Volunteering during the holiday season

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From 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, Advocates for Children will host their “2014 Holiday Festival for Children,” at Saint Dominic Academy in Auburn. Entertainers at this event will include shows by popular singer-songwriter Rick Charette, juggler Will Silvers, Spark’s Ark, Pelletier’s Karate, and others. Additional activities include a bounce house, take-home crafts, a cake walk, Santa Claus and more. Volunteers are needed to manage the bounce house and craft table, serve popcorn, cotton candy and other food, park cars, set up/clean up, and other activities. If you would like to help with this event by volunteering your time or donating items, call Dori or Donna at 207-783-3990. Either will be happy to help you schedule a time to volunteer and/or provide you with a “wish list” of items that will help to make this holiday celebration brighter for many children.

Also, are you a quilter or a knitter? Do you love to crochet? Advocates for Children is always happy to accept donations from local quilting and knitting clubs of handmade quilts and blankets for distribution to children and families in need. Call or send an email to info@advocatesforchildren.net for more information.

New Beginnings

According to Director Rachel Spencer-Reed, “Each year New Beginnings distributes holiday gifts to the youth in our emergency shelter, outreach, and transitional living programs.” New Beginnings is asking for help with their efforts to give 80 local youths a holiday gift bag containing the following items: a $5 gift certificate to Dunkin’ Donuts or Subway, a fleece throw or blanket, a new towel and washcloth set, a 4-pack of toilet paper, deodorant, razor and shaving cream, a package of adult-size underwear, and holiday candy or granola bars.

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New Beginnings is also looking for new, unwrapped gifts for teens such as art supplies, fleece jackets, slippers, twin-size sheet sets, alarm clocks and movie passes, as well as gloves, backpacks and other items from their wish list. Drop off dates are Dec. 15 and 16, in Lewiston.

For more information regarding volunteering your time, donating items or otherwise sponsoring this “holiday drive for youth,” contact New Beginnings at 207-795-4077 or info@newbeginmaine.org.

Androscoggin Land Trust

The Androscoggin Land Trust is dedicated to the management of local trails and the conservation of land and open spaces. ALT is looking for help this holiday season, and throughout the year, with their volunteer stewardship program.

To learn more about the volunteer stewardship program, call ALT at 207-782-2302. Better yet, join ALT for “a winter walk” on Dec. 13, to learn about being a steward, and about the Androscoggin Land Trust’s efforts to make the Androscoggin River Valley accessible to everyone. This easy 1-mile walk on the Barker Mill Trail in New Auburn with its view of the Little Andy and new foot bridges is, according to Michael Auger of ALT, “part of the Androscoggin greenway vision.” This “winter walk” will begin at Rolly’s Diner at 10 a.m.

Tri-County Mental Health Services

“We have one volunteer opportunity around the holidays,” said Marcella Bernard of Tri-County Mental Health: The “Tree of Honor,” which honors veterans and active-duty servicemen and women who serve our country. Community members will be invited to tie ribbons and messages of thankfulness and support to trees. A tree will be in place at the Auburn Mall from Dec. 1 to Jan. 1, with more details to come regarding a second tree that will be placed in Augusta.

For more information regarding how you can be a part of this opportunity, contact Marci Bernard at 207-783-9141 or mbernard@tcmhs.org.

The Center for Wisdom’s Women

According to Klara Tammany, “The Center for Widsom’s Women is a sacred and safe place that supports and empowers women.” The Center’s volunteers serve many functions at the Center during the holidays and throughout the year, including “staffing the front desk, teaching classes (crafts, cooking, etc.), and helping with housekeeping. “The biggest commitment,” explained Tammany, “is the role of companion.” To learn more about volunteer opportunities, contact Tammany at 207-513-3922.

There are other ways to support the Center for Wisdom’s Women. For example, the Center has recently become involved with the Magdalene Community of Thistle Farms in Nashville, Tenn. According to a recent press release, “Thistle Farms is a residential program and social enterprise of women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction.” The women of Thistle Farms have created handmade body products infused with essential oils which are now available for purchase at the Center for Wisdom’s Women. Also, those interested in hosting a party to introduce their friends to these products are welcome to call for more information.

For those who wish to donate items to the Center, said Tammany, “We are in constant need of feminine products and hygiene items that we give away.” Visit www.wisdomswomen.org for more information.

Good Shepherd Food Bank

For those who prefer to make a financial donation, or who simply like to do their shopping online, the Good Shepherd Food Bank’s virtual food drive is up and running. Visit https://www.gsfb.org/donate/vfd/ to learn how you can help. According to Rebecca Wright, “While our overall goal is to raise additional funds for holiday needs, the visuals [on the website] show how far we can stretch cash gifts due to our purchasing power.”

Tree Street Youth

This educational organization located in Lewiston, can use volunteers and donations year-round. Their website lists specific volunteering activities such as tutoring, mentoring, fundraising, cleaning and maintenance, sharing talents, career path presentations, coordinating games and activities and special events assistance. Information about donations can be found at treestreetyouth.org/donate/. For more information, call 207-577-6386 or email treestreetyouth@gmail.com.

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