After years of winter holidays in Sussex County, I’ve come to cherish the abundant generosity of our friends, neighbors and community partners who band together to volunteer their time and resources in celebration of others. This year has been especially nice – just one Facebook post searching for recommendations on how to give back in 2021 brought a dozen responses! Below are some of my favorites.
Go Shopping to Contribute to Folks You Know
One way to forge a personal connection to local folks is to take part in Active Adults Realty’s partnership with Children and Families First of Delaware. Building on decades of success in preparing people of all ages to thrive under challenging circumstances, the organization is working with us and many other organizations to ensure hundreds of families receive tailored support during the holidays.
Heading up our effort is Brooke Jones. Over the next few days she’ll work with the organization to identify individuals and families who need various items – including toys and household items. Once she has a list of needs she will provide specific information to volunteers who can then shop for those specific individuals and families.
If you’re one of those volunteers you can drop the items off at our Second Street office the week before Christmas. Ideally, you’ll gift wrap the items, but we’re happy to do it if that makes your life easier.
And if you’d like to contribute but don’t have time to stop, you can still take part in this personalized gift-giving by making a donation that we’ll direct toward one of the individuals or families!
To participate, contact Brooke Jones at (302) NEW-HOME, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Serve Up Some Special Holiday Cheer
Over the holidays and year-round, one of the region’s best-loved faith-based volunteer organizations is The Shepherd’s Office at 408 N. Bedford Street in Georgetown. Specializing in “Acceptance, Empowerment, Encouragement and Forgiveness,” these folks will once again offer a range of support during December, with free meals several days a week and special events enabling folks to pick up toys and other household items.
Not surprisingly, they’re going big on Christmas Day, with a free dinner and with more than 1,000 Christmas presents for locals who are homeless, hungry or just looking for companionship.
There are two ways to take part. One is to sign up to work the Christmas Day dinner on the following website: www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f48aca92ea3f9c16-christmas1
The other is to sign up to prepare individual items for the dinner. You can designate what you’d like to cook from a list of traditional fixings (e.g.: ham, side dishes, desserts), and deliver the items to the Shepherd’s Office between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Christmas day. The sign up can be found on the following website: www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f48aca92ea3f9c16-christmas
You can also learn more by calling Jimmy Martin at The Shepherd’s Office at (302) 858-8556.
Share the Love in Different Ways
Thanks to so many great responses from friends and neighbors, we know there are many other opportunities to make life better for the holidays as well.
Follow in the footsteps of a group of the 1969 Lewes High School class who created the Cape Community Fund to provide support for individuals and families within the Cape Henlopen School District. You can learn about the organization and make in-kind and tax-deductible donations on the Cape Community Fund website at www.capecommunityfund.org
Connect with one or more of the more than 300 Cape Henlopen School District kids who are homeless by donating through the Community Cares program at RISE Fitness + Adventure, located at 35770 Airport Road in Rehoboth. Choose an angel from the tree at the entrance to learn what specific items kids are requesting, and coordinate with the front desk to make it happen. IMPORTANT – if you want to participate, do it NOW. The gifts will be delivered to families on December 14. Learn more via the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/events/512345302579342/, or contact Amanda Peters at email@example.com or Shawna Steinmann, Cape Henlopen’s Homeless Liaison Assistant at Shawna.Steinman@cape.k12.de.us
If you’d like to support a beloved local institution and help folks buy low priced, high quality gifts, you can donate gently-used or new items to local families through Beebe Hospital’s Treasure Chest Thrift Shop. Learn more by calling 302 644 2878 or by visiting their website at www.beebehealthcare.org/patients-visitors/volunteer/beebe-auxiliary/treasure-chest-thrift-shop