Share your blessings with those in need

Many people find the holiday season to be a time to share their blessings with the less fortunate. Local organizations and advocacy groups such as those below would put your gift to good use.

Oaklands Presbyterian Church has a food pantry on-site and can always use donations of food and/or money for residents who are in need of help.


Wish List: Canned soup, fruit, salmon and tuna, vegetables, pasta and sauces, peanut butter and jelly, cereal and oatmeal; pancake mix; macaroni and cheese; other staples. Donations can be dropped off during church hours, Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 14301 Laurel Bowie Road. 301-776-5833.

Fish of Laurel/Elizabeth House helps needy neighbors in the greater Laurel area by providing dinners, groceries, referral services and, on a very limited basis, some financial help. Mailing address: Fish of Laurel Inc., P.O. Box 36, Laurel, MD 20725-0036. Street address: 308 Gorman Ave., Laurel, MD 20707. Email 301-776-9296. Help line: 301-262-7106.


Wish List: Kitchen volunteers needed as well as cash donations and nonperishable food items.

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.

Wish List: Volunteers needed to help in the pantry. Pantry items needed: Peanut butter and jelly, tuna and Tuna Helper, canned fruit and vegetables, canned soup, beans, cereal, oatmeal, "just-add-water" pancake mix, macaroni and cheese, pasta and sauce, rice and other staples. Donors needed to provide loose gifts [no used items] and practical gift cards/certificates [gas, grocery] for families who hare not yet been adopted. Last day to drop off holiday donations is Friday, Dec. 20, at LARS, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Monday evenings, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., 311 Laurel Ave. General donations can also be made to help fund programs such as eviction prevention and utility assistance. Make checks payable to LARS or to donate online, go to and click on Give Direct.

Side by Side works to strengthen Prince George's County public schools in Laurel. 15808 Kerr Road, Laurel, MD 20707, 202-710-5555,

Wish List: Volunteers to help tutor once a week elementary school children who need reading or math help. Side by Side also needs a color printer and a desk top computer with wireless capability.

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 through the bridging of the resources of the home, church, school and community. 301-490-0911

Wish List: School supplies, Christmas party gifts for 60 low-income students, office chairs and a brochure stand.

Laurel TNR [Trap-Neuter-Release] is a nonprofit community effort to find and implement ways for feral "community" cats to live harmoniously alongside people, their homes and their businesses throughout Laurel, while humanely reducing their numbers. For information or to volunteer, contact Helen Woods, 240-620-8926


Wish List: Donations of cat food and money to pay for spay and neuter. Small donations can be dropped off at Spay Now Animal Surgery Clinic at 7401 Van Dusen. For pickup of larger items, contact or call 301-886-0161. Monetary donations can be sent to Laurel TNR Treasurer, P.O. 160, Gambrills, MD 21054.

Sarah's House is a homeless shelter and transitional housing program in Anne Arundel County, 2015 20th St., Fort Meade. Call 410-551-7722 or

Wish List: Items on Angel Tree for children and adults at Sarah's House: Girl, 6, Lalaloopsy; boy, 4, Leap Frog Explorer; boy, 10, anything Plants vs Zombies [size child's large]; boy, 15, Hollister Gift Card [size large]; girl, 2 kitchen play set; girl, age 18 months, musical toys; girl, age 14, pink watch; girl, 15, necklace and earrings; girl, 3, African American baby doll with accessories; boy, 7, walkie talkies; boy, 8, science kit; girl, 5, Lalaloopsy or Hello Kitty; boy, 11, any graphic large long sleeve shirt; mom, 20, pots and pans; dad, 27, crock pot [smaller size for family of 3]; single female, 29, woman's bathrobe size XL; single female, 40, makeup bag and accessories; single male, 22, black or brown waterproof watch; single male, 38, men's large brown jacket; single father of 3, 27, new bathroom set [shower curtain, rugs, towels]; single father of one, 19, new kitchen utensils and knife set; single father of 2, 35, new pots and pans set; single mother of 5, 42, new pots and pans set; single mother of 2, 19, new towel set; single female, 18, size medium woman's sweat suit, any color; single mother of 3, age 32, book sets to read to elementary-aged children; boy, 6, Hot Wheels set; boy, 9, Magic Tree House book set; single mother of one, 19, plastic plates, bowls, cups for kitchen; single father of 4, 45, new crock pot and recipe book; and single mother of 3, 25, new toaster or toaster oven.

