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.

• Lovely Ladies of Laurel is a nonprofit organization committed to providing mentoring services to young ladies residing in Laurel and the surrounding areas. L3 seeks to promote responsibility, respect and academic rigor to a diverse group of young ladies within the community.


Wish List: Coats, coat drive underway until Dec. 17. Drop off Mondays between 6:30 and 8 p.m. at the second trailer at Laurel High School, 8000 Cherry Lane. Ask for Ms. Hill or Mr. Lomax.

• 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 are 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.

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: Cash donations, nonperishable food items, a volunteer fundraiser and a maintenance coordinator.

Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services is a nonproselytizing 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: 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 are needed to adopt families who are in need of food and gifts during the December holidays. To adopt one or more families, contact Laura Wellford, holiday coordinator, 301-776-0442, Ext. 27 or Donors can also provide loose gifts (no used items) and practical gift cards/certificates (gas, grocery) for families who are not adopted. Last day to drop off holiday donations is Friday, Dec. 14, 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

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

Wish List: Volunteers to help supervise children at our monthly Family Academy and tutor elementary school children once a week who need reading or math help. Side by Side also needs office space.

First Generation College Bound is a grassroots 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: Two computers, school supplies and Christmas party gifts for 60 low-income students.

Sarah's House is a homeless shelter and transitional housing program in Anne Arundel County.

Wish List: Gift cards and new, unwrapped toys to stock Santa's Workshop for the families at Sarah's House. Bring items to Sarah's House Christmas Open House, Sat., Dec. 8, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 2015 20th St., Fort Meade. For information, call 410-551-7722 and ask for Kelly or Eileen or

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. Get started now with helping others while enjoying your own satisfaction in doing something worthwhile. Receive a free copy at Volunteer Center, 2666 Riva Road, Suite 130, Annapolis, MD 21401, or contact Download from or


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

• Volunteer Center Serving Howard County Holiday Guide to Giving 2012 is a resource for volunteering and donating during the holidays. To access the guide, go to 410-715-3172.

Wish List: Volunteer and donation needs of local nonprofit and governmental agencies are listed in guide.

Toys for Tots, sponsored by the local Marine Corps Reserve, is a toy drive for underprivileged children. Local drop-off locations: American Legion Post 60, 2 Main St., closed Monday, 3-9 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday; noon -9 p.m., all other days, 301-725-2302; Russett Community Center, 3500 Russett Common, until Dec. 14, 301-498-3897; Vansville Elementary PTA, 6813 Ammendale Road, Beltsville, M-F, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m., 202-445-0022. 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: Children's clothes (ages newborn to kindergarten highest demand), cribs, crib linens, highchairs, baby beds, toddler beds, Pack 'N Plays, strollers, diaper bags, toys and games. Volunteers for local mentor programs, either one-on-one or in small groups, leading skill classes, tutoring, budgeting, résumé writing, baby sign language, mommy and me singing. 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.

Wish List: Gift cards for younger children, teens, men and women staying at the shelter for the homeless. Go to for information about specific shelter needs and holiday donations that are needed.

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: Twin or full-size mattress/box spring set with frame for respite house; Silent Auction Committee members; gift certificates to restaurants, museums, events and services; fax machines. Also in need of curtains, blinds and replacement windows for our community homes. Please call for measurements. Musicians are needed to perform for The Arc's Day Support Services. 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 men, women and teens benefit Success In Style. The boutique, 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; 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. Volunteers are needed for Charity's Closet Boutique, which raises funds for Success In Style. Volunteer help needed Tuesday through Sunday with more hours available soon. 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 can attend a welcoming or hold a collection drive, and/or donate 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. 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 bake and deliver cookies 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. If interested in baking, delivering, or both, 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 reaches all-time highs. 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