Just like the Redeem Project’s Hope for Christmas, many local organizations, businesses and events offer up ways the community can donate, volunteer and/or raise money to support individuals and families in need during the holiday season.
In addition, numerous local nonprofits support a variety of causes to help children, adults, seniors and animals. Organizations like the Council for Drug Free Youth, Jefferson City Rape Abuse and Crisis Service (RACS) and Special Learning Center regularly need volunteers, including extra help during the holidays. Contact an organization, local church, school, hospital or social service agency to find out about volunteer opportunities available.
Many of those same groups have holiday wish lists, knowing that people give back during this time of year. For example, the Boys and Girls Club needs toys (dolls, Barbie’s, Matchbox cars, blocks, LEGOs, toy kitchen and food items, dramatic play costumes), puzzles for younger children, newly released video games that are teen rated or younger, and board games for their children’s activities.
Here are a few ways to give during the holidays, attend holiday themed events that support local causes and seasonal volunteer opportunities in Jefferson City.
Note: This is a sampling; not all programs, events and organizations are listed. Share your holiday program, charitable event or volunteer need at HER Magazine’s Facebook or Twitter pages, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion.
• Salvation Army Angel Tree Toy Shop, Red Kettle campaign, holiday meals and more: The Salvation Army provides numerous services for individuals and families in need, including the Center of Hope homeless shelter, life skill and GED classes, a food pantry and clothing distribution, community meals, ministries and more. During the holidays, the organization hosts its Angel Tree Toy Shop where parents of children in need sign up to come in and pick two new toys for their children. The demand for toys is always greater than the amount of toys donated, so both financial and toy donations are needed to make sure no child is left out. Volunteers can also ring bells during the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle season, held in November and December. Taking time to stand out at participating locations, volunteers ring the bell, interact with the community and raise money for Salvation Army programs and services. The Salvation Army also serves a community meal at Center of Hope on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. Volunteers are needed, as well as donations of cookies, non-cream pies, turkeys, potatoes and other side dishes. Donations at its Family Thrift Store benefit the organization. For more information, call 573-635-1975 or visit them online.
• Samaritan Center Thanksgiving Kits and Christmas Adoption Program: The Samaritan Center provides food for families and individuals throughout the year. Non-perishable food items in regular need include dry pasta, canned tomatoes, canned soup, canned meat, meals in a can (like ravioli and spaghetti), cereal, tuna, peanut butter, jelly, beans and canned fruit. Beginning in November, the center will hand out Thanksgiving kits to each family, serving more than 1,600 last year. Included in the kits are boxed gelatin, canned cranberry, boxed stuffing, chicken broth, marshmallows, canned yams, brown sugar, canned pumpkin, canned fruit and a turkey or a turkey breast. The Samaritan Center also encourages the community to visit Santa’s Workshop and help families in need through its Christmas Adoption program. Donors purchase gifts for individuals or families up to five people. For more information about these programs, call volunteer executive director Marylyn DeFeo at 573-634-7776, stop by the Samaritan Center at 13010 E. McCarty or visit midmosamaritancenter.org.
• U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots: The national toy collection and distribution campaign reaches more than 700 communities nationally, with more than 75 counties in Missouri hosting local Toys for Tots programs. The Jefferson City/Cole County program provided a new unwrapped toy for 2,660 children in Audrain, Cole, Howard, Moniteau and Osage counties last year, with Moniteau also hosting its own program this year. Find out how to contribute and more information by visiting the local program’s page at Facebook.com/pg/TOYSFORTOTSJC or toysfortots.org.
• An Affordable Christmas through SOMA Community Church: In its third year, the SOMA Community Church created this program to help under-resourced families throughout Jefferson City at Christmas. With assistance from other partnering churches, the fundraising drive allows the community to give in many ways: monetary contributions that allow the organizers to purchase new, unwrapped toys, coats, hats, scarves and other immediate needs the families may have; purchase of toys for children ages 0-12 through an Amazon wish list; volunteer during the Affordable Christmas event Dec. 9 at SOMA Community Church; or form a donation collection off-site. The final date to give to this program is Dec. 3. For more information, visit somajc.org/affordable-christmas.
• Thanksgiving Day Pie Run: The Jefferson City Road Runners Club will hosts its annual 5K and 10K run, and 5K walk, at 8:30 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23. The race begins and ends at the Parks and Rec Multipurpose Building on North Jefferson. Participants are encouraged to bring a canned food item and register for door prizes, with food benefitting the Samaritan Center. The first three finishers in each event will be awarded trophies and Chez Monet pies. Medals will be given to the top three finishers (runners and walkers) in nine age groups. Registration is open and available at runjeffcity.org, and last-minute registration available from 6-8 p.m. Nov. 22 at McClung Park Indoor Pavilion at 931 McClung Park Drive. Early registration is $25 for adults, $20 for club members and $15 for children ages 15 and younger. Race day registration, which is available from 7:30-8:15 a.m. at the event site, with race morning fees at $30 for adults, $25 for club members and $15 for children. For more information, contact John at 573-616-9233 or email@example.com, or visit runjeffcity.org.