Domestic Violence Center of Howard County Inc. is a private nonprofit agency, which provides services to women, children and men impacted by intimate partner violence and sexual assault in Howard County. All DVC services are confidential and fees are based on income.

Wish List: Adopt-A-Family holiday project donors still needed. DVC supplies you with wish lists of items [clothing, toys, household items, etc.] from a client and his/her children. Gift cards are strongly encouraged. Please wrap purchased gifts and use post-it note to identify gift and who it is for. If you want to support this project, email Jennifer Pollitt Hill as soon as possible at Bring all items to DVC office, 5457 Twin Knolls Road, Suite 310, Columbia, no later than 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13.

Ongoing client needs: $25 gas cards, $25 grocery cards, batteries [all sizes], over the counter medication [Ibuprofen, Tylenol, aspirin, cough drops/cough syrup/cold and allergy medicine, without alcohol]. Items considered high need: household items paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, tissues, laundry detergent [high efficiency], aluminum foil, 60- and 75-watt light bulbs, latex gloves, non-latex gloves, plastic hangers; food items [only non-perishable items] hot and cold cereal, 64-ounce jugs juice; personal items diapers [all sizes, especially 3T and 4T]; gift cards [Target, Walmart].


• Hospice of the Chesapeake improves the quality of life for those in our communities experiencing advanced illness or bereavement through hospice and other palliative care, compassionate support and education. Volunteer Department, 443-837-1549 or toll free, 800-745-6132.

Wish List: Volunteers needed in Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties with 4-wheel drive vehicles to assist patients and staff with transportation during inclement weather conditions. Volunteers are needed to help out at Chesapeake Treasures thrift shop, 562B Ritchie Highway, Park Plaza Shopping Center, Severna Park. Participants needed to support upcoming fundraisers. Sat., Dec. 7, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., annual Customer Holiday Open House at Chesapeake Treasures, featuring special sales and refreshments. Sat., Dec. 21, 17th annual Santa Doll Raffle, nostalgic soft-sculpture, doll-sized replica Santa handmade by Virginia McConnell. On display at Treasures. Tickets $1 each or $5 for 6 through Dec. 20. Drawing Dec. 21, 4:30 p.m. No need to be present to win.

Toys for Tots, sponsored by the local Marine Corps Reserve, is a toy drive for underprivileged children. Local drop-off locations through Dec. 20: Call for times. American Legion Post 60, Commander Lee Ruby, 2 Main St., 301-938-4691;; Laurel College Center, Jessica Rodriguez, 312 Marshall Ave., 443-518-4163,; St. Mark's Young Adult Ministry, Tanya Johnson, 601 Eighth St., 301-776-8885,; and The Garden Ice House, Irene Hudson, 13800 Old Gunpowder Road, 301-953-0100, For other locations, go to

Wish List: Children's toys and members of the community to help with the campaign, since many Marines are serving overseas.

Teen Moms Fresh Start, formerly Teen Moms' Friends Club, a nonprofit organization created by the mother of a teen parent, provides educational and life-skills programs imperative for successful parenting, managing a household and caring for oneself.

Wish List: All gently-used items for babies, diapers and formula, clothing for children, youth, tween, teen, young adult, adult, casual, business and maternity.Arrange pick up or drop off of donations, 443-623-5297 or Help with fundraising and monetary donations via or mail to 9737 Promise Court, Laurel, MD 20723.


Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center is an emergency and transitional shelter, a 24-hour phone and walk-in crisis center and an educational resource for all, 6700 Freetown Road, Columbia 21044, 410-531-6006. Contact Kathie DiNoto, 410-531-6006 or

Wish List: Gift cards to food stores, Target, Walmart, diapers [all sizes], pull-ups, baby wipes, new pillows, twin size sheets, bath towels and wash cloths. New sport shirts [Ravens, Redskins, Steelers, Terps] for adults and teens; new pajama sets, bath robes and slippers for men and women. Cleaning supplies: disinfectant, cleansers, laundry detergent, fabric softener sheets and bleach. Paper products: plates, bowls, cups for hot and cold drinks, plastic utensils, paper towels, napkins, foil wrap, food storage bags and food freezer bags.

The Arc of Howard County is the oldest and largest nonprofit organization that provides services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Howard County. 11735 Homewood Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042.

