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 our 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.


ABCCM Veterans Restoration Quarters
Shake and Bake: Volunteers are needed to help prepare and serve a homemade lunch to the male veterans staying at the ABCCM Veterans Restoration Quarters & Inn in Asheville.

When: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Thurs., Dec. 27.
Contact: Opportunity Leader Peggy Lewis via an email form here at Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s site.

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.

Animal Compassion Network
Gift of a Life Saved Program: Animal Compassion Network is seeking memberships and donations to sponsor homeless pets who are saved. The organization will mail or email a certificate for the gift recipient featuring the picture and story of the animal rescued. Additionally, Animal Compassion Network is seeking volunteers. Check or money orders made payable to Animal Compassion Network can be sent to 803 Fairview St., Asheville, N.C., 28803. Donations also can be made online.

When: Certificates for gift recipients available via email through noon, Sun., Dec. 23.
Contact: Animal Compassion Network staff at (828) 274-3647.

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., Fri., Dec. 14.
Contact: Opportunity Leader Alison Taylor 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.

Buncombe County Parks Greenways and Recreation
Lake Julian Festival of Lights [PDF]: The Lake Julian Park Festival of Lights in Asheville consists of the park off Long Shoals Road in Asheville being brightly lit with thousands of colored lights and more than 50 animated and stationary light displays with the road circling the park becomes a magical journey through tunnels of dazzling lights. The cost for this drive-through presentation is $5 per car, $10 per van and $25 per motor coach. A portion of the proceeds benefit Buncombe County Special Olympics.

When: 6 to 9 p.m. nightly through Sun., Dec. 23.
Contact: Lake Julian Park Supervisor David Blynt at (828) 684-0376 or david.blynt@buncombecounty.org.

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.

Buncombe County Public Libraries-Oakley/South Asheville Library
Holiday Giving Tree @ Oakley/South Asheville Library: Help provide new books for disadvantaged children in the community by visiting the Oakley/South Asheville Library at 749 Fairview Road in Asheville and selecting a gift card with pertinent information about a child, such as his or her age, gender and grade or reading level. Purchase a book with a $10 minimum retail value) and return it to the Oakley Library or donate $10 and the Friends of the Oakley Library will buy a book for a child. Since the first Giving Tree in 2000, the library has provided more than 1,300 books to local children.

When: Until Sat., Dec. 15.
Contact: Oakley Library staff at (828) 250-4754 or oakley.library@buncombecounty.org.

Buncombe County Public Libraries-Pack Memorial Library
25¢ Hallway Book Sale @ Pack: The Friends of Buncombe County Libraries are having a sale in the hallway outside Pack Memorial Library at 67 Haywood St. in downtown Asheville every Friday in December and January except Friday, Dec. 28 with all items in the sale selling for 25 cents. Proceeds benefit the library system.

When: 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 14 and Fri., Dec. 21, and Fri., Jan. 4, Fri., Jan. 11, Fri., Jan. 18 and Fri., Jan. 25.
Contact: Pack Memorial Library staff at (828) 250-4700 or library@buncombecounty.org.

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: Through 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: Through 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.

Council on Aging of Buncombe County

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.

Council on Aging of Henderson County
Congregate Meals Program Volunteers: The Sammy Williams Center for Active Living at 301 N. Justice St. in Hendersonville provides a place in Henderson County where older adults can participate in social, health and wellness, nutritional, recreational, educational and volunteer activities. The Congregate Meals Program is a nutritious meals program that meets five days a week at the center. The center needs volunteers to help serve meals this holiday season and beyond.

When: From 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
Contact: Phil Carland at (828) 692-3320 or mlowande@coahc.org.

Eblen Charities
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.

FurEver Friends Animal Rescue Network and Sanctuary
Bedding for Animals: FurEver Friends Animal Rescue Network and Sanctuary at 722 Bat Cave Road in Old Fort is seeking donations of pillowcases, old bathroom rugs, throw rugs and other small rugs, carpet remnants, blankets, throws, hand towels, bath towels, washcloths and cloth placemats. Items do not have to be new; they also can have stains or tears. FurEver friends will clean them and use them as bedding in their animal cages.

When: Donations accepted from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. any Saturday or Sunday at the Petco store at 825 Brevard Road in Asheville across from the Biltmore Square Mall.
Contact: Steve Poplawski at (828) 398-4943 or fureverfriends@att.net.

Green Opportunities
Community Outreach: Green Opportunities needs volunteers to support its free home weatherization program, Weatherization Assistance Training Team (WATT). WATT is a paid apprenticeship program designed to further prepare GO Youth Team graduates for clean-energy careers while improving the efficiency of houses in target Asheville neighborhoods. A partnership with Community Action Opportunities, the program provides free energy audits and weatherization services to qualified homeowners while providing on-the-job training for previously unemployed young adults.

When: 9:30 a.m. to noon, Thurs., Dec. 27.
Contact: Opportunity Leader Jason Henderson via an email form here at Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s site.

