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Columbia County charities seek help for the holidays

Posted: December 11, 2011 - 1:00am  |  Updated: December 11, 2011 - 1:10am
Donna Bowles, the director of When HELP Can't Wait, displays some of the items the organization needs during the Christmas season. Volunteers are making gift bags to deliver to area nursing homes.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Donna Bowles, the director of When HELP Can't Wait, displays some of the items the organization needs during the Christmas season. Volunteers are making gift bags to deliver to area nursing homes.

Twitter @JennaNMartin

To help spread Christmas spirit to those less fortunate, Columbia County-based organizations are looking for help from the community.

When HELP Can’t Wait is looking for church groups, businesses and individuals to make the season bright for elderly residents living at nursing homes in Columbia and Richmond counties.

For the past five years, the Martinez organization has recruited area churches and companies to “adopt” a nursing home in December.

In the past, groups have held a party and given gifts to residents of their designated home, said When HELP Can’t Wait President Helen McVicker.

“We’re all kids at heart,” she said. “We all like to get gifts at Christmas.”

McVicker also encourages individuals to get involved by donating toiletries, such as deodorant, cologne, body wash and spray.

This month, volunteers will make about 250 gift bags filled with the items to distribute, said McVicker, adding that they’re running very low on supplies this year.

“We don’t want people to go out and spend a lot of money,” she said. “Just $2 or $3 apiece makes a huge impact.”

Donations can be dropped off at When HELP Can’t Wait, 3822 Com­mercial Court, Suite D, which is across from the Martinez post office.

The office is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Call (706) 855-0715 for information.

Used and new bicycles are needed for the “Santa Wheels” program, which provides bikes and helmets to children.

Bikes will be given out to children Thursday at Master Buick GMC, 3710 Washington Road in Martinez.

Bicycle donations should be dropped off at the dealership.

The program is coordinated by Master Buick GMC, Master Chevrolet Cadillac, Andy Jordan’s Bicycle Warehouse, Good­will Industries and Safe Kids East Central.

Volunteers are always welcome at Columbia County Cares Inc., especially during the busy holiday season, said Dave Iverson, the director of the Appling food pantry.

“Since we are a 100 percent volunteer organization, I feel one of our most valuable donations is volunteers’ time,” he said.

Those interested can volunteer in many ways, such as stocking shelves or manning the front office, at the non-profit organization, which serves a monthly average of 490 families who need temporary assistance.

In December, volunteers will pass out blankets and coats donated by Action Ministries-Augusta to families coming to pick up food.

A Christmas tree with toys underneath is also part of Columbia County Care’s seasonal festivities.

“When people come in to get food, they’re allowed to pick out a couple of toys around the Christmas tree for their family depending on the number of kids in their family,” Iverson said.

Columbia County Cares is open from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

Those interested in volunteering, giving money or donating items, including food and clothing, can stop by the food pantry at 1959 Appling-Harlem Highway or call (706) 541-2834.

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