Wish List: Need tablets, new twin-size bed [box spring and mattress], volunteer arts and crafts leader and small percussion instruments. Contact: Lisa Kawata at 410-730-0638, Ext. 271 or

Success In Style provides free business wardrobes and coaching to disadvantaged men and women seeking employment. Proceeds from Charity's Closet, a thrift boutique for women and teens, Phil's Closet, a thrift shop for men and the soon to open Cherie Amour bridal resale, all benefit Success In Style. Charity's Closet open for shopping and donations drop-off, is located at 8600 Foundry St., New Weave Building, mezzanine level, at Savage Mill, in Savage. 301-498-5035.

Wish List: Clothing donations for men and women especially plus sizes; big demand for plus sized suites; jewelry; bottles of perfume [may be slightly used]; handbags, especially black; new undergarments for men [T-shirts, briefs and boxers]; new dress socks for men; queen-sized panty hose and knee highs in black and brown; male and female dress form; mirror; round racks; women's shoes, especially size 8 and up; men's shoes, especially size 11 and up. Also need wedding dresses, maids and mom dresses, evening shoes, veils, jewelry and tuxedos. Volunteers are needed for Charity's for all three resale shops, which raise funds for Success In Style. Volunteer help needed Tuesday through Sunday. The Success in Style location in Laurel needs help on Wednesdays between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Contact Jeannette Kendall at 301-498-5035 or


Operation Welcome Home (MD), a nonprofit organization, provides a hero's welcome every week at BWI Airport to military personnel returning home from the War on Terror.

Wish List: Volunteers are needed to attend welcome home events to greet military by cheering, clapping, shaking hands to say thanks. Community organizations, schools, Scout and church groups are welcome to host an event, and/or contribute water and snacks for the troops. Volunteer team leaders, two for each event, are also needed to arrive an hour early to stage supplies and to make an announcement when the event begins. Training for team leaders is required along with a commitment to two events per month. A number of flights are due in during the holidays. Companies, schools, church groups and other organizations are invited to come out and support the welcome home events, and /or contribute water and snacks for the troops. Visit the website calendar for schedules and other details. For more information, call 410-757-0982, email, or go to

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

Wish List: Volunteers needed to purchase baking supplies, bake cookies, pack and decorate boxes and /or deliver packages for its annual Cookies for Cops campaign, which delivers homemade goodies to each and every law enforcement agency in the state to say thank you for the life saving work they do. The campaign runs through New Year's Eve. If interested in participating, contact MADD Maryland, located in Columbia, at or 410-964-5757, Ext. 2450.

Neighbor Ride is a volunteer-based nonprofit transportation service that helps Howard County senior citizens stay active, independent and connected to the community by providing transportation for medical appointments, social outings, religious services, fitness activities, educational pursuits, shopping and other personal needs.

Wish List: New drivers are especially needed now, as demand for transportation service continues to grow. Daytime, evening and weekend volunteers are needed and drivers may choose to provide rides that are convenient to their homes, offices and daily routines. No set schedule is required. Parents are also welcome to bring their children along when volunteering for a wonderful intergenerational experience. Contact Patrice Cerwonka or Rosemary Noble at 410-884-7433 or


Maryland Therapeutic Riding is a premier Accredited Therapeutic Riding Center that offers therapeutic horseback riding lessons for children and adults with physical, mental and emotional disabilities.

Wish List: During holiday season, volunteers are needed to provide loving care to horses and assist with facility projects and barn maintenance while riders are away. Year round, volunteers, ages 14 and up, needed to assist with riding lessons and throughout the week to assist with horse care, barn and facility maintenance. For more information about volunteering, go to or contact Katie at or call 410-923-6800.

Volunteer Center Serving Howard County Holiday Guide to Giving 2013 is a resource for volunteering and donating during the holidays. To access the guide, go to and click on the 2013 guide to view online or download. 410-715-3172.

Wish List: Volunteer and donation needs of local nonprofits are listed in guide.

Volunteer Center for Anne Arundel County's Holiday Guide includes a variety of volunteer opportunities along with charitable organizations' wish lists for items that can make a real difference for people who are less fortunate. Receive a free copy at Volunteer Center, 2666 Riva Road, Suite 130, Annapolis, MD 21401, or by sending a request to Download from

Wish List: Gifts of time and in-kind donations for charities listed in guide.