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.

Junior League of Asheville Inc.
Brunch for New and Interested Members: The Junior League of Asheville Inc. is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. The Junior League of Asheville is holding a brunch for new and interested members

When: 11 a.m., Sat., Jan. 5 at a location is to be announced.
Contact: Junior League of Asheville members at (828) 254-5608 or juniorleagueofasheville@gmail.com from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Macon County Schools
Read2Me Book Program: To help promote early literacy in Macon County, Read2Me — in partnership with the Literacy Council of Highlands and The Dolly Parton Imagination Library program — is working to provide every child born in Macon County with a book each month, from birth to age five. A donation of $30 provides a book each month for one child for a full year. Three supporters are offering a grant to match community donations received by the end of December up to $7,500. Tax-deductible contributions can be sent to The Rotary Club of Franklin Charitable Foundation Inc., P.O. Box 375, Franklin, N.C., 28744, or checks can be dropped off at the Macon County Public Library in Franklin. The word “Dolly” should be written in the memo section of checks.

When: Ongoing, with the community match opportunity through Mon., Dec. 31.
Contact: Rotary Club of Franklin President Gary D. Dills at gddills@gmail.com.

MANNA FoodBank

Donation Sorting: Help sort food at MANNA FoodBank to be given to 255 agencies serving hungry people in Western North Carolina. Volunteers will assist with sorting canned and dry goods and with preparing donations or helping with monthly mailings. Volunteers are welcome to bring nonperishable food items to donate to MANNA to help them feed the hungry of WNC.

When: 1 to 3 p.m., Wed., Dec. 19, and 1 to 3 p.m., Wed., Jan. 2.
Contact: Opportunity Leader Autumn McCarver via an email form here at Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s site.

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.

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

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.

Salvation Army of Hendersonville
Christmas Bell Ringing: As part of its Christmas Red Kettle Program, The Salvation Army of Henderson County needs volunteers to ring bells and collect donations at 15 locations in Henderson County and at the Ingles grocery in Fletcher.

When: Through the Christmas season, for a few hours at a time, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Contact: Salvation Army of Henderson County Volunteer and Food Pantry Coordinator Cheryl Gudger-Thompson at (828) 693-4181, Ext. 30, or cheryl.thompson@uss.salvationarmy.org.

Santa Pal Project
Donations and Volunteers Needed: Since 1936, the Asheville Optimist Club has annually raised money to provide children in need with toys for Christmas. Last year, the Santa Pal Project gave new toys to more than 3,500 children. Financial donations can be made by this PayPal link on the Santa Pal website or by mailing a donation to Santa Pal, P.O. Box 1912, Asheville, N.C., 28802. Individual volunteers or groups of volunteers also are needed.

When: Toy distribution volunteers needed from 5 to 9 p.m. through Fri., Dec. 14.
Contact: Santa Pal Project Co-Chairmen Dusty Pless and Anita Silver at (828) 258-3230 or
forthekids@santapal.org.

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.

Transylvania Christian Ministry Sharing House
Adopt A Family Program: The Transylvania Christian Ministry Sharing House in Brevard is seeking financial donations to its Christmas Adopt A Family Program. A $30 donation can be made to provide a child with a Christmas present; a $60 donation can be made to provide a family of three with a Christmas dinner; and a $185 donation can be made to provide a family of four with gifts and a Christmas dinner. Donations can be made online at this PayPal link on the organization’s website.

When: During the Christmas season.
Contact: Sharing House Financial and Development Manager Deb Tibbetts at (828) 884-2866 or at deb@sharinghouse.org.

Western Carolina Medical Society Foundation
Year-End Donations Campaign: The Western Carolina Medical Society Foundation is seeking year-end donations to its annual fund help support the top three initiatives of the foundation — access to care, reducing health disparity, and wellness and prevention. Project Access is the flagship program of the WCMS Foundation. Donations to Project Access or to another WCMS Foundation program or the annual fund can be made at this link on the organization’s website.

When: Through Dec. 31.
Contact: WCMS Development Director Janet Oppenheimer at (828) 274-2267, Ext. 309, or janet@mywcms.org.

Western North Carolina Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots Donations: Western North Carolina Toys for Tots is the locally run campaign of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation. Everything collected in Western North Carolina benefits local children. Headquartered in Henderson County, the Western North Carolina Toys for Tots campaign covers Avery, Buncombe, Cleveland, Haywood, Henderson, Madison, Polk, Rutherford, Transylvania and Yancey counties. New toys can be donated at businesses and other locations throughout the region listed on the WNC Toys for Tots website here. Checks made payable to “Toys for Tots” can be mailed to WNC Toys for Tots, 1035 Kyles Creek Road, Hendersonville, N.C., 28792. Online donations can be made on the WNC Toys for Tots website through this link.

When: In December.
Contact: SSgt. James F. Holbert Jr. at (828) 272-6043 or holbert12@hughes.net.

Kathleen O'Nan

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

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