WNC Gives: A guide to regional, seasonal giving

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In the spirit of charitable giving this holiday season, Carolina Public Press is sharing seasonal volunteer and donation opportunities from throughout Western North Carolina through its WNC Gives series.

As an ongoing initiative this holiday season, we are publishing information about specific volunteer opportunities, donation needs or charitable projects going on throughout the 18 westernmost counties through December 2012 and the first part of January 2013.

Know of another WNC organization, agency or business with a volunteer opportunity, donation need or charitable project going on during the holidays? Then send us details at info@carolinapublicpress.org, including the organization’s full name and website address, the nature of the charitable endeavor, the applicable dates and contact information.

And let us know if you find an effort in this listing that inspires you to give, be it financial contributions or your time and talent. We’d like to know! Send us the details at info@carolinapublicpress.org, with the subject line WNC GIVES.


Adult Services Division of Buncombe County Health and Human Services
Senior Wish Tree: The Adult Services Division of Buncombe County Health and Human Services is sponsoring the Senior Wish Tree to provide Christmas for elderly individuals and/or adults with disabilities in our community who have no family support. Choose a name from one of the agency’s two Holiday Bulletin Boards, one of which is at the agency at 40 Coxe Ave. and the other which is at 35 Woodfin in Asheville. Wish lists will have some identifying characteristics such as name, gender, age and some specific wishes or gift ideas. Participants should then return wrapped gift to a location to be determined.

When: Gifts should be returned to the agency by Wed., Dec. 19.
Contact: Adult Protective Services of Buncombe County Health and Human Services Supervisor Roxann Sizemore at (828) 250-5721 or roxann.sizemore@buncombecounty.org.

Appalachian Therapeutic Riding Center
Winter Feed and Building Supplies: The Appalachian Therapeutic Riding Center in Burnsville is seeking donations of winter feed for horses and building supplies to help finish a classroom and therapy room.

When: Ongoing.
Contact: Miika Rolett at (828) 675-5814 or atrcriding@gmail.com.

Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity
Before the Christmas Jam, Lend a Hand at Asheville Area Habitat: Warren Haynes and others are performing at the 24th annual Christmas Jam in Asheville on Dec. 15, and proceeds from the Christmas Jam benefit the Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity. To celebrate this partnership, Asheville Area Habitat is again offering “Before the Jam, Lend a Hand” volunteer workdays. Spaces are available in a variety of placements to accommodate everyone’s interests and comfort levels including volunteer opportunities at the ReStore, at two new home construction sites and with a rehab project.

When: 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Thurs., Dec. 13 and Fri., Dec. 14
Contact: Opportunity Leader Alison Taylor via an email form here at Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s site.

Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Crisis Ministry
ABCCM “Return to Bethlehem”: Each Christmas season to thank the community, ABCCM presents “Return to Bethlehem,” a live drama depicting Bethlehem as it might have been at the time of Jesus’ birth. ABCCM needs cast members for various shifts for “Return to Bethlehem.”

When: 5-9 p.m., Thurs., Dec. 6; 5-9 p.m., Fri., Dec. 7; 1-9 p.m., Sat., Dec. 8; 1-6:30 p.m., Sun., Dec. 9.
Contact: Opportunity Leader Cheryl Wilson via an email form here at Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s site.

Asheville City Schools Preschool
Winter Warmer: The Winter Warmer holiday assistance program provides toys, books and clothing to children ages 0-5 who are enrolled in the Asheville City Schools Preschool. Many of the Preschool’s families are enrolled in the federally-funded Early Head Start and Head Start programs for low-income families and rely on this program to share the joy of the holidays with their children. Donate new toys, shoes, socks, clothes, baby dolls, balls, building toys, educational/learning toys and books. For safety and sanitation reasons, no used toys or clothes can be accepted. Toys should be free of small parts that could present choking hazards. Financial donations are also welcome.

When: Donations will be accepted through Fri., Dec. 7 at 441 Haywood Road, Asheville.
Contact: Opportunity Leader Elizabeth Sager via an email form here at Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s site.