• Community Thanksgiving dinners – Several area churches and organizations will host free holiday dinners for the community, including the following events on Nov. 23: at 11 a.m. New Bloomfield United Methodist Church (323 Redwood Drive in New Bloomfield), from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. First Baptist Church (301 E. Capitol Ave.) and 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in Kertz Hall at Immaculate Conception Parish (1206 E. McCarty St.). Volunteers are encouraged, as they are for the Boys and Girls Club’s family style Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 21 and its Christmas party on Dec. 21 for approximately 300 kids. Contact Stephanie Johnson at 573-634-2582 or firstname.lastname@example.org for how to contribute.
• Optimist Club of Jefferson City Christmas Tree Sale Fundraiser: The Optimist Club of Jefferson City will host its largest fundraiser of the year, its Christmas tree lot, the day after Thanksgiving on Nov. 24. Located at the lot at the corner of Dunklin and Broadway, guests can purchase a live tree ranging in price from $25 to $75 and from four to 12 feet tall. The club raises approximately $15,000 each year, which benefits the W.H.A.L.E. program, the Pinewood Derby, dictionaries to every fourth-grader in Cole County, project graduation events, Boys’ and Girls’ State, Special Olympics, the D.A.R.E. program and many other services for local children.
• #Giving Tuesday: Established in 2012, #Giving Tuesday follows Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday – this year on Nov. 28 – to help kick off the charitable giving season. Many nonprofit organizations, schools and other 501(c)3 groups will spearhead their own #Giving Tuesday campaign. Check in to see if your favorite organization is participating in #Giving Tuesday, with the Missouri River Regional Library Foundation as one group that raised more than $4,800 last year for renovations from the one day of fundraising. Visit givingtuesday.org.
• Strut Your Style Luncheon and Fashion Show: The 2017 breast cancer survivor holiday show will be held on Nov. 29 at Capitol Plaza Hotel. The event begins with a silent auction at 10:30 a.m., including 2-foot tall Christmas trees that will be centerpieces and decorated by local florists and gift businesses. Hospitals and health providers will exhibit at the event, containing information about breast cancer and early detection. After the luncheon starts at 11 a.m., a fashion show will hit the runway, featuring winter clothing and accessories from Dillards, Saffee’s, Samuel’s Tuxedo and American Shoe, hair from Super Hair and makeup from JCMG Laser & Vein Medspa. Twenty-three breast cancer survivor models will participate in the fashion show, including three men. Three oncologists and two surgeons will escort the models. All proceeds benefit the Community Breast Care Project, which provides education, financial and emotional support to the Mid-Missouri regarding awareness of breast health and breast cancer treatment. Reservations are $35 per person, and tables are available. Make a reservation by calling Jodi at 573-418-0457 or Dawn at 573-896-5500 by Nov. 20.
• Jingle Dash 5K: This popular event returns Dec. 2 in downtown Jefferson City, raising money for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Participants run or walk in the 5K and are encouraged to dress in holiday attire to secure one of three “best holiday attire” prizes. Runner awards will be presented to the overall male and female finisher, the top three male/female finishers in each age category and to the overall male/female walker. Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. in the parking lot between Arris Pizza and Cafe Via Roma and end at 8:30 a.m. The race will begin at 9 a.m. at the intersection of Jefferson and High streets. Registration by Nov. 17 guarantees runners a Santa hat, and early registration through Nov. 27 is $20 for adults and $15 for youth 14 and younger. Early bird packet pick up is from 4-6 p.m. Dec. 1 at Knowles YMCA. Day of the event registration is $25 for adults and $20 for youth. For more information or to register, call 573-634-3290 or visit jcymca.org.
• Wreaths for Heroes programs: Each December, Wreaths for Heroes volunteers lay more than 1,500 holiday wreaths on soldiers’ graves at Jefferson City’s National Cemetery. Inspired by the efforts of Wreaths for Heroes organizers Pete and Lorraine Adkins, Dan and Charlotte Schnieders decided to set up and operate a Wreaths of Heroes program in Taos and Linn, the couple’s hometowns. The wreath-laying is accompanied by a ceremony including prayer, song, patriotic speeches and military honors. Those wreaths are placed on the same December date as the nationally recognized Wreaths Across America effort and remain in place until early January. The Taos Wreaths for Heroes will take place at 9 a.m. Dec. 16 at the St. Francis Xavier Cemetery, with wreath laying for about 140 veterans’ graves to follow. A similar ceremony is set for 1 p.m. Dec. 16 in the St. George Church in Linn followed by the wreath laying at the cemetery. Volunteers are still needed and contributions can be made to all programs. Questions about the Taos and Linn programs should be directed to 573-635-2662 or at the Taos Wreaths for Heroes or Linn Wreaths for Heroes Facebook pages. Find out more about Jefferson City’s Wreaths for Heroes on Facebook.