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.

American Cancer Society has worked relentlessly to save lives and create a world with less cancer. Together with millions of supporters worldwide, they help people stay well, get well, find cures and fight back against cancer. 410-781-4316.

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Wish List: Free standing cosmetic mirrors (no handhelds), cotton swabs, make up sponges, wig, turbans and scarves for patient programs; shower curtain liners, pillows, dishcloths and sponges, paper towels and plates for Hope Lodge residents; volunteer drivers for the Road To Recovery program; and monetary donations.

Animal Advocates of Howard County is a nonprofit dedicated to helping animals. Support and assist county-run shelter with adoptions, rescue and medical assistance, and provides free- and reduced-cost spay and neuter programs as well as educational programs. Call 410-880-2488, Ext. 3 or aadvocates@hotmail.com or go to www.animal-advocates.org.

Wish List: Sponsors for neuter and spay services for cats and dogs; gift cards from Bark!, Whole Pet Central, Pet Barn and vets affiliated with Animal Advocates of Howard County for medical services; and adoptions for pets by permanent, loving homes and families.

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: A variety of arts and craft supplies, such as crayons, markers, scissors, card stock, construction paper and modeling clay; household items, such as TVs, DVD players, android tablets, vacuum cleaners, new sheet sets for all sizes, portable CD and radio players, laundry soap, and children and young adult books; gift cards for Home Depot, Lowe's, Target, Walmart and Costco; gift cards and tickets for movies, bowling, restaurants, sporting events, performing arts and community events; and volunteers to provide cooking classes and arts and crafts activities.

Athelas Institute is an agency serving adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 410-964-1241, Ext.128.

Wish List: Four iPads for the adult autism program, three flat-screen TVs, three DVD players, DVD movies and four boom boxes; board games, such as Jenga, Connect Four, Trouble, Sorry and Uno; playground balls and portable basketball system; four new microwaves and three new toaster ovens; winter hats and gloves for adults, yard rakes, snow shovels, twin sheet sets, towels, scales, and toiletries; gift cards to purchase turkeys and hams; three new or used karaoke machines; and framed pictures and picture frames for art program.

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

Wish List: Donations to the BBR Emergency Grant Fund to help a mom with a high-risk pregnancy pay a bill up to $750. Donations can be sent to Better Bedrest, P.O. Box 212, Savage, MD 20763. All donations are tax deductible.

Beyond All Boundaries aids disadvantaged children, youth, young adults and families across the globe and is currently building an orphanage in Haiti while trying to feed 350 school children there daily. 410-740-0598.

Wish List: Christmas gifts for 600 children at around at least $10 each; a digital camera and an HD digital camcorder; musical instruments, such as keyboards, guitars, trumpets, clarinets; over-the-counter medications and children's and adult vitamins; and Enfamil and Similac baby formulas.

Child Health Foundation seeks to save the greatest number of children's lives at the lowest possible cost. http://childhealthfoundation.org.

Wish List: Monetary donations.

Children's Bible Ministries of Maryland teaches the Bible to children and trains adults to teach children. 410-796-7990.

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Wish List: All sizes and colors of copy paper and monetary donations for camp scholarships.

Christ Church Link guides Howard County residents in crisis to aid for emergency needs, such as eviction prevention, utility turn-offs and employment. During the holidays, it helps families in need find Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and provides holiday gifts to their children. 410-309-9695.

Wish List: Cash donations to purchase holiday gifts and food; gift cards from Walmart, Target and food stores; business, family, individual and group sponsorships of gifts for children from low-income families; and new and unwrapped gifts for children from infants to age 12.

Coalition of Geriatric Services, Food on the 15th teaches children about philanthropy by having them collect, sort, bag and deliver free, ​nonperishable ​ groceries to low-income Howard County senior citizens ​each month . Volunteer opportunities for children of all ages with their parents' supervision. 410-997-0610 or foodonthe15th@gmail.com.

Wish List: Plain cereals, rice and pasta, peanut butter, jelly, macaroni and cheese, low-sugar canned vegetables ​and​ low-salt canned vegetables ​as well as nutritious soups. Nonperishable donations may be dropped off at Claret Hall, Village of River Hill, 6020 Daybreak Circle, Clarksville.