Asheville Jewish Community Center
Annual Campaign: Donations to the Asheville Jewish Community Center’s annual campaign help to provide much-needed scholarships for children enrolled in the center’s 5-star early childhood education, after-school and summer day camp programs. Donations also support health and wellness programs as well as Jewish cultural and educational experiences that are open to all, helping to foster greater understanding in the diverse Asheville community.

When: Until Mon., Dec. 31.
Contact: Asheville Jewish Community Center Executive Director Lael Gray at (828) 253-0701 or lael@jcc-asheville.org.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina
Brighten the Holidays: Youth in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program are ages 6 to 17 and live with single parents or guardians, such as one parent, a grandparent or other relatives. Sponsors are needed for the Brighten the Holidays program for Little Brothers and Little Sisters, the majority of whom are on free or reduced lunches are in a family facing poverty. Volunteers are needed to shop for and wrap gifts. A list of gift ideas and sizes will be provided (ie. new toys, books, and clothing). Used items are not accepted. Local gift certificates are recommended for older youths.

When: Help is needed through Mon., Dec. 17 and wrapped gifts can be delivered between Mon., Dec. 10 and Thurs., Dec. 20.
Contact: Opportunity Leader Jamye Davis via an email form here at Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s site.

Black Mountain Neuro-Medical Treatment Center
Gift Wrappers for Residents: Volunteers are needed to wrap holiday presents for residents who reside at Black Mountain Neuro-Medical Treatment Center. Flexible three-hour shifts are available, and refreshments and materials will be provided.

When: 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Mon., Dec. 3; 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Tues., Dec. 4; and 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Wed., Dec. 5.
Contact: Opportunity Leader Brenda Hartley-Ross via an email form here at Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s site.

Buncombe County Public Libraries-Fairview Library
Holiday Giving Tree-Give a Book: Make a Fairview child’s holidays bright with the gift of reading. Visit the Fairview Library and select a card with pertinent information about a child, such as his or her gender and grade or reading level. Purchase a book with a $10 minimum retail value for that child and return it to the Fairview Library or donate $10 and the Friends of the Fairview Library will buy a book for a child.

When: By Fri., Dec. 14.
Contact: Fairview Library staff at (828) 250-6484 or fairview.library@buncombecounty.org.

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CarePartners Health Services
Holiday Gift Wrapping: CarePartners Health Services needs volunteers to share their gift wrapping talents for an extended project at the Asheville Mall in which customers make donations to CarePartners Hospice in exchange for this service. All materials are provided

When: Through Mon., Dec. 24
Contact: Opportunity Leader Sharon Johnson via an email form here at Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s site.

Children First/Communities in Schools of Buncombe County
Holiday Assistance Program: Each year, Children First/Communities in Schools of Buncombe County holds a Holiday Assistance Program where it matches sponsors with children in need. The children answer four questions: “What do you want,” “What do you need,” “What do you wear” and “What do you read.” Sponsors then purchase gifts and drop them off (wrapped) at our Family Resource Center at Emma where we deliver them to the family. There are still children who are in need of sponsors.

When: Mon., Dec. 3-Fri., Dec. 21.
Contact: Children First/Communities in Schools of Buncombe County Family Resource Center at Emma Coordinator/CIS Success Coordinator at Emma Elementary Lisa Barlow at (828) 768-3012 or (828) 252-4810.

Holiday Volunteer Needs: Children First/CIS needs volunteers to come to its Family Resource Center at Emma to help wrap presents and contact families when their gifts have arrived. Children First/CIS serves English-speaking and Spanish-speaking individuals so bilingual volunteers are welcome.

When: Mon., Dec. 3-Fri., Dec. 21.
Contact: Children First/Communities In Schools of Buncombe County Outreach & Engagement Coordinator Jodi Ford at (828) 768-2072 or JodiF@childrenfirstbc.org.

Clean Streak Inc.
“Gift-a-Child” Mills River: Clean Streak Inc. is sponsoring a food/toy/gift drive for children in Mills River who would otherwise not have food or gifts for the holidays. The drive is at the Clean Streak office at 235 Old Turnpike Road in Mills River. The event also will feature Star 104.3 FM broadcasting live and free lunch for everyone who donates.

