Many people in Georgia feel that assisting charities during the holiday season is a priority. While one-time cash donations are important, these organizations that support low-income families also need volunteers, year round. This list of shelters, pantries and temporary toy drives is a resource to consider during this special time and also whenever altruism fits into your schedule.
The Atlanta Children’s Shelter
607 Peachtree St. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30308
The Atlanta Children’s Shelter offers aid directly to kids. Children are given free day care, support and education while the organization provides services to their families as well. The group’s nearly 30 years of work has touched “almost 8,000 children and provided services for more than 5,000 families.” The Children’s Shelter solicits donations in a number of ways for the convenience of its patrons. These include monthly scheduled gifts, one-time gifts, volunteer work and many more options such as event sponsorships by groups. For volunteer information, you can contact the shelter via email: Volunteers@acsatl.org
Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation
235 Peachtree St. N.E. #1750
Atlanta, GA 30303
Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation also provides aid to children and their families, but the group’s focus is legal service for the needy. The victims of domestic abuse and other family crises are given special attention by the AVLF. The foundation is comprised of attorney volunteers and law students who offer advice and representation to low-income families. In many cases, the AVLF offers pro bono aid. Specific programs like The Saturday Lawyer Program deal with such issues as landlord-tenant disputes, unpaid wage claims and debt defense. Likewise, The Eviction Defense Program allows low-income tenants to gain representation when facing eviction. In addition to simple cash donations, the organization will also host special events such as wine tastings wherein interested parties can participate in indirect ways.
Clark’s Christmas Kids Toy Drive
See website for multiple locations and dates
Clark’s Christmas Kids Toy Drive is an annual event where local celebrity Clark Howard partners with The Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services to collect toys for foster children. This organization is special in that it sets up local collection stations in the opportune locations of area Wal-Mart stores. In this way, the group hopes to advertise to those doing their own holiday shopping. Traditionally, the toys collected in this way make up half of all toys delivered to foster children throughout the state. For those too geographically distant to deliver toys, online cash donations are also possible.
995 Roswell St. N.E., Suite 100
Marietta GA 30060
Cobb Christmas is now over 50 years old and provides those in need with both toys and food at a critical time. This organization is actually a collaborative combination of local government, individuals, various charities and corporate sponsors. The holidays can be especially stressful for families living at and near poverty levels, and this one-time offering of gifts and food can be an important way to lift the spirits of those in need. Volunteers at this event will be especially critical for set-up between December 9 through December 12, and then for distribution from Friday, December 13 through Sunday, December 15.
P.O. Box 1717
Marietta, GA 30061
Must Ministries deals with the year-round issue of feeding families with year-round service. In addition to the Christmas season, Must is also active during Thanksgiving with its Gobble Jog in the Marietta Square. Similar to other organizations mentioned, Must Ministries offers food, housing, shelter, toys and employment services to those in need. Over the years, it has turned its aid into a science and has provided a useful reference tool for donors:
- $25 will provide four families the supplies for a birthday cake, plates and candies to celebrate a special day
- $100 will feed a child for the entire summer (10 weeks)
- $100 will feed a family of four for a week from our food pantry
- $250 will purchase approximately 100 hot meals at the Loaves and Fishes Community Kitchen
- $500 will provide 24 families with a Thanksgiving dinner to take home including a five-pound turkey
With a BFA in Digital Media, Sean Mills has worked for design firms with clients across the United States. He has worked as an illustrator and visual designer, and has shown paintings in juried exhibitions. He currently works as a studio artist and writer in Atlanta, Georgia. His work can be found at Examiner.com.