The holiday season is among us. It is the time of year when the weather is getting colder and the days are shorter. It is a time when we need more money to heat our homes and for heavier clothes to keep us warm.
With over 2 million on unemployment, those who need is no longer restricted to the lower class. More and more people are having trouble providing for their families.
But the holiday season is also known as the giving season, and giving to local organizations can be as simple as giving a can of soup, an outgrown coat, a blanket, household items or some furniture. Here are five organizations in the local area.
1. Andover Thift Shop, which first opened in 1941 by a small group of women to raise funds for the Christ Church, is located at 10 Park Street. Frances Jennings, manager of the shop, said that they are now looking for seasonal winter clothing, housewares and especially men's clothes. Volunteers man the shop from 10 a.m. to 4p.m., Monday through Friday and will also accept donations. Items not sold after a period of time are donated to local charities in the Greater Lawrence area. Their phone number is 978-475-0957.
2. Project Home Again was founded by Nancy Kennel in 2003 and is affiliated with Temple Emanuel. Project Home Again provides people in need with donated household goods and furniture. Right now, Kennel said that they are looking for blankets, towels and other basics for the winter months. They will accept Christmas decorations before and after holidays. Staffed entirely by volunteers, the charitable organization accepts gently used items that might be used to furnish an apartment.
Items can be dropped off at their warehouse loading dock located at Heritage Place, Building #2, 439 S. Union Street in Lawrence. Those dropping off must call 978-270-9878 (warehouse number only)for a volunteer to assist with unloading. The hours are Tuesday 11-1, Wednesday, 10-12 and Thursdays from 1-3 and this Sunday, December 12, 10-12. For pick up of larger donations and information on cash donations and volunteering, persons should call Temple Emanuel at 978-470-1356.
3. Neighbors in Need has fed the poor and hungry in Greater Lawrence for over 25 years. All food, formula, diapers, clothing and household items are provided free of charge to those who request them, according to Director Linda Zimmerman.
The organization which operates several food pantries fed 1,000 families during Thanksgiving and will feed 800 families during Christmas through their Adopt-A-Family program. Several holiday items are needed said Zimmerman and include turkeys, pork shoulders, canned ham, rice, canned beans, vegetables, stuffing mix, dessert mixes and baking supplies. Donated items can be dropped off at the warehouse located at 18 Dundee Park, Andover. The hours are 7 a.m.-11 a.m. and volunteers are always needed to help with distribution. The best way to reach the organization is by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The phone number is the warehouse is 978-470-2405.
4. Bread and Roses has served the Greater Lawrence area for 30 years. Four nights a week,the soup kitchen provides a full course dinner and comfort to about 200 guests at its location at 58 Newbury Street, Lawrence, according to Executive Director Bob Lanzoni.
Each year, Bread and Roses provides White Christmas holiday gift bags to their guests. Lanzoni said their goal is to fill 300 duffel bags with white socks, shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, shaving cream, bath towels, white facecloths, men and women underwear and candy. These items can be dropped off at their location after 10 a.m- p.m. Monday-Thursday before December 18. The phone number is (978) 681-8768, and the website is www.breadandroseslawrence.org.
5. Lazarus House Ministries in Lawrence has been serving the homeless since 1983 and now provides a continuum of services to people who are in dire need of "life's most basic necessities." The organization serves over 8,000 people a month and operates food pantries, thrift shops and a soup truck in addition to their homeless shelter. During the holidays they have the Holiday Giving Tree program, which helps provide Christmas presents to those living in their shelter. They also operate Project Bethlehem, which provides gifts for families in need living in the Greater Lawrence area.
Administrative Coordinator Lynn Campbell said that lists for each program are posted on their website, but emphasized the need for scarfs, blankets, socks and mittens for their Good Shepherd thrift shop at 412 Hampshire Street open 10-4, Monday-Saturday. Non perishable food items such as pasta, sauce, soup, tuna fish, peanut butter and rice are needed for their food pantries and can be dropped off at 242 Hampshire Street.
Lazarus House is always looking for volunteers are monetary donations are welcome. The website is www.lazarushouse.org, and the phone number is 978-689-8575.