When: 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sat., Dec. 8.
Contact: Clean Streak Inc. Owner/CEO Horace L. Adell Jr. at (828) 891-8800 or horaceljr@bellsouth.net.

Council on Aging of Buncombe County
Ten Thousand Villages Shopping Night: Ten Thousand Villages in Asheville is hosting a shopping night in which 15 percent of all sales will benefit the Council on Aging of Buncombe County.

When: 5-8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 30.
Contact: Council on Aging of Buncombe County Executive Assistant Zoe Trout (828) 277-8288, Ext. 302 or zoet@coabc.org.

WCQS presents PASTYME (a capella choir) at the Basilica of Saint Lawrence: This Christmas concert will benefit the Council on Aging of Buncombe County.

When: 3 p.m., Sun., Dec. 9.
Contact: Council on Aging of Buncombe County Executive Assistant Zoe Trout (828) 277-8288, Ext. 302 or zoet@coabc.org.

Adopt a Lawn: The Council on Aging of Buncombe County is in great need of volunteers to “adopt a lawn” and help with mowing grass, raking leaves and other minor yard work. Volunteers are not required to have their own equipment; however, if they do not, they they will be limited to what the client has. Volunteers are asked to keep lawns manageable and safe, so the frequency of mowing will be determined by the lawn itself. Volunteer groups of two to three people are also options.

When: Ongoing.
Contact: Council on Aging of Buncombe County Volunteer Coordinator Dawn Sponseller at (828) 277-8288, Ext. 310 or dawns@coabc.org.

Call-A-Ride: Volunteers are needed for Call-A-Ride, a volunteer transportation program that provides rides to seniors and people who are homebound and who can no longer drive themselves or use public/community transportation. Call-A-Ride volunteers use their own vehicles to transport folks primarily to their medical appointments and to other necessary appointments, the pharmacy and an occasional trip to the grocery store. Most clients are in their 80s, quite frail and need the personalized service Call-A-Ride can provide. This program is a tremendous relief to Council on Aging clients who experience a great loss of independence and often profound isolation. A mileage reimbursement is offered to offset costs to the volunteer.

When: Ongoing.
Contact: Council on Aging of Buncombe County Volunteer Coordinator Dawn Sponseller at (828) 277-8288, Ext. 310 or dawns@coabc.org.

Minor Home Repair: Volunteers are needed for this volunteer program that provides basic repairs for seniors in the community. Volunteers use their own tools but the Council on Aging of Buncombe County can provide supplies. Projects include building ramps, doing weatherization and installing grab bars. Skilled labor is also needed for electrical work, plumbing, carpentry and roofing.

When: Ongoing.
Contact: Council on Aging of Buncombe County Volunteer Coordinator Dawn Sponseller at (828) 277-8288, Ext. 310 or dawns@coabc.org.

Eblen Charities
32nd Annual Smoky Mountain Toy Run: The Smoky Mountain Toy Run hosted by Harley-Davidson of Asheville benefits Asheville-based Eblen Charities’ Saint Nicholas Project through which toys are collected for and distributed to thousands of local children.

When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Sat., Dec. 1.
Contact: Eblen Charities Executive Director William Murdock at (828) 242-2848 or eblenfound@aol.com.

Saint Nicholas Project: At drop-off locations at organizations and businesses throughout the area, Asheville-based Eblen Charities is collecting toys to distribute this Christmas to thousands of local children. Eblen Charities also is accepting financial donations for the Saint Nicholas Project.

When: Throughout the Christmas season.
Contact: Eblen Charities Executive Director William Murdock at (828) 242-2848 or eblenfound@aol.com.

Friends of the WNC Nature Center
Holiday Tails: To help support the WNC Nature Center in Asheville, the Friends of the WNC Nature Center is hosting a Holiday Tails event at the center with Santa, special animal programs, activities and holiday photos.

