Each year, thousands of people throughout the metropolitan area ponder what gifts to give colleagues or family members who have everything. This year, consider making a contribution to a nonprofit organization in someone’s name or buying something off one of the wish lists that have been compiled by shelters and other agencies that serve the needy in the area.
“This year has been particularly difficult because of the economy, the problems that United Way of the National Capital Area has faced and the lingering effects of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center,” said Carol Freeman, the director of C.O.R.E., an Alexandria nonprofit.
“Many of us are also facing budget cuts because of the state’s economic situation. Even as our budgets shrink, we must continue to try and meet the needs of our clients. The holidays are difficult for those with little or no disposable income. I hope that people will remember the nonprofit community when they are making their holiday giving lists.”
The snipers who terrorized the area also had an impact on at least one nonprofit. Domestic Violence Prevention month was October. “With the sniper attacks, we had to cancel our fund-raiser at Target,” said Claire Dunn, the director of the city’s shelter for victims of domestic violence. “We have rescheduled that event for Dec. 7, but we have a wish list of things that we need at the shelter. We hope people will remember us during the holidays.”
The list of agency needs was compiled by the Alexandria Volunteer Bureau. There is also a list of agency telephone numbers and addresses that was compiled by the Alexandria Nonprofit Council. When the perfect gift just can’t be found, keep them in mind.
THE FOLLOWING is a wish list from the Alexandria Domestic Violence Program, Battered Women's Shelter (703-838-4911)
Infant and Children's Items
Infant & Toddler Car Seats
Diapers & Wipes
Bottles and Nipples
Underwear (new - variety of sizes)
New Toys - for the holidays
Gloves and Hats
White Drawing Paper
Play Doh (unscented)
Gloves and Hats
New Underwear & Pantyhose - variety of sizes
Twin Size Sheets
Towels and Washcloths
grocery stores, department stores, restaurants
FOLLOWING is a list of events with corresponding sponsors who need help through the holiday season.
*Alexandria City, Dept. of Human Services — Volunteers are needed to sort and distribute gifts on Mon., Dec. 16, and Tues, Dec. 17, and to deliver gifts on Wed., Dec. 18. Age: 15 and older and small groups of families.
Alexandria Dept. of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities — Santa’s elves are needed to help distribute programs, song sheets, and candy canes for Alexandria’s Tree lighting event on Fri., Nov. 29, from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Age: 13 and older.
Alexandria Volunteer Bureau — Volunteers are needed to wrap gifts at Barnes & Noble at Potomac Yards from Fri., Dec. 20, through Tuesday, Dec. 24. Two-hour shifts are available. Age: 14 and older.
Alzheimer Family Day Center — Volunteers are needed to help set-up, take pictures, hand out candy canes, serve hot beverages and snacks as well as bake cakes on Friday, Dec. 6. Age: 13 and older.
Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless — Volunteers are needed to adopt a family for the holidays. Age: Families are welcome.
Bethany House — Volunteers are needed to prepare Thanksgiving boxes on Nov. 21-25, and to prepare a “Christmas Shop” on Dec. 2, and Dec. 21. Ten volunteers for Thanksgiving and 15-20 volunteers in December from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. 14 and older. Doris Ward, 703-998-8811. 5901 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church. 14 and older.
Calvary Women’s Services — Volunteers are needed to wrap gifts, prepare lunches and dinners for Christmas and New Year’s Day. Overnight volunteers are needed to keep the shelter operating. 18 and older.
Claude Moore Colonial Farm — Volunteers are needed to assist in gift shop Nov. 16 through Dec. 13; Wed. through Sat. Holiday sales will raise money to support the farm.
Fairfax County Dept. of Family Services—Volunteers are needed to help Santa and pick up donations.
Fairfax Victim Assistance Network—Volunteers are needed to answer the hotline. Training is provided on Wed. evenings and Sat. between November and Dec. 4.
Food & Friends—Volunteers are needed to deliver Thanksgiving dinners to people living with life challenging illnesses on Nov. 28, from 8 a.m. until noon and from Dec. 23-28. Volunteers are also needed to prepare dinners from Nov. 25– 27 and from Dec. 23—28. Age: 14 and older.
Goodwin House Retirement Community — Volunteers are needed to entertain residents living in the health and assisted care units.
Literacy Council of No. Va.— Volunteers are needed to wrap gifts at Borders from Fri., Nov. 29, until Tues., Dec. 24. Two-hours shifts are available. Age: 18 and older and youth with parents.
The Holiday Project of the NCA—Volunteers are needed to visit residents living in nursing homes and patients in hospitals on Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Age: All.
New Hope Housing—Volunteers are needed to wrap presents from Dec. 21-24, and to box and deliver Thanksgiving food baskets before Nov. 28. Age: 14 and older.
No. Va. AIDS Ministry (NOVAM)—Volunteers are needed to deliver Thanksgiving baskets on Nov. 25 and 26, at 5 p.m. and Christmas presents to needy families on Sat., Dec. 14. Volunteers are also needed to hold parties for children whose families are affected by HIV/AIDS at the NOVAM’s offices on Mon., Dec. 9. Volunteers will set up, cater, decorate, and host the party. Age: 18 and older.
Offender Aid and Restoration—Volunteers are needed to wrap, sort, collect or deliver gifts (to the post office) on Dec. 12 from 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
United Community Ministries—Volunteers are needed from Dec. 7-20, to sort toys, pick up gifts and assist with distribution. Age: 13 and older. Wheelchair accessible.
Donations are needed for the Holidays
A lot of groups and individuals are looking for another opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. Below is a list of items needed for the holidays.
* Alexandria City Dept. of Human Services — Used and/or new gifts and gift certificates for families, seniors and disabled citizens. Adopt a teen and provide gift certificates only for teenagers, ages 13-18. Gifts for foster children.
* Alzheimer Family Day Center —. Sweaters and gift cards from Staples, Safeway, Borders.
* Calvary Women’s Services —. Large nightgowns, socks and underwear, hairbrushes, combs, Tylenol and aspirin, umbrellas, shower shoes, flip flops, feminine hygiene products, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, bar soap, bath towels, wash cloths, pillow cases and sheets, and dish towels, plastic wrap, coffee and tee bags, sugar, flour, cooking oil, cereal, sliced bread, and salad dressings, iron, ironing board, blow dryer, curling iron, vacuum cleaner, coffee maker and replacement pots, picture frames, pastels, markers, watercolors, and acrylic paint and paint brushes.
Capital Area Food Bank —. Canned goods.
* Community Partners for Children —. Toys
* Fairfax County Dept. of Family Services —. Sponsor a child for the Holiday Spirit program.
. Food baskets.
. Restaurant – holiday parties.
* Feline Foundation — Cat litter and cat food
* Food & Friends — Apple and pumpkin pies for thanksgiving. Deliver to Food and Friends on Nov. 25 and 26. Wrapped and labeled toys for the holidays. Canned goods – Charles Battle at 202-863-2124 for non-perishable items. Microwaves.
* Friends of Guest House —. Grocery gift certificates, canned goods, turkeys, bread, nuts, fruit and candy, female hygiene products, children’s toys, nightgowns
* Goodwin House Retirement Community — Thoughtful cards, craft projects for residents.
* The Holiday Project of the NCA —. Socks hanker chiefs, and teddy bears.
* New Hope Housing — Everything a homeless shelter needs for all ages.
* Offender Aid and Restoration — Unwrapped gifts for children up to 17 years old. No clothes.
* United Community Ministries — Toys and clothing for children from birth up to 14 years old. All holiday food items.
For more information about the agencies that need donations, call Alexandria Volunteer Bureau at 703-836-2176.