Local organizations are spearheading efforts to ensure that everyone is able to have a safe and happy holiday season. Here are some ways you can help.
Empty Stocking Fund
The Gainesville Jaycees are gearing up for the Christmas season by providing $100 worth of gifts for 250 middle school-age children in the community. To raise funds, the Jaycees are selling $20 raffle tickets which can be bought directly from a local Jaycees member or by calling 770-532-7714. Each raffle ticket comes with coupons from local businesses including Mellow Mushroom, Image Boutique, Level Up Haircuts for Men and Downtown Drafts. Raffle winners will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 9 for a $1,500 prize and on Thursday, Dec. 16 for the $2,500 grand prize. Monetary donations can be made by visiting gainesvillejaycees.org/events/empty-stocking-fund.
Georgia Mountain Foodbank
As many families prepare to enjoy a holiday feast, the Georgia Mountain Foodbank is making sure everyone is able to celebrate with a full plate this year. The food bank’s most-needed items include whole grain pasta, rice, cereal and oats, canned meat, low sodium canned vegetables, cleaning supplies, household disinfectants and hand sanitizer. For a full list of items needed or to donate monetarily, visit gamountainfoodbank.org/donate-funds.
For those looking to volunteer, the food bank is always in need of checking for expired food and packing up delivery boxes that help feed surrounding communities. To register as a volunteer, contact Denise Bernardi at email@example.com.
To volunteer: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
To donate: Visit gamountainfoodbank.org/donate-funds/donate-now
More info: call 770-534-4111 or visit gamountainfoodbank.org
Hall is Home for the Holidays
Hall is Home for Kids is making Christmas wishes come true with their holiday gift collection. Despite a difficult year owing to COVID-19, the organization is providing gifts to more than 450 children in the Hall County foster care system. Monetary donations are still being accepted online for children who enter into the system later in the year.
To donate: hallishomeforkids.com/donate
More info: hallishomeforkids.com
My Sister’s Place
My Sister’s Place, a shelter for Gainesville women and children, is seeking the community’s help in making sure everyone feels safe for the holidays. The shelter is currently in need of fresh fruit, milk, vegetables and meat, bottled water, laundry detergent, WeGo bus vouchers, disinfectant wipes and sprays, paper towels, trash bags and grocery store gift cards. All donations can be dropped off at the shelter's administrative office. The shelter also has several volunteer opportunities to prepare meals, help in the office and provide professional skill-building opportunities. Registration can be found on the shelter’s website.
To volunteer: my-sisters-place.org/get-involved
More info: my-sisters-place.org
Christmas Promise Store
Each year, Family Promise of Hall County gathers the community to curate a store where families in need can shop for their Christmas presents at affordable prices. The store runs on donations from the community and volunteers to assist with the operations. Monetary donations can be made on their website. Some volunteer opportunities are still available to help out in the store on Dec. 7, Dec. 8 and Dec. 13. More information on specific hours and volunteer positions can be found at familypromisehall.org/christmas-volunteer. Masks are optional for any vaccinated volunteers and required for those who are unvaccinated.
Where: 3606 McEver Road, Oakwood
To volunteer: familypromisehall.org/christmas-volunteer
To donate: familypromisehall.org/christmas-donate
More info: familypromisehall.org/christmas
Good News at Noon
Gainesville’s Good News at Noon got a head start on their holiday planning, but is still in need of donations. According to Ken Gossage, director of the shelter, their biggest need for the holiday season are new or used men's jeans in sizes 32, 34 and 36. Those looking to give more can also make a donation online at goodnewsatnoon.org/donate.
Where: 979 Davis St., Gainesville
More info: Call 770-503-1366 or visit goodnewsatnoon.org
Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots, one of the nation’s most well-known Christmas organizations, is collecting its annual gift donations for children. Toys can be dropped off at several locations around Hall County or through an online monetary donation portal on the Hall County Toys for Tots website. Collection boxes will start to be picked up on Wednesday, Dec. 15. Volunteer opportunities are still available for assisting in transportation and storage of toys.
To volunteer: Visit gainesville-ga.toysfortots.org/local-volunteer-form or call 470-485-3153
To donate: Visit marinetoysfortots.org/localdonationform or visit gainesville-ga.toysfortots.org/local-sites/donate-toys for a list of drop-off locations
More info: gainesville-ga.toysfortots.org
Operation Winter Coat Drive
The Latinos Conservative Organization in Hall County is putting on their second annual Operation Winter Coat Drive. Through Dec. 23, donations of blankets, coats, socks, jackets, gloves, beanies and any other items for cold weather will be accepted at two locations in Gainesville. The donations will benefit and support local veterans in Hall County.
More info: Call 678-614-5011
Each Christmas, the Hall-Dawson CASA program collects toys and gift cards for the children they serve in the surrounding communities. New toys can be dropped to their location at 603 Washington St. in Gainesville along with monetary donations, which can be given online. The organization is still in need of 20-inch or larger bicycles for older children.
More info: Call 770-531-1964 or visit halldawsoncasa.org
Angel Tree Program
The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, one of the organization’s biggest Christmas efforts, is underway. The program helps children in need by making sure clothes and toys under their tree each year. Around Northeast Georgia, shoppers can find tags with a child’s wish list on an Angel Tree, buy their presents and return them to the tree or to The Salvation Army of Gainesville. This year, Angel Trees can be found at Walmart Supercenters in Gainesville, Oakwood, Dawsonville and Cumming, or at the Lakeshore Mall in Gainesville. The Gainesville Salvation Army also has an online registry to buy from.
The Salvation Army is also looking for volunteers through Dec. 10 to sort the donated gifts and put together family bags for parents to pick up.
Where: 711 Dorsey St., Gainesville
To volunteer: Call 770-534-7589
To donate: Visit one of the locations above or visit bit.ly/angeltreegainesvillega2021More info: salvationarmygeorgia.org/gainesville