Vermont charities make call for helpTweet
By Tim Johnson, Free Press Staff Writer • Thursday, November 11, 2010
Incomes and family necessities may be dwindling as the recession lingers, but here are two things not in short supply as the holiday season approaches: volunteering and donation opportunities.
The Salvation Army needs bell ringers. You don’t have to wear the uniform, just be presentable. If you prefer not to brave the elements and the crowds of shoppers, you can join other volunteers who will be sorting, wrapping and distributing hundreds of gift packages that the Salvation Army will be sending off to hundreds of families a few days before Christmas.
The Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf needs Thanksgiving turkeys — 2,700 of them. How many are on hand already? “Four or five,” director Rob Meehan said.
Last year, 2,706 turkeys went out to needy families, Meehan said. The hope is that this year’s campaign will match that total. The need hasn’t diminished.
“Since 2007, we’ve had over 2,000 new people in our grocery program, up 20 percent,” Meehan said.
Sweetwaters, which served Thanksgiving dinner to nearly 600 people last year, will do it again Nov. 25. Many of the volunteers who help put this food spectacle on have been pitching in for years, but help is needed for the coat giveaway that takes place the same day as the dinner. Last year, Sweetwaters gave away about 1,000 coats.
Toys For Kids, run by the Marine Corps League, could use a few more barrel monitors. No, you don’t have to be a former Marine.
Hundreds of red barrels can be found in shopping areas around the county, statewide coordinator John Welsh said. Volunteer monitors empty the barrels when they’re full and take the toys to collection sites, after which they’re distributed to about a dozen agencies — including the Salvation Army.
Volunteer, giving opportunities Local charities need the following volunteers and contributions.
• Volunteer bell-ringers for a dozen sites in the area. Call Maj. David Dickson to arrange a day or a shift, 864-6991.
• 50 volunteers to sort and pack gift donations, Dec. 14-18, 20-21; and 30 volunteers to help with distribution, Dec. 21-23. Call Marti Tourville, director of Social Services Ministry, at 864-6991.
Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf
• 2,700 turkeys, fresh or frozen, for needy families in Chittenden County. Donors may drop off turkeys and other food donations at the food shelf, 228 N. Winooski Ave., 8 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays through Nov. 23, and 3-6 p.m. Nov. 24.
Toys for Kids
• More volunteers to monitor gift barrels in the area. Call John Welsh, state coordinator, 872-0354.
• Winter-wear and desserts: Sweetwaters’ coat drive culminates with a giveaway on Thanksgiving morning. Donors may drop off clean winter coats, snow pants, hats, mittens and gloves (attached to each other) to the Windjammer Restaurant or the Best Western Hotel on Williston Road, 24 hours a day every day through Nov. 22. Coats may also be dropped off at Williston Central School during school hours through Nov. 19. Volunteers are needed to sort the coats the day before and to help distribute them, starting at 8 a.m. Thanksgiving morning.
• Desserts for the Thanksgiving dinner — baked goods such as pies, cookies and cakes — may be dropped off at Sweetwaters, on the southeast corner of Church and College streets, starting Nov. 22 through Thanksgiving morning. Canned goods and boxed items also are welcome.
For other seasonal volunteering opportunities, go to the United Way of Chittenden County Volunteer Center at http://volunteer.truist.com/chittenden/volunteer, or call 860-1677.