Opportunities to help at Christmas

Nov. 27, 2013 at 5:27 a.m.

Opportunities are plentiful this holiday season to help people have a Merry Christmas by providing toys for children, food for family meals or money to help purchase food for shut ins or the elderly.

Here are some of the groups offering a helping hand and how to donate to their efforts.

Victoria County

VICTORIA - Food Bank of the Golden Crescent is collecting nonperishable food items for needy families during the holiday season. Food drives are in progress at Dillard's Department Store through Dec. 14; Inteplast through Dec. 18; and at Victoria College, Eyemart Express, Trinity Episcopal Church and The Natural Health Clinic throughout December. Community members who would like to host a food drive or donate food or cash may contact the Food Bank. The Food Bank can purchase about $17 worth of food for every $1 donated. For more information, call 361-578-0591 or visit tfbgc.org.

VICTORIA - The Victoria Police Department Blue Santa Program provides gifts and clothing to underprivileged children in the community at Christmas time. Toys for Tots collects toys for the program, and the groups work together to pass them out to needy families. You may also make a monetary donation to Blue Santa by calling 361-484-4629, and someone will pick up the donation. The collected money is used to purchase needed items for the Early Childhood Intervention Program. You may pick up an application at the Victoria Police Department downtown or at the Victoria Mall.

VICTORIA - Mid-Coast Family Services is collecting items for needy families. Donations may be made in two ways. Visit midcoastfamily.org and click on the "Donate Now" button to give electronically via a check or credit card. This allows you to choose which program you would like to support, including eliminating family violence, homelessness, sexual assault or substance abuse. If you would like to purchase something that would help with the care of families in the Women's Crisis Center, items needed include full- and twin-sized sheets, pillows, pillow cases and towels. Educational toys can also be donated for the children's play room at the shelter. Items may be delivered to 120 S. Main St., Suite 310. To volunteer at Mid-Coast Family Services, call Margot Porterfield at 361-575-7842.

VICTORIA - Toys for Tots is the toy source for several nonprofit groups including: Blue Santa, Salvation Army, Devereux, Restoration House, Perpetual Help Home, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Celebrate Recover and Warrior's Weekend. The organization serves a seven-county area, providing toys for needy children. Toys for Tots is accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys ranging from $10 to $15. Donation barrels are located throughout the city. For a list of locations, visit toysfortots.com. The group still needs help in the surrounding counties, partnering with nonprofit organizations to help find children in need and distribute.

There are two options for obtaining toys for your children: If you have a child who attends Victoria school district, you can register your entire family with your school's parent liaison. If you do not have a child in Victoria public schools, register at the Faith Family Church main office, 2002 Mockingbird Lane, or Victoria Police Department (Victoria Mall and downtown office). To find out where to register in other towns, visit toysfortots.com. For more information, call Elijah Sauseda at 361-573-2484, ext. 31.

VICTORIA - Wal-Mart Supercenter is hosting a Fill-the-Truck event Dec. 6-8 and the Angel Tree through Dec. 15. Representatives will be at the truck from 4-8 p.m. Dec. 6; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 7 and noon-5 p.m Dec. 8. The toys are being collected for the Salvation Army to distribute to needy children. For more information about the Angel Tree program, speak to any Wal-Mart assistant manager.

VICTORIA - Carver Center is accepting donations of toys, canned goods and new or gently used clothing for the Carver Center Christmas Giveaway scheduled for Dec. 21. The event is for children and families of Dudley Elementary School and the surrounding neighborhood. Donations need to be received by Dec. 17. Volunteers are also needed for the event. Donations may be dropped off at 1907 Navidad St. Call Sandra Avery at 361-573-4187 to schedule a drop-off.

VICTORIA - H-E-B Feast of Sharing will be Dec. 19 at the Victoria Community Center. The event is free and open to everyone. A holiday feast will be served along with live entertainment. To volunteer as a server, call 211 after Dec. 1.

VICTORIA - Salvation Army Kettles are located at business throughout Victoria from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. through Dec. 24. Donations are used to purchase items for needy families through the year. To volunteer to work at one of the kettles, call 361-576-1287.

Calhoun County

PORT LAVACA - Calhoun County Sheriff's Office Brown Santa Program is collecting toys for needy children, newborns to 16-year-olds, through Dec. 14. All donations need to be unwrapped and may be dropped off at the sheriff's office, 211 S. Ann St. in Port Lavaca. Monetary donations are also appreciated.

