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As we come to the close of another year that has seen improvement on the economic front, there are still many who struggle to make ends meet. 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, items or both. In this season of giving and Thanksgiving, please share your blessings, by giving to those less fortunate.

American Cancer Society saves lives and creates more birthdays by helping people stay well, get well, find cures and fight back. 410-781-4316.

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Wish List: Relay For Life of Howard County and western Howard County committee members and luminaria sales in memory of or in honor of a loved one who has battled cancer.

Animal Advocates of Howard County seeks to end the needless suffering of animals in our metropolitan area. 410-880-2488, Ext. 3.

Wish List: Monetary donations for spay/neuter program and rescue program; gift cards to Bark Pawsitive Pet Food, PetSmart and Petco to buy emergency supplies; medium, large and extra large collapsible metal dog crates; and volunteers interested in administrative work or community outreach.

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: Android tablets, hand-held percussion instruments, laundry detergent, children's and young adult books, electric can opener, digital camera and a variety of arts and crafts supplies, such as glue sticks, crayons, scissors, card stock, construction paper and modeling clay. Volunteer requests: Musicians, singers or dancers to share music with adults in our day program. An arts and crafts teacher for occasional activities with individuals in our day program.

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

Wish List: Flat screen TVs, DVD movies, four boom boxes, board games (Jenga, Connect Four, Trouble, Sorry, Uno), portable basketball system, four microwaves, two toaster ovens, winter hats and gloves (adult sizes), yard rakes, snow shovels, twin sheet sets, towels, scales, toiletries, gift cards to purchase turkeys and three karaoke machines, new or used.

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: Stamps, copier paper and monetary donations for emergency grants.

Beyond All Boundaries aids disadvantaged children, youth, young adults and families across the globe; is building an orphanage in Haiti and feeding 350 school children daily in Haiti. 410-740-0598.

Wish List: Christmas gifts for 600 children ($10 value), digital camera, HD digital camcorder, musical instruments (keyboards, guitars, trumpets, clarinets), over-the-counter medications, children's and adult vitamins, and baby formula (Enfamil and Similac).

Child Health Foundation seeks to save the greatest number of children's lives at the lowest possible cost. 410-992-5512.

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 (eviction prevention, utility turn-offs, food, clothing, shelter, jobs, etc.), and during the holidays, it helps families in need find Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and holiday gifts for their children. 410-309-9695.

Wish List: Cash donations to purchase holiday gifts/food; gift cards from Walmart, Target and food stores; sponsors (businesses, families, individuals, groups) for children from low-income families by providing Christmas gifts (child's age, size and wish list provided); new/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 groceries to low-income Howard County senior citizens monthly. 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, low-salt canned vegetables and Asian food; supplying a food pantry for low income, Asian senior citizens.

Columbia Housing Corporation promotes and provides quality housing that is affordable to the Howard County community. 410-730-9554.

Wish List: Round meeting room table and six chairs, eight desktop computers, six bookcases, multicultural picture books, gift card to neighborhood grocery stores, gently used keyboards, gloves, hats and scarves.

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

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

Community Action Council of Howard County administers four Head Start sites, providing preschool and family services to 284 low-income 3, 4, and 5-year olds.

Wish List: Gift cards for shoes and boots for children for the Payless Shoe Store,gift cards for parents for grocery stores, gift cards to Amazon – Kindle apps; clothing for 3, 4 and 5 year old children (4T through 6T), including socks, underwear, shirts, pants, caps, mittens, coats; musical instruments (adult sized and gently used), including guitar, electric keyboard, recorder, flutes, cymbals and tambourines, children's CDs (for movement/exercise and quiet time); visual timers, backpacks, marble composition books; yarn, felt squares, large buttons and beads, crayons, washable markers, water colors, colored pencils and markers, construction paper, Play Dough and cutters, bean bags, Bristle Blocks, Legos, puzzles, hand puppets, paint smocks; balls of all sizes, jump ropes, tricycles (five per center); hand sanitizer, boxes of tissues; new children's books, especially picture books and multi-cultural books.

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

Wish list: Food items, infant care items and personal care items.

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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. 410-997-0304.

Wish List: $25 gas cards; $25 grocery cards; $25 Target cards; $25 Walmart cards; personal care items/ lotion; toothpaste; cleaning items/all-purpose cleaner; cleaning gloves (latex and non-latex); Clorox wipes; laundry detergent; paper towels; toilet paper; plastic wrap; aluminum foil; gallon freezer bags; diapers and wipes; pop-top canned goods; pasta; pasta sauce; peanut butter/jelly; Ramen Noodles/Cup of Noodles; pancake mix; maple syrup; juice boxes; salad dressing; ketchup; sugar (brown and white); flour; crackers (individual packs); granola; Ibuprofen; Tylenol; aspirin (daytime and nighttime types); cough drops; cough syrup; cold and allergy medicine (without alcohol); Pepto Bismol; vitamins (multi-, C, E, fish oil); nasal strips; band aids; antacid; antibiotic ointment; aloe; undergarments (brand new only) for men, women and children; batteries (all sizes).

FIRN empowers immigrants, refugees, asylees and other foreign-born individuals by helping them to access community resources and opportunities. 410-992-1923.

Wish List: Food gift cards, Walmart and Target gift cards, new clothing and new toys for the holiday program.

First Generation College Bound is a grass roots nonprofit organization 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: School supplies and Christmas party gifts for 60 low-income students.

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, Dell laptop computer, nature books or DVDs, new or used linens and towels, medical supplies, canned fruits and vegetables, new tarps, toys for monkeys and gift cards for supplies from all major stores.

Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center provides shelter to homeless individuals and families, along with crisis intervention services. 410-531-6006.

Wish List: Gift cards (Walmart, Target, Kohl's, Safeway, Giant), new pillows and blankets, new toys for children ages 2-13, over-the-counter medications for adults and children and laundry detergent and bleach.

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 size newborn through age 5; gift cards from Target, Walmart, etc.; and safety gates.

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

Wish List: Portable, rolling coat rack, hand shovels (garden trowels) in good condition, bungee cords, convertible dolly (hand truck).

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

Wish List: Art supplies, detergent, paper towels, other cleaning supplies, twin bed sheets and blankets, towels, gift cards of any type or denomination and adult hats and gloves.

Jewish Federation of Howard County is a community-driven organization committed to taking care of the needs of the 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.

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

Wish List : Volunteers and donations to help us build our scholarship program.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving works to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking 410-964-5757.

Wish List: Volunteers to bake and deliver cookies for annual Cookies for Cops campaign that delivers homemade goodies to each and every law enforcement agency in the state.

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

Wish List: Grocery store gift cards for families in financial need; non perishable items — paper plates, napkins, plastic utensils, paper or plastic cups — for group therapy programs; small battery-operated tea light candles for KidsConnex program. 410-740-9553.

Neighbor Ride is a volunteer-based transportation service that helps Howard County senior citizens stay active, independent and connected to the community. 410-884-7433.

Wish List: Daytime, evening and weekend volunteers to provide rides for seniors.

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 (toilet tissue and paper towels), toiletries, personal CD players or MP3 players, art supplies (beads, woodcraft sets, paint and brushes), nonperishable food (canned goods, dry goods and canned meats), writing journals, drawing pads, colored pencils and markers.

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), mailed to P.O Box 2153, Columbia, MD 21045.

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 fleece) and batting; gift cards for Hobby Lobby, Michael's, Joann Fabrics, Walmart and Staples; monetary donations; and acrylic yarn in bright and/or pastel colors.

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