Various nonprofit agencies and local governments will offer County residents multiple opportunities to assist the less fortunate this holiday season.
The Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH) has launched its annual holiday giving. Those wishing to contribute may visit the organization’s website (www.mcch.net) to make a financial donation or choose a specific gift request to fulfill. All donated gifts should be brought or shipped unwrapped to the MCCH office, to the attention of Holiday Giving, at 600-B East Gude Drive, Rockville, 20850.
“For many people whom we serve, donated gifts are the only gifts they receive during the holidays,” said Debbie Ezrin, Director of development and communications for MCCH. “It’s so wonderful to see our community come together. There’s a great joy in giving someone exactly the gift they asked for, but financial contributions are the most useful way to support out work. Eighty-seven percent of every dollar we receive goes directly to aiding our clients.”
The Bethesda-based anti-poverty nonprofit organization A Wider Circle has set the goal of providing assistance to 10,000 area children this year. Contributors may make financial donations, sponsor a family in need by filling their wish list, or donating toys and volunteering to serve as elves at the “North Pole,” the organization’s Bethesda warehouse where referred families can come in December to pick up gifts.
“The best part of our program is always seeing people who otherwise might not have had a chance to celebrate the holidays get to do so,” said Dr. Mark Bergel, founder of A Wider Circle. “I’ve always been of the perspective that to live in poverty is to suffer from an injustice, and the holiday-giving program provides just a small bit of uplift to someone in that situation. I also love seeing the connection between families who come shopping at the North Pole.”
Information about A Wider Circle and how to contribute is available at their website: www.awidercircle.org.
The City of Rockville has launched its annual Holiday Drive. They are seeking donations of food items to help families have Thanksgiving dinner in November and toys to be given to families in December. All donations should be delivered to Rockville City Hall or any Rockville community center.
For more than 45 years, the Holiday Drive has been a Rockville tradition, providing Thanksgiving meals and holiday gifts to families in need in the community,” said Sarah Dickinson, the Community Services Program Analyst for Rockville’s Department of Parks and Recreation. “Thanks to the generosity of residents, businesses, schools, churches and community organizations, we distribute nearly 500 Thanksgiving meal boxes, plus about 1,000 toys for the December holidays. This year, the need is especially great. There have been 736 City of Rockville households referred for Thanksgiving help in 2018 – 76 more than last year. We are requesting contributions of healthy food, including low-sodium or no-sugar canned goods and whole-wheat pasta. Additionally, the drive expanded last year to give a new book to every child, from infants to teenagers, and we hope to continue this initiative. The success of the Holiday Drive relies on monetary contributions from the community as well as food and toy drives and donated Giant and Target gift cards.”
For more information, visit www.rockvillemd.gov/holidaydrive.
From 7 to 11 p.m. on Nov. 21, the Town of Kensington will host acclaimed local band The Nighthawks at the Kensington Armory for the 15th annual town dance, which benefits Bethesda Help and the 20895 Hunger Free Zone. Tickets are $10 at the door, and attendees are also asked to bring non-perishable food items or a gift card of at least $10 to Safeway or Giant.
“The Town donates the use of the Armory to the Nighthawks with the agreement that proceeds, which include canned food, cash & grocery gift cards, from the event go to Bethesda Help and St. Paul’s UMC Kensington, the Hunger Free Zone food distribution program to families living in the 20895 zip code,” said Kensington Mayor Tracey Furman. “The Town will once again be participating in the Toys for Tots collection, Nov. 19 through Dec. 15. Toys can be dropped off at Town Hall during business hours.”
For more information, visit tok.md.gov.