PORT LAVACA - Port Lavaca Police Department Blue Santa is collecting toys for needy children ages 0-16. New, unwrapped toys may be dropped off at the police department.

Applications are available at the police department and must be turned in by Dec. 4. Gifts will be delivered Dec. 20. For more information, call Terri McGrew at 361-552-3788.

PORT LAVACA - Toys for Tots Car Show will be from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at AutoZone parking lot, 312 state Highway 35 in Port Lavaca. New, unwrapped toys are being collected by Strictly Business Car Club for the Toys for Tots organization. The collected toys benefit the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office Brown Santa program. For more information, call 361-553-9024.

DeWitt County

CUERO - Blue Santa, a joint effort of the Cuero police, fire department and emergency medical service, collects toys and delivers them to needy children from newborns to 12-year-olds. This is the fourth year for the program. Donate new, unwrapped toys at Cuero Fire Station, Cuero Police Department, Cuero Community Hospital, Trust Texas Bank, Cuero National Bank and the Cuero Record office.

CUERO - DeWitt County Sheriff's Department Deputy Santa Program has been in operation for 16 years. The group provides Christmas presents to needy children, newborns to 16-year-olds, throughout DeWitt County. New, unwrapped toys may be dropped off at the sheriff's office any time until Dec. 16. Monetary donations may be mailed or dropped off at the sheriff's office. There are also donation boxes at the Yorktown Dollar General and the Yorktown Police Department.

The Deputy Santa wish list will be available at the drop sites and must be returned by 5 p.m. Dec. 9.

Parents of needy children may register them at the Yorktown Police Department or the DeWitt County Sheriff's Office. The gifts will be delivered Dec. 20-24. For more information, call the sheriff's office at 361-275-5734 or 361-275-0899.

YORKTOWN - Yorktown Chamber of Commerce is collecting nonperishable food items at local business throughout Yorktown. For a list of donation locations, contact Amy Lamprecht at yorktownchamber@sbcglobal.net or call 361-491-1761.

YORKTOWN - Yorktown Police Department Blue Santa program is collecting new, unwrapped toys for newborns to 16-year-olds for distribution to needy families through Dec. 16. Donated toys are given to the DeWitt County Deputy Santa program and distributed. Toys may be donated at the Yorktown Dollar General Story or the Yorktown City Hall, 119 E. Main St. Monetary donations may be dropped off at the city hall. Donated money is used to buy toys and to purchase food baskets for the families of children receiving toys.

Wish lists are available at the donation locations and must be returned by 5 p.m. Dec. 9. For more information, call the DeWitt County Sheriff's Office at 361-275-5734 or 361-275-0899 or Yorktown City Hall at 361-574-2611.

Goliad County

GOLIAD - The Goliad County Sheriff's Office Silver Santa Program gives new toys, as well as new clothing when requested by the parents, to each child in the program. Cash donations are accepted and may be deposited directly to the Goliad County Sheriff's Silver Santa Program account at American Bank or mailed to GCSO, 701 E. End St., Goliad, Texas 77963. New toys may also be dropped off at the same address.

Information about how to participate in the Silver Santa 2013 Program was sent home with all Goliad students through sixth grade. Those receiving gifts must live in Goliad County.

Volunteers will organize and wrap all the gifts Dec. 12-13 at the Julie Wimberley Building in Goliad. Volunteers are welcome.

Gifts will be distributed from 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 14 at the Julie Wimberley Building.

For more information about this program, contact Debby Brumby at 361-645-1210 or Goliad City Hall at 361-645-3454.

Jackson County

EDNA - The city of Edna will hold its fourth annual coat drive through Dec. 4 at Edna City Hall. New and gently used coats and sweaters may be dropped off between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday at city hall and will then be distributed through Helping Hands. "Each year, the community has graciously given back, and last year, the box was filled with coats three times before the coat drive ended," said Becky Miska, city secretary. For more information, contact 361-782-3122.

EDNA - The Jackson County Community Christmas, sponsored by the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, would like to reach out to any family that may need assistance with gifts during this holiday season. The group seeks to provide gifts for Jackson County's less fortunate children, infants to 12-year-olds, as well as the less fortunate elderly, shut-ins or nursing home residents in Jackson County. Gifts or monetary donations will be accepted any time and may be brought in to the sheriff's office or mailed to 115 W. Main St., Edna, Texas 77957. Gifts do not need to be wrapped. Please specify the age and gender if you bring in a wrapped gift. Delivery of the gifts will be Dec. 20.

