With more than 8 percent of Cobb County’s 717,000-plus residents in need, and 2,000 children recorded in the schools systems as being homeless with many others not accounted for because they are under school age or are undocumented, there is no better time than the holiday season to volunteer or donate money or time to a noble cause—and Cobb is home to many of those.

“Serving truly communicates the meaning of Christmas and gives us a greater sense of purpose,” says the Rev. Dr. Ike Reighard, president and CEO of MUST Ministries. “Focusing on those in need at Christmas—or any time of the year—lightens our burdens. It’s good for the soul.”

MUST, a volunteer-driven organization that addresses the basic needs of individuals, families and children, is offering multiple volunteering opportunities during the holidays. Volunteers 10 and older can help with the MUST Ministries Toy Shops in Cobb and Cherokee counties. Morning and evening shifts help parents shop in a free store full of blankets, pajamas, hats, toys, school supplies, games and much more. Afternoon shifts help restock the shelves. Shops are open for about 18 days in December and groups of 10–18 are needed to fill each shift. You can email toyshop@mustministries.org to sign up, or visit mustministries.org for more information.

Other local organizations that you may consider helping this year include:

SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center

SafePath, Cobb’s children’s advocacy center that provides a neutral, child-friendly environment where professionals and agencies utilize a multidisciplinary team approach to alleged child abuse cases, is gearing up for its annual Adopt-A-Family Program. Its “Wish” program assists families that SafePath serves throughout the year with holiday needs and wishes. They are looking for individuals/group donors that can adopt children and families this holiday season.

safepath.org • (770) 801-3465

Calvary Children’s Home

Calvary Children’s Home provides a safe, loving, Christian environment for children, giving them the opportunity to reach their full potential in their personal, emotional and spiritual life. Program Director Sherry Croft is in charge of coordinating Christmas with the children. Each child makes a list of what they would like. Additionally, monetary donations are welcome and help Calvary year-round. Contact Croft at sherry@calvarykids.org to make donations or sign up for any volunteering opportunities.

calvarykids.org • (770) 794-1500

Youth in Mission, Corp.

Former NBC “The Voice” finalist Pip, aka Phillip Arnold of Marietta, started this nonprofit to fund scholarships that support qualified youth desiring to serve on mission trips but do not have the means to do so. Annual scholarships are awarded to aid in travel expenses. In the past, YiM has funded student trips to Guana, Mississippi, Haiti, Vietnam and Guatemala.

yimcharity.com • (770) 425-5129

American Cancer Society, South Atlantic Division

Cancer never takes a holiday, so the American Cancer Society, which is a national health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer, needs donations and volunteers year-round to help support life-saving research and programs. Donate at cancer.org or call 1 (800) 227-2345 to volunteer locally.

cancer.org • (770) 429-1624

Kidz2Leaders

Kidz2leaders, Inc., in Marietta helps change the lives of prisoners’ children and break the vicious cycle of incarceration by offering Christian programming and a fun environment. Volunteers are needed as office workers, camp counselors, event supports and mentors. Donated funds support Camp Hope, the interns4tomorrow program and other programs of kidz2leaders.

kidz2leaders.org • (770) 977-7751

The Center for Family Resources

As an organization rooted in tradition, The Center for Family Resources wants to create a program that allows thousands of families to create a tradition of their own. Thanks for Giving provides them the opportunity to prepare a Thanksgiving meal with their families. In it’s 29th year of hosting its annual event, Thanks For Giving is in need of donations and volunteers from Cobb businesses and individuals.

thecfr.org/thanksforgiving • (770) 428-2601

Friends of East Cobb Park

Friends of East Cobb Park, a nonprofit, volunteer organization formed in 1998 to create a community gathering place in east Cobb, is looking for donors and volunteers to help with the annual Holiday Lights Celebration on Dec. 7. The event highlights local civic, church and school organizations with bell-ringers, chorus performances, community leader recognitions and a visit with Santa and Rudolf and tree lighting ceremony.

eastcobbpark.org • president@eastcobbpark.org

Cobb Senior Services

Cobb Senior Services annually hosts a program that was recently renamed Christmas 365. The organization is looking for monetary donations and volunteers to help shop for and wrap gifts in advance, as well as help out at the Senior Santa Party on Dec. 12. Another program, Meals on Wheels, provides meals for seniors in need. In addition to businesses and individuals, civic groups and churches are encouraged to provide meals to clients on Thanksgiving/the day after and Christmas Day/day after, as Cobb facilities are closed and meals will not be delivered. Other Cobb-based nonprofits that benefit seniors include EngAGE Senior Advocacy, engagesenioradvocacy.org; Aloha to Aging, alohatoaging.org; and ELM, elmcobb.org

cobbseniors.org • (770) 528-5368

Marietta Community School

 

Looking for a way to donate your time or money to an education organization? Marietta Community School is always welcoming donations and volunteers for its many programs. Scholarships for children, instructors for classes and helping promote its teen driving program are some of the many ways you can help.

mariettacommunityschool.com • (770) 429-3170

United Way of Greater Atlanta

Volunteering through United Way of Greater Atlanta, whose mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good, is a great way to give back while getting involved in helping some of the most important issues facing our community today.

unitedwayatlanta.org/volunteerism • (404) 527-7200

Hope for Christmas

hopeforchristmas.com • (770) 427-5305

This organization provides toys and food to more than 2,500 families in northwest Cobb, Paulding, Bartow and Cherokee counties through its annual holiday meal and Secret Santa Shop. Help by donating toys and food in Cobb at GracePoint Marietta church and Trinity Chapel in Powder Springs through early December. Business and individual sponsorships are also available and there are many opportunities to volunteer with the group.

YWCA of Northwest Georgia

As we reflect on another year gone by, consider a donation to the YWCA of Northwest Georgia, which is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Your gift will allow the YWCA to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Every dollar donated to the YWCA of Northwest Georgia makes a difference in someone’s life.

ywca.org/northwestgeorgia • (770) 423-3581

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