While most of us will be waking up Christmas Day ready to open presents and eat lots of food, many people around the Valley will be waking up searching for their next meal or a warm spot to lay their heads.
This year, folks can volunteer their time, money and help to give back to those in need so that everyone can have a fulfilling holiday season. Here are some ways people can help:
The Wandering Tortoise
The local taproom, named after those hard-shelled reptiles, is filled with a bunch of softies. Once inside, it is hard to miss the huge burlap bag sitting on the floor. Stop by and drop off any clean, used or new clothing and/or non-perishable food. The donations will be brought to a Phoenix homeless shelter on December 7 to be passed out to those in need. For more: visit the Wandering Tortoise Facebook page.
Boys Hope - Girls Hope (BHGH)
These “scholars” come from homes at or below the poverty line. Currently, BHGH has the capacity to house 16 children. It is holding a holiday hygiene drive to help keep the home in supply of basic needs, such as deodorant and toilet paper. There are also opportunities for families to come and cook a meal for the residents. For more: bhghaz.org.
Scottsdale Fire Department
Benefitting the Paiute Neighborhood Center’s Toy Program and other approved agencies, Scottsdale Fire is holding its annual toy drive. People can drop off new, unwrapped toys to any Scottsdale fire station or headquarters. This drive began in November and will be open until Christmas Eve. For more: scottsdaleaz.gov/fire.
Operation Santa Claus
This year, ABC15 and Sanderson Ford will collect food, toys, clothes and monetary donations for St. Mary’s Food Bank, Special Olympics Arizona, Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC), Military Assistance Mission (MAM) and Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC). Donations will be accepted until December 18. Donation drop-off locations include ABC15 Studios in Phoenix and UPS Store locations across the Valley, plus Operation Santa Claus events. For more: givetotheclaus.com.
Adopt-A-Family/St. Vincent de Paul
Adopt-A-Family supports up to 500 families or individuals who need a little extra love this time of year. This program provides assistance during the Thanksgiving and holiday season. St. Vincent will visit the family beforehand to create a profile of the names, ages and needs of each member. Sponsors provide the fixings for Christmas dinner and a gift for the family. Deadline to become a sponsor is Dec. 11. For more: stvincentdepaul.net.
“Holidays are always a challenging time to build a blood supply. Over the holiday, donations plummet by 25 percent,” said Sue Thew of Vitalant.
Vitalant is the sole blood provider for Maricopa County, which includes 62 hospitals. They have teamed up with Streets of New York and the Arizona Coyotes so that every donor will be thanked with a free medium pizza and a free ticket to a Coyotes game in the month of December. For more: bloodhero.com.
Phoenix Rescue Mission
On Saturday, December 14, Phoenix Rescue Mission (PRM) will be holding its Christmas Winter Wonderland event. PRM will be providing over 4,000 Christmas toys for children. Parents will have the opportunity to pick out brand-new, unwrapped toys for their children and children will be able to pick out a household item as a gift for their parents. In addition, PRM needs volunteers to fill 1,000 boxes with food and gifts for families at this event. For more: phoenixrescuemission.org.