Each season, we encourage readers to “share your blessings” with those in need.

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.

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

Wish List: Gift cards for veterinary services at vets who participate in our programs, gift cards from stores that don’t sell pets and adopters who will consider older pets or those with special needs. Happy Holidays to all Howard County pet owners-remember, your pet deserves a lifetime commitment.

The Arc of Howard County helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities achieve full community life — one person at a time. 410-730-0638 or archoward.org.

United Way of Central Maryland and the Salvation Army-Howard County help the less fortunate all year round, with extra assistance during the holiday season.

Wish List: A variety of 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. Includes arts and craft supplies, such as crayons, markers, scissors, card stock, construction paper and modeling clay; cards and card games, 100 (or less) piece puzzles, new math activity books, composition books, new ballpoint pens; 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 books for children and young adults.

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 or betterbedrest.org.

Wish List: Donations to the BBR Emergency Grant Fund to help a mom with a high-risk pregnancy pay a bill up to $500. Donations can be sent to Better Bedrest, P.O. Box 212, Savage, MD 20763. All donations are tax deductible.

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: Non-perishable food donations including breakfast cereal and peanut butter and toiletry items 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.

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 Melissa Byrne at 410-313-4704 or 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.

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

Wish list: Newborn sleepers, newborn onesies, sizes 4 and 5 diapers, receiving blankets, pacifiers and new newborn outfits for sizes/ages 0 to 3 months.

FIRN is a nonprofit that helps the foreign-born community in Howard County with immigration counseling, information and referral, social services and consumer needs. 410-992-1923 or firnonline.org.


Wish List: Donors to “adopt” families in need by providing gift cards or gifts for clients. Toiletries for emergency food bank, including, laundry detergent, paper towels, shampoo, soap, toilet paper, toothpaste and soap.

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, Amazon and Giant; new pillows and blankets; new toys for children, ages 2-13; warm heavy socks; and laundry detergent.

The Grassroots Day Resource Center serves the precariously housed 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, 2-6 p.m.; Wednesday, 2-6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 301-776-9900 or 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; gently-used or new men’s hiking boots sizes 8-10.5 and blanket donations. We also are hoping for a few service groups to provide a meal on a regular schedule or individuals to drive our van.

Hope Works (The Domestic Violence Center) provides services to women, men and children affected 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.

The Howard County Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental education center and land trust, educates children and adults about our natural world, preserves the land and its legacy for future generations, and models responsible stewardship of our environment. 410-465-8877 or hcconservancy.org.

Wish List: Digital cameras in working condition; bath and hand towels; picnic blankets; red wagons; and bird seed. Monetary donations also accepted.

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: Age-appropriate toys and books for ages 0 to 5, body lotion, body wash, toiletry gift sets, shampoo, hair conditioner, shaving cream, deodorant, throw blankets and slipper socks. Donations can be dropped off by Dec. 14 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.

The 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, in Israel, and around the world. 410-730-4976 or jewishhowardcounty.org.

Wish List: Gift cards to Giant, Safeway, Target and gas stations or make a donation at jewishhowardcounty.org.

Meals on Wheels delivers nutritious meals to homebound individuals, enabling them to live independently in their homes and to age in place with dignity. 443-573-0925. mealsonwheelsmd.org.

Wish List: Handmade knit/crocheted scarves (no bigger than 6 inches by 60 inches; shelf-stable, non-expired foods such as canned soup, canned vegetables and oatmeal packets; new, never opened wet and dry pet food for cats or dogs; and monetary donations.

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 or 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 or howard.md.networkofcare.org.

Wish List: Paper products, such as toilet tissue, paper towels and toiletries, like toothpaste, deodorant and body wash; art supplies of beads, woodcraft sets, paint and brushes; nonperishable food items, including canned goods, dry goods and canned meats; 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 can be a check made out to Community Action Council with a note for OMR and mailed to P.O Box 2153, Columbia, MD 21045. Online donations can be made when you follow the instructions on the website: onemonthsrent.org.

Winter Growth Inc. provides community-based services for seniors and disabled adults with assisted living, medical day programs and respite care designed to support independence, enhance self-esteem and promote the dignity of each individual. 410-964-9616. wintergrowthinc.org

Wish List: Heart to Heart volunteers for an hour or two, one-hour orientation program; small holiday gifts for men and women; Depends (adult pull-ups); personal care items including toothbrushes, toothpaste, non-perfumed lotions, razors, shaving cream and body wash; gift cards to Target, Walmart, Costco, Giant and Safeway for program supplies; twin sheets and comforters; bath towels; desktop computer, laptops, tablets for programs; bed pillows. 410-964-9616 or claire.noll@wintergrowthinc.org.

—Updated for the season by Allana Haynes