While the holiday season traditionally is difficult for many, this year’s pandemic has caused even greater need. Here’s a list of local nonprofits working to make sure everyone has a great holiday season. Please do what you can to help, whether it’s donating money or time. While you’re at it, consider bringing a basket of homemade goodies, fresh fruit or colorful flowers to show your appreciation for the staff and volunteers at these nonprofits. To learn about many other ways to help throughout the year, visit www.volunteercherokee.org.
Cherokee County Homeless Veterans Program
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the program has been modified, but the focus remains the same: to make sure all disadvantaged veterans have a great Christmas. If you know of a veteran family that is in need, or know of an elderly veteran living alone, or you or your group would like to support the Adopt a Veteran program, contact program director Jim Lindenmayer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 678-983-7590, or Betty Lewis, of the American Legion Post 45 Auxiliary, at 770-318-6451.
The 28th annual event, on Nov. 26, is open to everyone. Organizers are partnering with Williamson Brothers Bar-B-Q in Canton to provide 2,000 free meals, by delivery or pickup, in Cherokee and Pickens counties. Local area emergency service personnel, as well as area hospital emergency staff, receive dinners. Current health guidelines/restrictions have caused a change in meal prep and menu. This meal will be: barbecue pulled pork, mac and cheese, green beans, traditional dressing and a dessert.
To order meals for delivery or pickup, email email@example.com, or call 470-232-5797 with your name, address and number of meals needed, along with an email address and a contact phone number. Dinners are delivered between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Meals requested for pickup will be available at Williamson Brothers, 1600 Marietta Highway, Canton.
Volunteers are needed to make deliveries; email firstname.lastname@example.org if interested. Donations can be made to Cherokee Thanksgiving Inc., and mailed to Cherokee Thanksgiving, 913 Lacy Road, Canton, GA. 30115. For more details, contact Cheryl Mosley at email@example.com or 678-296-7297.
Adopt a Senior 2020
The Cherokee County Senior Center is collecting gift items for local seniors: umbrellas and one-size-fits-all rain ponchos, $25 grocery gift cards, and a book of stamps. Place gifts in a holiday gift bag (no wrapping please). There is no need to register this year. Gift drop off is Nov. 2 – Dec.7, and Saturday drop off is 10 a.m.-noon Dec. 5. For more information, call 770-345-2675 or email JNMCEUEN@cherokeega.com. Gift drop off location is at the Cherokee County Senior Center, 1001 Univeter Road.
Cherokee Recreation & Parks Agency
The Cherokee Recreation & Parks Agency is collecting items for Cherokee County nursing centers, through the annual Hugs in a Blanket campaign, between Nov. 2 and Dec. 5. Donors can bring a new warm blanket and a pair of unisex slipper socks to the recreation center at 7545 Main St., Building 200, in Woodstock. 770-924-7768. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cherokee Family Violence Center
The center has a transitional housing complex with 72 apartments, and an emergency shelter that accommodates 12 women and children. The Thanksgiving wish list includes turkey or ham, fresh or boxed potatoes, gravy mix, corn or other canned vegetables, cranberry sauce, tomato or Alfredo sauce, pasta, pumpkin pie mix, instant coffee, hot chocolate mix, apple cider, fresh fruit, rolls, marshmallows, chocolate bars, graham crackers and cinnamon rolls. 770-479-1703. email@example.com.
The Children’s Haven
This nonprofit promotes the health and happiness of children in Cherokee who are affected by abuse. The group works to ensure their safety, advocate on their behalf, and respond to meet their needs. Holiday needs include Christmas pajamas (sizes newborn to teen) and bralettes or sports bras (XS-L). Target, Kohl’s & Best Buy gift cards are welcome. Volunteers always are needed to assist in the Caregiver’s Closet. Items can be dropped off at 1083 Marietta Highway in Canton. 770-345-3274.
Forever Fed hosts nine drive-through food pantries and two clothes closets each month. More than 1,000 families are served, and about 75,000 pounds of grocery support is distributed to the community every month, in response to this increased season of need. For a complete list of events and volunteer opportunities, check the website. If your organization would like to support us with a food drive or coat and blanket drive, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 678-883-314.
Goshen Valley Foundation
The holidays are a difficult time for foster children not living with their families. Goshen Valley Boys Ranch attempts to provide a memorable Christmas experience for foster children with the community’s help. This includes building traditions, talking about the true meaning of Christmas, and fulfilling some of the young people’s wants and needs through gift giving, to teach them that they are loved. With 42 kids to purchase gifts for, Goshen relies on the generosity of the community to fulfill these wishes. A list of gifts has been compiled on the Amazon website through a charity wish list. For details, visit http://goshenwishlist.org, email Executive Director Stacy Cooper at email@example.com, or call 770-796-4618 for a clickable link to view gifts the boys have requested.
MUST Ministries — Cherokee
The MUST Ministries Thanksgiving Food Box Program long has been a source of help and hope to those living in poverty in Cherokee County. To help your neighbors in need, MUST is collecting donations of canned green beans, corn, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes. Also requested are boxes or packets of mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, cornbread, stuffing and gravy mixes (no glass please). Monetary donations for turkeys and frozen pies are the most helpful. Nonperishable items can be dropped off 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. through Nov. 13. Drop-offs are at MUST’s Canton location at 111 Brown Industrial Parkway. Please call Kendall Jones at 770-721-2923 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The food pantry is seeking partners to help provide Thanksgiving turkeys and family meal boxes for 700 local families who are having financial difficulties. Never Alone’s partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank allows it to purchase food at greatly discounted prices. Please consider making a tax deductible donation online at www.NeverAlone.org, or by check, made payable to and mailed to: Never Alone Outreach, P.O. Box 1904, Woodstock, GA 30188.
Operation Christmas Child
Representatives will be collecting donations of filled shoeboxes Nov 16-23, but collection may look a little different this year. Check the website for updates on locations in the area that will be accepting shoeboxes, and for directions on donating or filling a virtual shoebox.
Papa’s Pantry/Encompass Ministries
Encompass Ministries and its food pantry offer year-round food and stability, as well as life-skills training assistance, Mondays-Saturdays. Special holiday needs: donations of turkeys, ham and nonperishable food items. A list of the top 10 food needs is kept up-to-date on the website. Tax-deductible donations also are accepted online at www.papaspantry.org. For more details, call 770-591-4730.
The Secret Santa program of the Department of Family and Children’s Services for Cherokee County offers a way for individuals, businesses, schools, churches or groups, such as Sunday school classes or Boy and Girl Scout troops, to help the more than 300 children in foster care this year. Sponsors can be matched with specific children or collect speciality items needed to service our program. All levels of contributions are accepted. All size donations are appreciated. For more details, call the Secret Santa phone line at 470-333-8673 or email email@example.com.