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In the Season for Giving

Play Santa in ways that matter

     Taking care of each other is one of the cornerstones of the Christmas spirit, for everyone deserves a gift from the heart — especially those for whom any gifts are hard to come by.
     You can give in small ways, like dropping a donation into a Salvation Army red kettle. Or in large ways, like fully funding a family’s Christmas meal and wish lists.
     Use this guide to spark an idea on how to spread the warmth and generosity of the season.
     Be Santa for a child on an Angel Tree, the Salvation Army gift drive since the mid-1970s. Angel Trees are decorated with numbered paper angel tags with the first name, age and gender of a child in need. You take one or more tags and match your gifts with each child’s needs and hopes. Many local organizations sponsor Angel Trees, each with names vetted by Salvation Army and each with its own deadlines. This year you can also adopt an angel online:
     Choose a child from the Westfield Mall tree and bring your gifts by Dec. 8 to Salvation Army on Hilltop Ln., Annapolis. For the Angel Tree at the YWCA Annapolis, Ritchie Hwy, Arnold, drop off gifts at the Y by Dec. 13.
In Calvert County, contact United Way for the Tree of Angels locations and wish lists. Make donations by Dec. 11 and deliver to the United Way House in Prince Frederick.
     Gifts of reading are also organized by United Way of Calvert County Bring new and gently used books by Dec. 9 to drop-offs at all Calvert Library branches, the Courthouse, Suntrust Bank Prince Frederick and United Way House. Contact United Way: 410-535-2000.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County need gifts for 6- to 18-year-old youths no later than Dec. 21. Drop off at 121 South Villa Ave., Annapolis. Contact Lisa Lindsay-Mondoro: [email protected]; 443-263-2542.
Annapolis Youth Bureau Services/CAA sponsors the Harriett S. Pratt Gifts of Love Celebration Dec. 20. Gifts needed for children coming to the holiday party. Drop off by Dec. 1 at 92 W. Washington St., Annapolis. Contact Phyllis Collins: [email protected]; 410-626-1800.
Adopt-A-Family through Family and Children’s Services of Central Maryland by Dec. 1, and purchase and deliver gifts (by appt.) no later than Dec. 14. Contact Katie Cashman: [email protected]; 410-848-2433.
Annapolis Lighthouse seeks gifts for 45 individuals and five families including 20 children, all residents. Sign up:
409054cafab22a2fa7-light. To organize a donation drive:
Arundel House of Hope needs stuffed holiday stockings and gifts, especially long johns for adults: Men’s L, XL and 2X; Women’s M, L and XL. Drop off by Dec. 20 at 514 Crain Hwy. N., Unit K, Glen Burnie. Contact 
Asia Wood: [email protected]
410-863-4888 x116.
Anne Arundel County Food Bank & Resource Center needs food, furniture, appliances, medical supplies, vehicles, household items and monetary donations. This center is the only free multi-purpose agency in the state, serving individuals and families across the county. Contact: Susan Thomas: 410-923-4255.
Sarah’s House needs coats, hats and gloves for women; board games and Nerf products for children and gift cards for teens. Drop off by Dec. 18 at 2015 20th St., Fort Meade. Contact Bruce Clopein: [email protected]; 410-519-5085. 
The Sharing Foundation, which devotes its efforts to needy, working families, requests Legos, remote control vehicles, sporting goods, board games, action figures, dolls, jewelry and gift cards for children. Collection sites around the county, at the WRNR Holiday Toy Drive sites and at area schools: Contact Ken Maley: 443-603-1560.
SOFO HoHo Toy Drive collects unwrapped toys for underprivileged students at Tyler Heights, Georgetown East and Hillsmere elementary schools. Drop toys off at participating locations (including Bay Weekly) or bring to the open house Dec. 2 at Fire Station 8 on Bay Ridge Rd. (10am-noon):
U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots accepts donations of new, unwrapped toys thru Dec. 15; see website for the many collection sites:
We Care and Friends Holiday Toy Drive provides toys for 200 at a holiday party at the Stanton Community Center in Annapolis. Sponsor a family or volunteer: 410-263-2874; [email protected]
Adopt a Family with United Way and donate special holiday gifts and winter weather gear; or donate money for gifts to be purchased; adopt by Dec. 5, gift delivery thru Dec. 15. Contact Beth Littrell: [email protected]
Project Echo, the Calvert County shelter for homeless people, has a wish list that includes items such as paper products, cleaning supplies, disinfectant sprays/wipes, hand sanitizers, first aid items, linens (twin-size sheets and bath towels) and tissues. Drop off weekdays at 484 Main St., Prince Frederick. Contact Teressa Beavers: 410-535-0044; [email protected]
Pet shelters: Adoption and rescue organizations, plus wildlife centers accept food donations and usually post a wish list of their most-needed items year-round. 
Give A Coat: Linda’s Legacy collects warm clothes, sleeping bags, blankets and more for people enduring homelessness or living in shelters. All sizes are needed, new or gently used. Sponsor a backpack full of clothes for $25. Drop off donations Dec. 12-13 at Homestead Gardens, Severna Park; Dec. 13-18, School of the Incarnation, Gambrills; Dec. 20-23, AACo Farmers Market.
United Way of Central Maryland Winter Clothing Drive: Organize a new coat, hat/mitten or pajama drive in your group, school or place of worship; thru Jan. 31. Contact Beth Littrell: [email protected]
Winter Coat Drive: Southern Maryland Association of Realtors collect coats, gloves, hats and scarves (clean and in good condition) for Southern Maryland shelters. Drop-offs thru Dec. 31: Exit Realty by the Bay, Prince Frederick; Leonard Realty, California; SMAR, Hughesville: 301-274-4406.
Anne Arundel County Volunteer Center and HOPE For All Notes in Coats Program needs new or gently used winter coats washable and suitable for children from newborns to high school seniors. Make your donation person to person by including a note of hope in your donated coat. Drop offs thru Dec. 15 at 2666 Riva Dr., #130, Annapolis; 410-897-9207.
Coats for Kids is collecting children’s new and gently used coats, hats, gloves and scarves at Quiet Waters Ice Rink thru Dec. 24: 410-222-1777. 
Backpack Buddies provides weekend snacks for children at schools throughout our region; St. Anne’s Church, Annapolis, Townsend McNitt: 410-267-0407, Community Services From the Heart: [email protected]; Cape St. Claire UMC: 410-757-4896; Heritage Baptist Church: 410-263-6680; Hillsmere PTA:; Annapolis Middle School/Woods Church: 410-987-0898; Meade Backpack Buddies: 443-433-2416.
Chesapeake Cares Food Pantry accepts food donations any time, thanks to a weatherproof container at the pantry. Drop off goods at Solomons Island Rd., Huntingtown: [email protected]; 410-257-3444.
Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland needs shelf-stable food: canned goods, soup, peanut butter, protein bars, etc. Also, handmade scarves for men or women, small flashlights, tissues, dishwashing liquid, paper towels, toilet paper, by Dec. 15. Contact Emily Trotter: [email protected]; 443-573-0925.
AACo. Holiday Sharing matches low-income families and senior citizens with people or businesses to purchase and deliver a holiday meal and gifts. Register online: 
The Anne Arundel County Volunteer Center has you covered if you want to get out and volunteer. Download the Holiday Volunteer Opportunity Guide for ideas: