelpLine volunteers. Contact volunteer@namibaltimore.org.

Our Daily Bread Employment Center and Soup Kitchen — provides a hot meal program serving more than a quarter million meals to the hungry of Baltimore City each year, including nutritious lunches every day of the year and breakfast to seniors and individuals with disabilities each weekday morning. 443-986-9031. www.cc-md.org.

Wish List: Bags of sugar, oatmeal in cylinders, grape jelly, salt, pepper, scarves and hats.


Salvation Army — The Salvation Army operates three Boys and Girls Clubs in central Maryland, which provide children and youth with educational, spiritual and recreational programs.

Wish List: cash donations, volunteers, sporting equipment, video games, educational material and beauty supplies.

Santa Claus Anonymous — provides assistance in the form of gift certificates redeemable at local merchants to aid families in the purchase of toys, clothing, or books for holiday presents. 443-557-7000.

Wish List: Monetary donations by mail or online only. PO Box 28385, Baltimore, MD 21234 or www.santaclausanonymous.org.

Sarah's House — provides emergency shelter, supportive housing, and case management to help homeless families achieve independence. 410-551-7722. www.cc-md.org.

Wish List: Blankets and comforters and linens, new or used; Pillows, new. Plastic storage bags, wraps and foils. Paper products: plastic silverware, toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, cups, napkins. Clothing: winter only-all sizes, coats: new and used-all sizes; underwear, socks, undershirts; Baby wipes. Food: tuna fish, cereal. Healthy snacks, 100% Juice, powdered drink mix, mayonnaise, instant mashed potatoes, ground beef, Gerber Graduates, butter, shredded cheese. Towels, wash cloths, twin sheets, shower curtain liners, new. Personal products: bath soap, baby soap, deodorants, shampoo/conditioner, feminine products, razors, shaving cream. Gift cards: Target, Walmart, grocery stores, Home Depot.

St. Vincent’s Villa — A residential treatment center that provides comprehensive therapeutic services to children whose behavioral and emotional needs have not responded to interventions and services provided at home or in the community. St. Vincent’s Villa is located at 2600 Pot Spring Road, Timonium. 410-252-4000, ext. 1672. www.catholiccharities-md.org/st-vincents-villa.

Wish List: Stress balls, Lego sets, journals suitable for boys or girls (not notebooks), card games (Uno cards, Phase 10, Skip-Bo, playing cards), action figures, gift cards for children’s activities (AMF Bowling, Regal Cinema, Red Zone, Pulaski Highway Go-Carts, Skateland, Baltimore Aquarium, Maryland Science Center), gift cards for off-ground dining (Subway, McDonalds, Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Pizza Hut, Coldstone Creamery).

Villa Maria School — a level 5 special education school serving children with emotional and behavioral difficulties. 410-252-4000 ext. 1672; mfolsomk@cc-md.org. www.catholiccharities-md.org/villa-maria-schools.

Wish List: Footballs, basketballs, art supplies (colored pencils, markers, paints/brushes, construction paper), new books-current titles for ages 8 to 12, trading cards (sports, Pokemon, etc.), 3-inch 3-ring binders, stress balls, small Lego sets.

The Samaritan Women — is a national Christian organization providing assessment, restorative, and graduate care to survivors, and bringing about an end to domestic human trafficking through awareness, prevention, and advocacy. http://thesamaritanwomen.org/

Wish List: Gift us with a 4-bedroom house in Baltimore County, donate a skid loader for our farm operations, give $28,2000 to provide for one year of comprehensive care for a single survivor, offer pro bono public relations services for a year, donate a 6-passenger mini van for our new assessment home, cover our utilities for one month ($2,000) and become a sustaining donor at $20/month www.thesamaritanwomen.org/donate.

Turnaround Inc. — provides emergency shelter, counseling, community education, emergency room companions, legal services and a 24-hour hot line for victims of rape, domestic violence, sex trafficking, child sexual assault and adult survivors of child sexual abuse. 410-377-8111. www.turnaroundinc.org.

Wish List: Nonperishable food items, diapers, hats, gloves, scarves, gift cards and gas cards, household cleaning supplies, feminine products, paper towels, toilet paper.

United Churches Assistance Network — (UCAN) provides emergency financial assistance to families and individuals in the Northern Baltimore County area, to prevent evictions and utility turnoffs. Networking and referrals to other organizations also provided. Open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 410-628-2102.

Wish List: Money, gift cards to food stores, Target and Walmart.

Victor’s Vittles Food Pantry - Christus Victor Lutheran Church, 9833 Harford Rd. Pantry is open Saturdays 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m., serving zip code areas 21234, 21236 and 21286. Email: office@christusvictoronline.org

Wish List: Nonperishable food, personal needs items, laundry detergent, cleaning products.

For perishable food and to arrange delivery, contact church 410-668-8089 Mon-Fri 9am-12:30pm.

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