The Community Knitting and Crochet Group of Howard County has for 20 years knitted and crocheted afghans, blankets, hats, scarves and baby wear for many charities, hospitals and nursing homes. Howard County Recreation and Parks, 7120 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia, MD 21046. To arrange a donation, contact Linda DiPanfilo at 410-313-4704 or Ldipanfilo@howardcountymd.gov

Wish List: Acrylic yarn, suitable for baby hats and blankets and adult hats and scarves; and red, white and blue veterans blankets. No wool or cotton.

Guide to Howard County 2016: Nonprofits

Whether you¿re looking to contribute to a worthy cause or need services yourself, Howard County offers many resources to help. The following list is a broad sample of the nonprofit organizations actively making the county a better place to live.

Heritage Housing Partners Corp. owns and manages quality housing affordable to the elderly and disabled in Howard County. Dana Lyons, 410-730-9554, Ext. 105.

Wish List: Two to four round meeting and dining room tables with four chairs each; gently used couches, side tables, lamps and side chairs; and gift cards to neighborhood grocery stores for snacks and drinks for resident activities.

Columbia Pregnancy Center is a crisis pregnancy center offering counseling, resource services, practical support and confidentiality at no cost. 410-730-3223.

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Wish list: Newborn sleepers, newborn onesies, newborn diapers, receiving blankets, pacifiers, bottles and newborn outfits.

Community Action Council of Howard County is a nonprofit whose mission is to diminish poverty, enable self-sufficiency and advocate for low-income families and individuals.

Wish list: Gift cards for shoes and boots; clothing for ages 3-5; musical instruments; CDs; school supplies; new books; balls of all sizes; hand sanitizer; and tissues. www.cac-hc.org or 410-313-6440.

The Route 1 Day Resource Center serves the chronically homeless and working poor population along the Route 1 corridor and beyond. Open three days a week, services include a hot meal, showers, laundry, Internet, social services, free medical clinic, a food pantry and clothes closet. Donations are gratefully accepted during center hours: Monday, 2-6pm; Wednesday, 3-7 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. www.daycenter.org.

Wish list: Canned fruit, canned chili, canned meats and fish, including tuna, chicken, Spam, Vienna sausages, ham and salmon; Chef Boyardee and Chunky or Progresso soups; gently used or new men's jeans, sizes 28-34; and gently used or new men's tennis shoes or hikers, sizes 8-10.5.

Howard County Food Bank provides emergency food grants to families to ensure they have adequate nutritious food. 410-313-6185.

Wish list: Canned meats, soups, rice, cereal and baby food.

Hope Works (The Domestic Violence Center) provides services to women, men and children impacted by intimate partner violence and sexual assault in Howard County. 410-997-0304.

Wish List: $25 gas cards, grocery cards and Target and Walmart gift cards; lotion, toothpaste, cleaning items, all-purpose cleaner and latex and non-latex cleaning gloves; Clorox wipes, laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, gallon freezer bags, diapers and wipes; pop-top canned goods, pasta and sauce, peanut butter, jelly, ramen 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 and vitamins; nasal strips, band aids, antacid, antibiotic ointment and aloe; new undergarments for men, women and children; and batteries of all sizes.

FIRN is a nonprofit that helps the foreign-born community in Howard County with immigration counseling, information and referral, social services and consumer needs.

Wish List: Donors to "adopt" families in need by providing gift cards or gifts for clients.

First Generation College Bound is a grass roots nonprofit 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: Monetary donations for college access and retention programs that provide care packages and services for students attending college.

Frisky's Wildlife and Primate Sanctuary is a wildlife rehabilitation center for orphaned, injured and displaced baby wild animals; and a sanctuary for exotic pets. 410-418-8899.

Wish List: Monetary donations, generator, fire extinguishers, a Dell laptop computer, nature books or DVDs, new or used linens and towels, medical supplies, canned fruits and vegetables, new tarps, toys for monkeys, gift cards for supplies from all major stores and professional contractors for projects.

Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center provides shelter to homeless individuals and families, along with crisis intervention services. 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.

Healthy Families helps first-time parents in Howard County access resources to promote stability for their families and prevent abuse and neglect. 410-715-3716.

Wish List: Diapers, especially sizes 3, 4 and 5; formula of all types; baby wipes; gently used baby clothing for sizes newborn through age 5; gift cards from Target and Walmart; and safety gates.

Howard County Conservancy is a nonprofit environmental education center and land trust whose mission is to educate children and adults about the natural world, the importance of preserving the land and its legacy and responsible stewardship of the environment. 410-465-8877.