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat., Dec. 1.
Contact: Friends of the WNC Nature Center Executive Director Kimberly Brewster at (828) 298-0182 or friends@wildwnc.org.

Homeward Bound of Asheville
HOPE Day Center Donations: Homeward Bound of Asheville’s HOPE Day Center meets basic needs such as providing showers, storage, mail service and more for people who are homeless. Because they serve a large client base of people who are camping, the organization needs items to keep people warm, including coats, warm gloves, warm socks  blankets and sleeping bags. Homeward Bound also provides coffee and peanut butter and jelly as a hospitality offering to people who are accessing their services, so the organizations also needs donations of ground coffee, peanut butter and jelly.

When: Ongoing in the winter.
Contact: Homeward Bound of Asheville Director of Community Engagement Emily Ball at (828) 258-1695, Ext. 258 or Emily@hbofa.org.

Housing Authority of the City of Asheville
Holiday Goody Bags: Help make the season brighter for residents of the Housing Authority of Asheville’s Woodfin Apartments, permanent housing specifically for people who are disable and otherwise homeless. Donations are needed to make at least 20 gift bags stuffed with apples, oranges, candy canes, assorted holiday treats, 2013 calendars and other festive “stocking stuffer” items.

When: Donations can be dropped off until Thurs., Dec. 20 at 165 S. French Broad Ave., Asheville.
Contact: Opportunity Leader Samantha Bowers via an email form here at Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s site.

MANNA FoodBank
Ingles Giving Tree: The Ingles Giving Tree is on display at the Asheville Mall. Food or cash donations may be made at the tree and Ingles customers may contribute $5 via the special promotion in Ingles stores. Volunteers are also needed to greet people and man the donation table for food and fund donations.

When: Until Mon., Dec. 24.
Contact: MANNA FoodBank Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations J. Clarkson at (828) 299-3663 or JClarkson@MANNAFoodBank.org, or Opportunity Leader Autumn McCarver via an email form here at Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s site.

Meals on Wheels of Asheville & Buncombe County
Santa for Seniors: Meals On Wheels serves nearly 500 homebound seniors a hot nutritious meal every weekday, and during the holidays, Meals on Wheels’ Santa for Seniors program collects and delivers gifts to each elderly client. For many, it will be the only Christmas gift they receive. Meals on Wheels needs people to donate decorated shoe boxes filled with holiday goodies and presents. Meals on Wheels has this list of suggested gift items [PDF]. Participants are asked to prepare a gift box, designate it for a man or a woman, wrap it without sealing the lid and bring it by Meals On Wheels on 146 Victoria Road in Asheville. The goal is to collect 500 shoe boxes.

When: Decorated shoe boxes filled with gift items should be dropped off by Fri., Dec. 14.
Contact: Meals on Wheels of Asheville & Buncombe County Executive Director Dianne Trammel at (828) 253-5286 or dianne.trammel@mowabc.org.

The Mediation Center: Family Visitation Program
Holiday Toy Donation: The Family Visitation Program is looking for new or gently used toys for children of all ages. The Family Visitation Program provides parents with histories such as domestic violence or substance abuse a safe and fun place to visit their children in a supervised setting. Donated toys will be placed in visitation rooms to keep supervised visits fun and exciting for children. Toys must be new or gently used, clean and working with all their parts. The Family Visitation Program specifically is looking for toys, board games, card games, DVDs, Wii games, active indoor games, educational toys for children ages 0 to 18 and batteries, as well as gift cards for local stores so that staff can buy needed toys.

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When: Donations can be dropped off at 40 N. French Broad Ave., Suite B in Asheville until Mon., Dec. 31.
Contact: Opportunity Leader Jessie Rosenberg via an email form here at Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s site.

Operation Feed-A-Child Yancey County
Food or Funds for Operation Feed-A-Child: Operation Feed-A-Child Yancey County always needs “product or money” to provide healthy snacks to low-income children who normally have little or nothing to eat from the time they receive free or reduced lunches on Fridays until the time they receive free breakfasts on Mondays. Operation Feed-A-Child helps about 300 children a week.

