Toys for Tots: Organized yearly by the Marines, this national toy drive offers less privileged children a new toy on Christmas morning. Taking the time to donate a new, unwrapped toy takes little more than a trip to the grocery store -- every Publix in the metro area is accepting donations. Visit www.atlantatoysfortots.com for other drop-off locations.
Atlanta Union Mission: Virtually everything old becomes new again, so why not take a bag of your old clothing, books and miscellanea to a Union Mission thrift store before you start scouring the racks for '80s T-shirts? Both your donation and purchases will help fund emergency services, residential recovery programs and transitional housing for homeless and addicted men and women throughout Atlanta. 2150 McGee Road, Snellville. 404-588-4012. www.aumcares.org.
Atlanta Food Bank: If you can't spare time to feed the homeless, then you can at least spare the dime or 10 that it takes to donate canned goods to this Atlanta-based charity. The organization partners with more than 750 charities across North Georgia to ensure that those in need, both inside and outside the metro area, have enough to eat. Donations accepted at metro Kroger stores. www.acfb.org.
Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless: This major player in Atlanta charities always needs volunteer help for the four holiday dinners it serves each year. However, monetary support, which can be donated online, helps keep its year-round activities going, including food basket distribution and job training. www.hoseafeedthehungry.com.
Empty Stocking Fund: This charity offers parents of underprivileged children the opportunity to select gifts they'd like to give their kids by "shopping" among provided items. While the organization doesn't accept gifts directly, about $16 is all it takes to buy a gift package for kids in need. www.emptystockingfund.org.
When you have time
Marcus Jewish Community Center: In addition to its Driedel Drop toy drive, the MJCCA is also running a collection drive for gifts of warmth this winter. If you have some extra time to knit, quilt or just buy a blanket, the MJCCA will distribute it to babies and children born with AIDS or in critical care. 5342 Tilly Mill Road. 770-395-2654. www.atlantajcc.org.
Cafe 458: Since you've gotta eat, you might as well do it weekends at this acclaimed Edgewood Avenue cafe. On weekdays, it serves chef-prepared food to the homeless from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. On weekends, the all-volunteer staff (which c an always use an extra hand) serves brunch to the public from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. All proceeds, including tips, go toward funding its weekday operation as well as the functions of its parent organization, the Samaritan House.
458 Edgewood Ave. 404-523-1239. www.samhouse.org.
Home 4 the Holidays: Animals have no idea the holidays are approaching, but they sure can tell it's gotten cold outside. This national rescue drive seeks to place more than 300,000 animals in homes this season and includes metro-area shelters such as Fulton County Animal Services and PAWS Atlanta -- all of which could use an extra hand to get those paws in a warm house. Visit www.home4the holidays.com for a list of participating organizations.
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