The Season for Giving
The holidays are wonderful in so many ways, but for some it can be a difficult time. In this economic climate, more people than ever before need assistance, and we can all help through our time or contributions.
Toys for Tots/Gifts for Teens
FiveCap coordinates the Toys for Tots/Gifts for Teens program for Mason and Manistee counties. Each year, hundreds of needy children receive toys for Christmas. Please consider donating a monetary gift or a new toy, which can be dropped off in the colorful barrels found at numerous locations in Manistee and Mason counties. For more information, call (231) 757-3785. Parents/guardians may apply for the Toys for Tots/Gifts for Teens at the Mason County FiveCAP office in Scottville.
"Spirit of Giving"
West Shore Bank teams with Shop-N-Save of Ludington and Benzonia, Hansen Foods in Hart and Family Fare in Manistee for the "Spirit of Giving" event. Special pricing is available for the purchase of a complete dinner to be distributed to local food pantries in time for Christmas. Donations are being accepted at any of West Shore Bank's banking offices now through November 29. With the money raised, West Shore Bank distributes certificates to food pantries in Mason, Oceana, Manistee, and Benzie counties, which can be redeemed for a complete dinner. Every $12.50 buys a complete holiday dinner for one family in surrounding counties. West Shore Bank will match the first $2,500 raised. In 2019, 786 meals were distributed to local food banks, after donations totaling $9,869 were collected.
Once again The Salvation Army is teaming up with the Marine Corps Toys for Tots and St. Simon's Catholic Church to provide a holiday meal, toys for children, and additional food for people in Mason County. Applications will be taken at the Salvation Army Corps-Community Center at 116 E. Melendy St. in Ludington. Identification is needed at time of application.
The Salvation Army partners with St. Simon's Church "Each One Reach One" project to provide a food box with food for 3-4 days in addition to the Christmas dinner. Toys or age-appropriate gifts are provided for children 17 years of age and younger. Households without children are also welcome to apply for Holiday Assistance.
The familiar bell ringers outside many shopping establishments brave the cold and snow to help raise money for area families. You can help by volunteering to be a bell ringer, even if you only have an hour or two. All it takes is a smile and a bit of Christmas spirit. The Salvation Army is also looking for individuals or families to sponsor a family for the holidays. If you can help, call (231) 843-3711 or (231) 757-3907. And as you're rushing in and out of stores, remember to drop some money into the kettle. It will surely be put to good use.
Many area food banks (including the Salvation Army) run low on supplies, just when people need food the most. Local churches, schools, and businesses organize drives where you can donate canned and boxed goods, personal items, and paper products. While you're grocery shopping, it's so easy to pick up a few extra items to share with others.
Coats & Boots for Kids
Staying warm throughout the winter is not easy for everyone...some kids don't own a coat or boots. The United Methodist Church of Ludington has set a goal to provide warm winter clothing for Ludington students Pre-K through 12th grade. Items needed are gently used or new coats, boots, snow pants, hats, waterproof gloves, scarves, or monetary donations. Last year they gave out over 300 coats and 150 pairs of boots. Donations can be dropped off at the United Methodist Church of Ludington at 5810 Bryant Road Monday-Friday between 9am-4pm. Distribution usually begins November 1st and runs through February 28. Call the church for more information at (231) 843-8340.
Since 1950, Church Women United have decorated a tree with handmade mittens, scarves, and gloves. All clothing is donated to the children of Mason County. Please consider helping out the Mitten Tree, located inside Fifth Third Bank in front of Larson's Ace Hardware. They will be accepting items from 9:30am-4pm December 3-6, 2019. The Salvation Army distributes the mittens and scarves so that all children can have a nice, warm winter. Donations of yarn and cash will also be accepted. Attendants from local churches are present to accept donations.
This annual Christmas outreach project sponsored by The West Shore Pregnancy Care Center assists the Center's clients. Donor families provide a laundry basket of household goods (the Center provides the list: toilet paper, toothpaste, laundry detergent, etc.) and one warm outfit for each child in the family. This frees up a client and family from the burden of the necessities and allows them to then purchase the "fun" items for Christmas. For more information, call West Shore Pregnancy Care Center at (231) 843-7094; the Center is located at 603 E. Tinkham Ave.
Communities Overcoming Violent Encounters helps clients all year by providing shelter for women and children caught in domestic violence situations. Drop off unwrapped gifts at their office at 905 E. Ludington Avenue. Volunteers are needed to set up and wrap the gifts. For more information, call Cindy with COVE at (231) 843-2541.
Lakeshore Animal Friends
Lakeshore Animal Friends rescues animals and pays for spay/neuter for all animals. It also provides a humane education program to all county schools, fosters animals from Mason County Animal Control, provides funding for medical care for animals at MCAC as well as for foster animals. This would not be possible without the support of the community. Volunteers can donate their time and efforts at one of the LAF fundraisers; they can also donate funds to enable LAF to continue its spay/neuter program and to fund special projects. A "Gift of Life" of $100 or more can give a homeless animal another chance. Call Lakeshore Animal Friends at (231) 843-1414 or write LAF at P.O.Box 503, Ludington MI. 49431.
Senior Angel Trees
There are several Mason County senior homes and facilities that have individual residents with no family with whom they will share the holiday season. The Scottville and Ludington Area Senior Centers sponsor Angel Trees each year to help make the holidays brighter for these individuals. Tags with gift requests are placed on the trees at both senior centers. Those interested can select a tag, purchase that gift, and return it to the senior center for holiday wrapping and gifting. For more information, call the Ludington Area Senior Center at (231) 845-6841 or the Scottville Senior Center at (231) 757-4705.
Lights and Love Christmas Tree
Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital Foundation is sponsoring a fundraising program to decorate a "Lights and Love" Christmas tree on the hospital's south lawn. Each donation of $20 adds a light to the tree and a name to the honor roll of those being recognized. All donations will support the hospital's Family Birthing Center.
The true meaning of the season lies within us. There are so many ways to give, and it takes so little time and money to fulfill the Christmas dreams of many. Let's band together as a community to make sure the holiday season is warm, happy, and bright for everyone.