With unemployment pushing 10% nationally, many Baltimore area families are facing a harsh reality:not enough food and no money to spend on presents for the kids this Christmas. If you’re just getting into the holiday spirit there are plenty of ways to support local families right in your own neighborhood. Even if you’re pockets are pinched tight, Baltimore City Buzz Examiner has a few ideas for donators on a budget.
1) The Maryland Motorcoach Association is partnering with Toys 4 Tots and the Maryland Food Bank to support the needy for the annual Stuff A Bus Event on Friday December 10th from 6-9 PM. Donations of non-perishable food, warm clothing, toys and cash will be accepted at Rose Restaurant in Linthicum. If cash is tight, you could bring a few extra cans of food from the pantry, or an old coat that doesn’t fit anymore.
On a recent shopping trip Baltimore City Buzz Examiner purchased three cans of tuna, four cans of soup and four cans of vegetables for only $5. So for the cost of a meal from your favorite fast food joint or 1 1/2 beers from the local pub, you could be providing a meal for an entire family.
No time to shop for donations? Why not join MMA for the Stuff A Bus dinner at Rose Restaurant instead ? Your $30 donation will go directly to the Maryland Food Bank. Reserve your tickets in advance by clicking here
Rose Restaurant –6921 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd.
Linthicum, MD 21638 (410)-789-9100
2) The Maryland Transportation Authority is also accepting toy donations for the Toys 4 Tots program December 9th &10th at all Maryland Toll facilities and MVA in Glen Burnie. From 6 to 9 a.m. and from 3 to 5 p.m., employees will collect toys at the Baltimore Harbor and Fort McHenry tunnels (I-895, I-95), the Francis Scott Key Bridge (I-695), the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge (US 50/301), the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge (US 301), the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge (US 40) and the Dundalk Marine Terminal. Toys will be collected at the Motor Vehicle Administration in Glen Burnie from 8 – 11:30 a.m., with a drop-box available at other times.
“Making a donation at one of the toy drop-off sites is an easy way to be part of this excellent program benefiting children across Maryland.” said MDTA Police Chief Marcus L. Brown. MDTA has collected more than 118,000 toys from motorists since joining Toys for Tots collection efforts in 1990.
3) The Salvation Army’s Angeltree program started back in 1979, designed to provide toys and other gift items for children and famlies in need. This year over 6,000 Maryland Angels have displayed their Christmas wish lists on trees at Baltimore area malls hoping a donation from a caring individual will make it under their tree. If you’d like to adopt and “Angel” stop by one of the malls listed below to select your angel. Purchase any of the items on the child’s list then return to the same location by December 18th.
• White Marsh Mall – on the Lower Level at Macy’s Court
• Security Square Mall – the main entrance in the center of the mall http://foursquare.com/venue/13463650
• Eastpoint Mall – the back entrance at the food court; the tree is in front of the LIDS store http://foursquare.com/venue/13463800
• Hunt Valley Towne Center – at the Greeting and Readings Entrance http://foursquare.com/venue/13464009
• Columbia Mall – the 2nd floor near Safari and Build a Bear
• Marley Station Mall – right outside of the kids play area on the first floor near Sears http://foursquare.com/venue/13465046
•Town Mall of Westminster – the Center Court, near Santa’s shop http://foursquare.com/venue/13465104
For additonal information about the Salvation Army’s Angeltree program click here. There’s also a virtual Angeltree available online.
4) The Southeast District of the Baltimore Police Department’s Neighborhood Services Unit (NSU) is collecting new, unwrapped toys for its toy drive to benefit children in its district. Bring toys to the Southeastern District at 5710 Eastern Avenue, and use the entrance in the back, on the right-hand side of the building. Toys can also be dropped off at the offices of the Baltimore Guide, 526 S. Conkling Street, weekdays between 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
5) Why not give the gift of reading? Toys aren’t the only present kids want for Christmas. The Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Avenue, is asking for donations of NEW unwrapped books or art supplies for kids ages 5-18 to be distributed at local school and neighborhood partners of CA’s education program Open Minds.
Baltimore Buzz City Buzz Examiner found new, quality children’s books and art supplies at The Dollar Tree for just a buck each. $5.25 bought three books, paints, and a brush set. The ability to read and create would make a perfect holiday gift for a child in need. Inspire a child this Christmas! Drop off books and art supplies at The Patterson lobby donation box during the month of December. www.creativealliance.org, 410-276-1651.
6) There’s even a program to help homeless pets through the winter ! The Maryland SPCA and the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter are accepting donations of toys for cats and dogs for the holiday season. Pet food (unopened bags and cans) is also needed. The Maryland SPCA, located in Hampden: 410-235-8826, or the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, located in South Baltimore: call 410-396-4695.
Baltimore City Buzz Examiner suggests budgeters check out Dollar Tree’s pet section where you can find toys and food for both cats and dogs at a cheap price. $5.25 = 4 cans cat food, small bag of dog food, 1 dog toy, and 1 cat toy.
7) Canton Baptist Church, located at 3302 Toone St is requesting donations for its food pantry. To donate, call 410-563-1177 or stop by the church. Canned vegetables, fruit and meats, cereal, pasta, peanut butter, bread, crackers, pasta sauce, condensed, evaporated and powdered milk, bottled water and juices are all needed and welcome, as are cash and checks.
8) South Baltimore Emergency Relief, 110 E. West St., is open to receive donations of non-perishable food items, toiletires (travel size or full size, new blankets (any size) and monetary donations, from Mondays through Thursdays from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., or by appointment by calling 410-752-1336.
9) The Maryland Food Bank is trying to fill its empty shelves in order to help hungry residents find food. Help by donating items, or by going online and making a donation. $10.50 feeds a hungry person for a whole week. Food donations accepted at Maryland Food Bank, 2200 Halethorpe Farms Rd. Baltimore, MD 21227-4551,410-737-8282. Click here to sign up for a virtual food drive
10) Here’s one you probably weren’t expecting see on the budget donators list: Donate blood: it’s free and it could save a life. Give Something Red for Christmas: Johns Hopkins Bayview hosts an American Red Cross blood drive on Dec. 20-22, from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Pavilion Conference Room. All blood donors will receive a special Cooking for Heroes cookbook, featuring the recipes of local donors, as well as celebrities. For appointments call 410-550-0289. Every participant will receive a meal coupon, parking pass (if needed) and special gift from Johns Hopkins Bayview.
The American Red Cross has an all-time low blood supply. Make an appointment at a Baltimore donor center by calling 800-448-3543 (800-GIVE LIFE).