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4 ways (and counting) you can help others this holiday season
Volunteers wheel out donated shoeboxes to four trucks that contain more than 20,000 shoeboxes.

The following are a few ways to help your neighbor this holiday season. If you have information about such an effort, email the details to


The city of Gainesville is teaming up with the Georgia Municipal Association for the 57th annual Mayors’ Motorcade. The money and gifts collected for the motorcade will be delivered to consumers of state mental health services residing in Gainesville-Hall County group homes.

Unwrapped gifts, wrapping paper and wrapping supplies can be dropped off at the following locations by Dec. 10:

• Fire Station 1, 725 Pine St.

• Fire Station 2, 310 Piedmont Road

• Fire Station 3, 3335 Nancy Creek Road

• Fire Station 4, 2163 Memorial Park Road

Gift ideas include personal care items, sleepwear and bathrobes, comfortable clothing, bedroom shoes, sweat shirts/pants, hair items, board games, baseball caps, stationary, pens/pencils, tote bags, watches, CDs, DVDs (PG or G only), hats and gloves.

Tax-deductible monetary contributions should be made payable to the Gainesville-Hall County Community Service Center and mailed by Dec. 7 to the Community Service Center at 430 Prior St. SE in Gainesville.


Area Kroger stores are taking part in a pair of efforts to benefit hungry and homeless residents, as well as children and those who have experienced natural disasters.

Running through Dec. 24, the Krogers in Gainesville and Dawsonville will give customers the opportunity to purchase $1, $3 and $5 icons to help provide food for families in need as part of its “Can Hunger” initiative. All funds raised at those stores will benefit the Georgia Mountain Food Bank.

Also at those stores, Kroger is partnering with The Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Campaign through Dec. 24.

Funds raised from the volunteer bell-ringers will provide meals for the hungry, coats for the homeless, toys for children and aid for communities hit by natural disasters. Every dollar raised remains within the communities where the donations were made.

Kroger’s Atlanta Division raised more than $1.2 million for the Salvation Army’s annual campaign in 2014.


For the first time, a Thanksgiving Day Community Meal is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 26 at the First Baptist Church Banquet Hall, 751 Green St., Gainesville. It’s the newest of several area gatherings that aim to feed those in need of food or fellowship during the holidays.

Large numbers of people already have volunteered for the event, but there are other ways to help, such as making financial donations to the North Georgia Community Foundation at Donations can also be made to the Georgia Mountain Food Bank by visiting

Other community Thanksgiving meals include:

• Project J.O.Y.: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thanksgiving Day at Gainesville F&AM, 621 Lakeshore Drive, Gainesville. Volunteers can show up at 10 a.m. the day before Thanksgiving to help.

• L.A.M.P. Ministries: 11 a.m. Nov. 21at 839 Jesse Jewell Parkway, Gainesville. Visit to make donations.

Good News at Noon: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thanksgiving Day at the shelter at 979 Davis St., Gainesville.

Read more.



Home Instead Senior Care is offering the community a chance to help local senior citizens who might otherwise be overlooked this holiday season.

The group is teaming up with nonprofit agencies and area retailers to sponsor “Be a Santa to a Senior,” a program that collects, wraps and delivers gifts to lonely and needy seniors in the Lake Lanier area.

The program, which depends on community support, runs through Dec. 8. The Chick-fil-A restaurants at 805 Dawsonville Highway in Gainesville and 5905 Spout Springs Road in Flowery Branch have “Be a Santa to a Senior” trees featuring ornaments with seniors’ gift requests.

Shoppers can pick ornaments from the trees, buy the items listed and return them in a gift bag or unwrapped, and with the ornament attached.

“There are so many seniors right here in Lake Lanier that don’t have family or financial means,” said David Rigg, owner of the local Home Instead Senior Care office that serves the Lake Lanier area including Hall, Dawson, Forsyth and North Gwinnett counties. “Through this program, we are able to show them that they are valuable members of our community and that people care.”

Home Instead Senior Care has partnered with Legacy Link, Area Agency on Aging, to help with the gift collection and distribution.

Program partners and volunteers will wrap and distribute the gifts.

For more information about the program, visit or call 770-534-5880.