When: Ongoing during the school year.
Contact: Robert Wyatt at (828) 675-0090 or rbwyatt2001@gmail.com.

The Salvation Army of Asheville
Walmart “Fill the Truck” Event: The Salvation Army is partnering with local Walmarts to help bring the joy of Christmas to kids in need. Volunteers will be responsible for handing out “wish lists” to shoppers as they enter the store and manning and filling the Salvation Army trucks parked at the store entrance. The Salvation Army will organize and distribute the donated gifts to their clients in time for Christmas. Flexible shifts are available throughout the day.

When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat., Dec. 8.
Contact: Opportunity Leader Terrie Greene via an email form here at Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s site.

Packing Christmas Food Boxes: Volunteers are needed to pack food into boxes for distribution to more than 700 families receiving Christmas Assistance from The Salvation Army. Flexible shifts are available.

When: 9 am.-4 p.m., Tues., Dec. 11
Contact: Opportunity Leader Terrie Greene via an email form here at Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s site.

Salvation Army Angel Tree: The Salvation Army needs volunteers at the Salvation Army Angel tree in the Asheville Mall. Volunteers will be stationed at one of the Angel Trees during mall business hours and will assist in adopting out “Angels” by documenting simple information and checking in gifts as they are returned.

When: Through Fri., Dec. 14.
Contact: Opportunity Leader Terrie Greene via an email form here at Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s site.

Christmas Food & Toys Distribution: The Salvation Army needs volunteers for its Christmas Assistance Program. Volunteers are needed to assist parents in picking up toys for their children, with the distribution of Christmas Dinner food boxes and with helping families load their cars. Flexible 2-hour shifts are available.

When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Tues., Dec. 18
Contact: Opportunity Leader Terrie Greene via an email form here at Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s site.

Salvation Army Christmas Bell Ringers: Volunteer bell ringers are needed for the Salvation Army’s Christmas Red Kettle Program. In addition to ringing bells, volunteers also ensure the kettle is never left unattended and that members of the public are greeted in a courteous and friendly manner. Volunteers will meet at The Salvation Army at 750 Haywood Road in Asheville and go to various locations to ring bells such as Ingles, Bi-Lo, Kmart, Walmart and Big Lots.

When: Through Mon., Dec. 24.
Contact: Opportunity Leader Terrie Greene via an email form here at Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s site.

Three Streams Family Health Center
Gift Wrap for Three Streams!: Volunteers are wrapping gifts at the Barnes & Noble bookstore at Asheville Mall to raise funds for Three Streams Family Health Center and support the medical care the center provides for the under- and uninsured of Western North Carolina Gift wrapping is by donation (and for Barnes & Noble purchases only).

When: 5-8 p.m. and 8-11 p.m., Sat., Dec. 22; 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 2-5 p.m. and 5-8 p.m., Sun., Dec. 23; and 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 1-4 p.m. and 4-7 p.m., Mon., Dec. 24.
Contact: Opportunity Leader Clare Cook via an email form here at Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s site.

WAMY Community Action Inc.
Auction Fundraiser: WAMY Community Action Inc., a community action organization that has been serving people in Watauga, Avery, Mitchell and Yancey counties for 49 years, is holding an Auction Fundraiser in Boone to help support the organization and its primary focus of supporting self-sufficiency for everyone. For the fundraiser, WAMY needs donations of food for the event, specifically appetizer-type foods. WAMY also needs an artistic volunteer to paint a tree in our front lobby for a photography display the organization would like to have.

When: Leading up to and on the day of fundraiser on Tues., Dec. 4.
Contact: Executive Director Melissa Soto at (828) 264-2421 or Melissa@WAMYCommunityAction.org.


Know of another WNC organization, agency or business with a volunteer opportunity, donation need or charitable project going on during the holidays? Then send us details at info@carolinapublicpress.org, including the organization’s full name and website address, the nature of the charitable endeavor, the applicable dates and contact information.

Kathleen O'Nan

Kathleen O'Nan is a contributing reporter to Carolina Public Press.

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