VOLUNTEER BEAT

Are you ready to help for the holidays?


Published: Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 12, 2012 at 8:11 p.m.

The holidays already? Now is the time to think about giving back as we approach the holiday season, during which we start to plan for parties, presents and family. Soon you will see an increase in the number of holiday-themed commercials. However, in our community there are more and more families who will be looking for help in this season of giving.

Every time I help with a food distribution in Micanopy, I am amazed at the growing number of people who are asking for help. To find a distribution center near you, call the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank at 352-336-0839. Then contact the distribution group and find out how you can help.

If you don't want to help at a distribution center, then think about holding a food drive and donating directly to the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank. I keep hearing that food supplies are down. If you don't want to donate to the food bank, then check with your local elementary school and find out if they are doing the "food" back pack program for students.

Consider giving donations of food items, gift cards or money to one of these organizations:

-- Salvation Army, 352-376-1743, ext. 308

-- St. Francis House, 352-378-9079, Kent Vann

-- High Springs Social Services/Catholic Charities, 352-454-1000

-- Gainesville Community Ministry, 352-372-8162

-- Catholic Charities (Gainesville), 372-0294

-- Bradford Ecumenical Ministry, (904) 964-2459

-- Sardis Baptist Church (Worthington Springs), contact Rev. Tim Rose at (386) 496-3685 or timrose@alltel.net

-- Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office, contact Jerry Keirnan at (386) 454-5145

-- Waldo Citizen Center, Mary Ann Rich at 468-2336

If you are a business, consider organizing a food drive and donating to Trinity United Methodist Church Thanksgiving Basket Program, 4000 NW 53 Ave., 352-376-6615, ext. 137. Or go to http://www.thansgivingbasketsgnv.org for more information about the Thanksgiving Baskets.

I am often asked how to get family members involved in volunteering. Now is the time to start investigating your opportunities. Find out when food distribution takes place at different organizitions and sign up to volunteer. Call an organization such as Trinity United Methodist to help put baskets together, or start a food drive in your neighborhood or at your church.

If you are someone who has lost employment and have not yet found a job, volunteer. You will network with others, be productive and happier and might even find a new passion to pursue.

Remember, giving of your resources and your time makes our community stronger and brings personal happiness, a great reason to volunteer. Happy volunteering.

For more information, contact pbellis@gator.net.

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