Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and we all know what that means: The holiday season is upon us with all of its twinkling lights, decorated trees and overcrowded shopping centers.
But while we’re filling the shopping cart with items for the big Thanksgiving Day feast or gearing up to spend countless hours in line on Black Friday, it’s important to remember there are many people – around the world, but also right here in our own communities – that will be going without this holiday season.
It is a very sad situation to think about, but there are ways – easy ways – we all can help. One is by donating food items to Pembroke United Methodist Church, where volunteers cook holiday meals, including meat and dressing, veggies and dessert, for those in need on Thanksgiving Day. Church officials say around 300 meals have been given out in past years. For more on how to donate food or volunteer, call the church at 653-2220.
For those who want to lend a helping hand beyond the community, the global Christmas gift exchange project Operation Christmas Child is currently underway. Operated by Samaritan’s Purse, a local drop-off site is set up at Richmond Hill United Methodist Church, where shoeboxes filled with toys, personal items, school supplies, candy and more are collected for worldwide distribution to children around the world who are victims of poverty, natural disasters, famine and diseases.
Drop-off will continue through Monday, and shoeboxes can be left at RHUMC from 1-3 p.m. today and Thursday; 4-6 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday; 2-4 p.m. Sunday; and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday.
For more information about Operation Christmas Child, including what to include in and how to pack your shoebox, visit www.samaritanspurse.org or call 727-2962 or 756-2190.
And for those who want their charity to stay a little closer to home, there is the annual Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade, which collects gifts to distribute to mental health hospitals across the state. Both Richmond Hill and Pembroke city halls are collecting gifts that will be delivered Dec. 7 to Georgia Regional Hospital in Savannah. The Georgia Municipal Association program was started more than 50 years ago as a way to brighten the holidays for patients with developmental disabilities and behavioral health needs across the state who wouldn’t receive gifts otherwise.
For more information about the Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade, call 756-3345 in Richmond Hill or 653-4417 in Pembroke, or visit www.gmanet.com.
Of course there are more than just three ways to help spread some holiday cheer through the gift of giving, so be sure to check with your church, your children’s school or other local civic groups for ways to help brighten someone else’s spirits this holiday season.