The holidays are time for giving and sharing with family, friends and the community. There are many ways to help out in the Baltimore area, from serving community meals to donating new toys or coats for children in need. Many charitable organizations rely heavily on donations made during the holiday season. Some of the charities collect items for distribution for Christmas while others accept donations to help with their programs throughout the year. Below are just a few of the charitable organizations that are holding special holiday donation campaigns.
Toys for Tots
ezStorage is proud to once again participate in the 2015 Toys for Tots holiday campaign – we have been hosting annual toy drives since 2009. For 2015, ten ezStorage locations will have collection boxes for new and unwrapped toys. Additionally, our self storage facility in Westminster, Maryland has donated a 10x30 storage unit as a central collection point for this year’s program. Donate to the Toys for Tots campaign today by dropping off an unwrapped toy at drop-off locations across the area or by making a monetary donation via the website.
Coats for Kids
Coats for Kids programs help children in need during the holiday season. Various Coats for Kids programs have holiday coat drives during the holiday season. Operation Warm and Warm Coats and Warm Hearts Coat Drive are just two examples. Learn more about these two programs and how you can help below:
Operation Warm is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to deliver warmth and happiness to children in need. The organization was founded in 2002 and in 2011 merged with the Coats for Kids foundation which was established in Alexandria, Virginia in 2004. The organization works with local agencies, corporate and foundation donors, community and faith-based service organizations to raise funds to produce and distribute the highest quality coats. Operation Warm addresses immediate and critical needs for warm coats in 49 states and the District of Columbia, delivering coats to over 300,000 children annually. Donations can be made via the Operation Warm website at https://donate.operationwarm.org/page/contribute.
Warm Coats and Warm Hearts Coat Drive
Burlington Coat Factory and K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers, in conjunction with Good Morning America, has created the Warm Coats and Warm Hearts Coat Drive to help collect coats for needy children across the country. Nearly 1.5 million coats have been distributed by the program over the years and $1.2 billion dollars in donated products have been distributed to community partners serving the poor and disadvantaged worldwide since 1985. You can make donations at local Burlington Coat Factory stores or online at http://www.donateproduct.com/donate-product/.
Salvation Army of Central Maryland
The Salvation Army was started in the mid 1880’s by a British evangelical preacher, William Booth. Members of Booth’s church group immigrated to the United States in 1880 and the program quickly spread across the United States. Today, the Salvation Army assists nearly 30 million Americans nationwide each year with homeless relief programs, disaster relief, boys and girls groups and much more. The Salvation Army of Central Maryland has been serving those in need in the Baltimore area for more than 130 years. It serves Baltimore City, and Baltimore, Howard, Carroll and North Anne Arundel counties. One of the major fundraising campaigns for the Salvation Army is the Red Kettle Campaign. This giving program began in 1891 and today raises millions of dollars every holiday season to help with local Salvation Army programs. Salvation Army volunteers are dispersed across the area collecting holiday donations with their red kettles and bells.
Another popular Salvation Army holiday charity program is The Angel Tree. The program matches donors with children from qualified families to ensure that they receive gifts and clothing during the holidays. Participating donors can take one or more Angels from the “Angel Tree” located in malls and at various stores throughout the Central Maryland area. Donors can purchase age- and gender-appropriate toys, clothing, or special needs items as listed on the coded section of the Angels donation slip. Return the unwrapped items with the coded section of the Angel slip attached to the designated drop-off locations by December 14th to ensure delivery by the holidays.
Donations to Local Food Pantries and Food Banks
The Maryland Food Bank is always looking for monetary or food donations and volunteers to help sort the food in their warehouse. Donations to local food pantries are also welcome throughout the year, but especially during the holidays. If you would like to donate actual food items to food pantries in Baltimore, make sure that the items are non-perishable. Suggested items for holiday meal donations include canned pumpkin, canned yams, cranberry sauce, boxed stuffing mix or dried macaroni. For everyday needs, suggested food donations include canned beans, nuts, peanut butter, canned tuna or salmon, dried beans, rice, oatmeal pasta, tomato sauce, flour and canned vegetables. Check with local organizations for Christmas free dinners and events in the community.
Helping others who are in need is a great way to honor the meaning of the season. The holidays are a wonderful time to help others by giving to holiday charity programs or by volunteering at food banks, food pantries and serving community holiday meals.