For those who would like to request gifts for needy family members, please have all requests to the sheriff's office by Dec. 16. You may call the office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please have the number and gender of children receiving gifts, address for gifts to be delivered and a contact name and phone number. Children should be between the ages of infant to 12 years. People who will receive donations must be Jackson County residents. Parents may request gifts for children living in the home with them. Grandparents may request gifts for children living with them. Friends or neighbors may make a request for a needy family. For more information, contact Ida Barnes and Renee Stancik at 361-782-3541 or Susie Shefcik and Cindy Kruppa at 361-782-3371.

Lavaca County

HALLETTSVILLE - St. Nicholas Ministry is receiving donations. For the past 25 years, the ecumenical St. Nicholas Ministry has helped needy children, their families and elderly people in Lavaca County during the Christmas season. The St. Nicholas Ministry is receiving gifts of nonperishable food items, new toys for children from infants to 13-year-olds, blankets and financial donations for this year's distribution of gifts. Donation boxes marked "St. Nicholas Ministry" are at area churches, Wal-Mart, Brookshire Brothers and other locations. Financial gifts from individuals and organizations to help with the purchase of needed food and toys may be sent to St. Nicholas Ministry, P.O. Box 913, Hallettsville, Texas 77964.

Gifts will be distributed from 8 a.m. to noon Dec. 14 at the Lillie Appelt Johnson Youth Center near the Hallettsville City Park. For more information, contact founder and coordinator Pastor Herb Beyer at 361-798-0155 or email beyerfam@hughes.net or Kari Pohl at 361-798-4596 or 361-798-0649.

HALLETTSVILLE - The 2013 Deputy Santa Program, sponsored by the Lavaca County Crime Stoppers, will begin registration Monday and will end Dec. 13. The children eligible for this program will be infants to 10 years old.

Parents who want to sign up their children for the program may go to the Lavaca County Criminal Justice Center at any time, or they may register at Shiner City Hall or Moulton City Hall from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To make a donation of toys, cash or canned goods for the elderly, bring them to the Lavaca County Criminal Justice Center. For more information regarding the Deputy Santa Program, call J.R. Peters, Lavaca County Crime Stoppers coordinator, at 361-798-2121.

YOAKUM - The Yoakum police, fire/emergency medical service and volunteer fire departments are gearing up for the 23rd annual Blue Santa Program.

The Blue Santa Program donates toys to needy children from infants to 8 years of age living in Yoakum. Anyone who wishes to register children should come to the Yoakum Police Department and speak with Patti Nordstrand from 10-11:30 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. Monday through Wednesday only through Dec. 4.

Donated toys may be left at the Yoakum fire/EMS station, and monetary donations may be left at the Yoakum police station or the Yoakum department. A Christmas party will be from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 14 at the Yoakum fire station, where Blue Santa will hand out the gifts to those children who have registered. Arrangements can be made to pick up the gifts at the Yoakum Police Department from 1-3 p.m. Dec. 16. For more information about the Blue Santa Program, call Nordstrand at 361-293-5234.

Refugio County

REFUGIO - Someone Needs Our Warmth of Refugio County has provided a bit of Christmas cheer to the children and families of Refugio County for more than 20 years. Its efforts benefit an average of 85 children and 40 families each year with gifts and food baskets.

To take part in this program, visit the Christmas tree at the Dennis M. O'Connor Public Library in Refugio. Decorating the tree are pink and blue S.N.O.W. flakes that contain information about a child: age, clothing size and a wished-for gift. Unwrapped gifts are then returned to the library for pickup by the S.N.O.W. volunteers and distributed to the designated families around the second weekend of December.

Cash donations are earmarked for food basket purchases or to purchase gifts for those children whose S.N.O.W. flake was not picked off the tree. The deadline for gift purchases to be returned to the library is Dec. 4. Cash donations will be accepted after that date to be used for food and gift purchases. For more information about the S.N.O.W. program, contact Dennis M. O'Connor Public Library, 815 S. Commerce St., Refugio, at 361-526-2608 or Pat Blackwell at 361-220-0409. Donations can be mailed to S.N.O.W. of Refugio County, c/o Kim Arcand, 215 Edward St., Refugio, Texas 78377. Make checks or money orders payable to S.N.O.W. of Refugio County.



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