Wish List: Portable, rolling coat rack; hand shovels and garden trowels in good condition; bungee cords; a convertible dolly hand truck; a coffee maker in good condition; and monetary donations.

Howard County Office on Aging and Independence/Project Holiday provides gifts and a visit to low income seniors who have no family. Many of the seniors we serve will be alone during the holiday season, receiving no gifts, no cards and no acknowledgment.

Wish List: Body lotion, body wash, toiletry gift sets, shampoo, hair conditioner, shaving cream, deodorant, throw blankets and slipper socks. Donations can be dropped off at all 50-Plus Centers in Howard County as well as The Howard County Office on Aging and Independence, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 200, Columbia. For further information, contact Debby Magin at dmagin@howardcountymd.gov or 410-313-6063.

Humanim provides workforce development, behavioral health, neuro-rehabilitation and developmental disabilities services to those most in need across Maryland. 410-381-7171. www.humanim.org.

Wish List: Art supplies, detergent, paper towels, cleaning supplies, new twin bed sheets and blankets, pillows, towels, gift cards of any type or denomination and adult hats and gloves. Tax-deductible donations are also welcome at http://www.humanim.org/donate.

Jewish Federation of Howard County is a community-driven organization committed to taking care of the needs of Jewish people and building a vibrant Jewish future in Howard County, Israel and around the world. 410-730-4976.

Wish List: Gift cards to Giant, Target, Walmart and Kohl's.

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LeCheval Stable's mission is to educate and provide the community with equine-assisted therapies, such as therapeutic riding and equine-assisted psychotherapy, while supporting individuals and families with exceptional needs and life challenges. Call 410-977-7989 or go to lechevalstable.org.

Wish List: Volunteers and donations to help us build for LeCheval's scholarship program; used or new saddles and tack, halters and lead ropes, boots, gloves, riding pants and jackets; and sound riding horses and ponies. Eagle Scout and Girl Scout service projects welcomed.

National Family Resiliency Center offers counseling and family education programs for children ages 3 and older and for adults experiencing a family transition. Call 410-740-9553.

Wish List: Nonperishable items, such as napkins, plastic utensils, paper or plastic cups, markers and crayons for children's programs; small battery-operated tea light candles for KidsConnex program; gift cards for single parent families in financial need; and copy paper, size 8.5 x 11. Call 410-740-9553, Ext. 208.

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 www.neighborride.org.

Wish List: Volunteer drivers who like a very flexible schedule, who enjoy making an impact interacting one-on-one with seniors and who can do two rides a month.

On Our Own of Howard County is a wellness and recovery service center providing peer support services to people with mental illness in any form in Howard County. 410-772-7905.

Wish List: Paper products, such as toilet tissue, paper towels and toiletries; art supplies of beads, woodcraft sets, paint and brushes; nonperishable food items, including canned goods, dry goods and canned meats; writing journals; bottles of water; tablecloths; drawing pads; and colored pencils.

One Month's Rent pays one month's rent or security deposits for low-wage earners in Howard County who are threatened with losing their housing to a personal, economic or medical crisis.

Wish List: Monetary donations, made out to Community Action Council with a note for OMR and mailed to P.O Box 2153, Columbia, MD 21045. For the Howard County Head Start Program: gift cards for shoes and boots, clothing for ages 3-5, musical instruments, CDs, school supplies, new books, balls of all sizes, hand sanitizer and tissues.

Project Linus of Howard County provides handmade blankets to children who are seriously ill or traumatized. 410-730-8865.

Wish List: Handmade child-friendly blankets; child-friendly fabrics, especially fleeces and batting; gift cards for Hobby Lobby, Joann Fabrics, Walmart and Staples; monetary donations; and acrylic yarn in bright and pastel colors.

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, at the back of the church building. Call the church office to arrange a special drop-off time.

S.A.F.E. – Supplying Allergy Friendly and Emergency – Food Pantry provides gluten free and allergy friendly food to those in need. 443-741-1060 or www.safefoodpantry.org

Wish List: Monetary donations and gift cards to grocery stores and health food stores, mailed to S.A.F.E. Food Pantry, 5305 Village Center Drive, Suite 274, Columbia, MD 21044. Gluten free and allergy friendly food, dropped off at One Dish Cuisine, 8001 Hillsborough Road, Ellicott City, MD 21043. Volunteer requests: volunteer coordinators, social media experts, marketing specialists, website SEO specialist, blogging team members, board members and advisory council members.



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