A monthly roundup of ways to improve our community

Published: Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 7, 2011 at 10:07 a.m.



Volunteer at the thrift store

You can make a difference in the lives of local children as a volunteer at the Children's Home Society of Florida Family Treasures Thrift Shop, 710 N. Main Street. All of the store's proceeds support our programs in adoption, family counseling and prevention of child abuse and neglect. The store also provides our clients with clothing, furniture and toys free of charge.

Volunteers are needed Tuesday through Saturday year-round to help accept and sort donations, assist customers and "shop" at the store for CHS clients. Upcoming volunteer orientations are scheduled for Jan. 15 and Jan. 23.

Contact Rebeka Burns at 334-0955, or e-mail for an application and to RSVP for orientation.


Fight hunger after holidays

Thank you, Gainesville, for all of your giving to the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank during the holiday season. The holidays are over, but the need for food assistance continues.

You can make a difference to the poor and the needy of our community by donating canned and other nonperishable food items to the food bank.

Volunteers are always welcome and needed to sort and shelve food. For a bigger impact, you can initiate a food drive at your work, church or other organization or club. To learn more, call 336-0839, or visit


Docents needed

Be part of a fun, no-stress volunteer opportunity that will get you outdoors and offer you the chance to participate in and learn about this unique 1880s farm.

Dudley Farm on West Newberry Road is looking for people to work, as their schedule allows, in the vegetable and flower gardens, assist with school tours, general maintenance and as docents. We also need those who can play stringed instruments (piano, fiddle, banjo, guitar) at special events.

Call 472-1142 for information.


Food for the pets

Home Van Pet Care Project is part of the Home Van, a local nonprofit. The Home Van travels to various locations to share food with homeless people. The Pet Care Project provides food for their pets. It distributes both cat food and dog food, sometimes pays spay/neuter fees at local veterinary clinics and provides shelter and hay at campsites.

Home Van Pet Care Project needs toys and catnip mice, new food bowls, bags of cat food and dog food (Friskies Seafood Sensations, Meow Mix Original and Purina Brands are best loved by the cats, and the dogs prefer Pedigree, Kibbles & Bits and Purina Brands).

You can drop off pet food or other items, or schedule a pick-up by calling coordinator Elizabeth Howard at 473-9423 or e-mailing

Financial contributions should be made payable to Society of St. Vincent DePaul, our nonprofit umbrella. All donations are tax-deductible. Our mailing address is P.O. Box 14305, Gainesville, FL 32604.


Donations needed for yard sales

Gainesville Pet Rescue is in need of donations for upcoming yard sales. All of the profits from these sales go to support GPR's mission of rescuing adoptable cats and dogs from the Alachua County Shelter and providing medical care and foster homes for them until permanent, loving homes are found.

Best selling items are jewelry, bric-a-brac and decorative items. We cannot accept clothing, large appliances or large furniture. Cell phones are also collected.

Donations can be dropped off at GPR at 5403 SW Archer Road from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Call 692-4773 for more information. Tax receipts are available for donations.


Help a child in need

So many children are removed from their parents due to the trauma of abuse and neglect. They are thrown into a world of unfamiliar people and surroundings. A Guardian ad Litem is someone who understands their needs and is their voice in court.

Volunteers meet with the child, family members, foster parents and service providers and make recommendations to the court. Our volunteers make each child count by speaking up for them and assuring they do not fall through the cracks.

It takes about 6-12 hours of your time per month. Training, legal and staff support are provided. The next class begins Jan. 24. Call 374-3656, ext. 2238, or go to for information.


Volunteers needed to greet clients

The University of Florida Veterinary Medical Center's small animal hospital is recruiting volunteers to assist in the reception area. The small animal hospital sees more than 13,000 animals annually, including all types of domestic animals, from cats and dogs to exotic pets, as well as wildlife.

We need individuals with excellent communication skills, a sincere and caring manner and a genuine interest in all animals. Responsibilities include greeting clients and visitors at the door and directing them to the check-in counter and following up with clients to make sure their animal patients are seen in a timely manner.

Qualified applicants must be 18 years of age or older and have the ability to work well with others. For more information, e-mail Joy Dias at


Volunteers needed for tax assistance

The Alachua County AARP Tax-Aide program, a free volunteer-run tax assistance and preparation service is looking for volunteers for either tax counseling or client greeter positions.

Each year from Feb. 1 through April 15, AARP Tax-Aide volunteers prepare federal tax returns for low- and middle-income taxpayers, with special attention to those ages 60 and older. Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds are welcome.

For more information about becoming a local AARP Tax-Aide volunteer, e-mail


Donate supplies for animals in need

Alachua County Animal Services is the temporary home for stray, abandoned, abused, neglected and homeless animals. With the help of the public, volunteers and local rescue groups, we try to create happy endings for the animals in our care.

We are currently in desperate need of Kuranda dog beds, towels, milk replacer for puppies and kittens, toys, scratching posts, soft treats, canned dog and cat food, hand sanitizer and medical supplies. To help with donations, you may drop items off at the shelter.

We also have many wonderful animals in need of a loving, forever home. Alachua County Animal Services is located at 3400 NE 53rd Ave. Call 264-6870 for more information. Shelter hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.


Group needs board members

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida is freedom's watchdog, working daily in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend individual rights and personal freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We are actively recruiting members to our chapter's board of directors. An interest in serving the community, a passion of social justice and a willingness to volunteer four to 10 hours a month are required.

The chapter meets on the first Monday of each month at the North Central PRIDE Community Center at 6 p.m. If you are interested in joining our board or learning more about our work, please contact us via e-mail at or call 904-353-7600.


Books needed for prisoners

Books For Prisons of Florida Inc. collects books and distributes them to 23 correctional facilities in North Central Florida. Current hardback or paperback fiction books are needed to fill the prison and jail libraries.

We cannot accept audio books, magazines or religious texts, but self-help books, fiction and similar books for adults and young adults are desperately needed. Any donations we cannot use are donated to the Friends of the Library.

Books can be dropped off at 2321-B NW 41st St. A receipt for tax-deductible book donations will be provided if requested. Call 375-8195 for information.


Caregivers deserve a break

It can be tough to ask for the help we need. Taking care of a loved one who cannot be left alone can be draining for the caregiver, both emotionally and physically. Our screened volunteers can step in for a few hours once a week to give you a bit of time to yourself, to get away for a needed break or run errands. Call Linda Gardner at 372-0294 for details.

This is a free, nondenominational service.

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