It's the most wonderful time of the year—for most of us. But for some, the struggles of the year don't go away when the tinsel comes out and the holiday music takes over the airwaves.
If you're looking for a way to give back during the giving season and beyond, there are a variety nonprofit organizations in the Land O' Lakes area in need of community support year-round.
Suncoast Harvest Food Bank
The Suncoast Harvest Food Bank, a branch of Feeding America Tampa Bay, is looking for several forms of help from the community.
“We love volunteers, food donations, funding, and we are currently looking for help from an electrical contractor electrician to assist us with changing one of our warehouses from single phase to a three-phase electrical option,” branch coordinator Kathy Mullen wrote in an email.
“A trailer donation would be welcome, as well as a pick-up truck capable of pulling it,” Mullen wrote.
Suncoast Harvest is located at 5829 Ehren Cutoff in Land O’ Lakes.
“Gulfside Hospice is always in need of both monetary donations and volunteers,” director of community relations Ashley Juno said in an email.
The organization's fundraising efforts help pay for care for patients who do not have insurance, as well as support programs at Gulfside’s Hospice Houses and bereavement centers, Juno said.
"Gulfside offers free bereavement services to anyone in the community regardless if they have used our service," Juno said.
Gulfside’s Thrift Shoppes also need donations. Between the five Bay area stores, they raise more than $1.5 million collectively, Juno said.
Donations of gently used clothing, household items, furniture, antiques, jewelry, collectibles, books, sporting goods and medical equipment are accepted at all locations during regular business hours. Free pickup service for furniture is available by appointment, Juno said.
The Lutz Thrift Shoppe, 21780 State Road 54, is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Dress For Success
Dress for Success, an international nonprofit organization offering services to help women find jobs and remain employed, is in need of women’s suits, work-attire and shoes. Each Dress for Success client receives one suit when she has a job interview and can return for a second suit or separates when she finds work. The Land O’ Lakes branch especially needs larger size clothes and shoes, Patch reader Diane Jones wrote on our Facebook page.
Donations can be dropped off Monday through Firday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Independent Financial Services, 20635 Amberfield Drive #102, in Land O'Lakes.
The organization requests that all items be in excellent condition (no obvious tears, stains, missing buttons or broken zippers), dry-cleaned or laundered and on hangers, not in bags.
Christian Social Services
Christian Social Services, 5514 Land O Lakes Blvd, “has been helping folks with food and clothing during times of need for over 26 years —not just during Christmas,” Patch reader Sam Ward posted on our Facebook page.
The organization provides bags of food to those with an “expressed need,” executive director Jacquie Petet said. There is no income documentation required; however they must be residents of central Pasco County or the Lutz-area of Hillsborough County, Petet said.
Non-perishable foods are needed, and money is always essential, Petet said. The organization also runs a thrift store, so clothing and household items also are needed. The store is closed Sundays and Mondays. Visit the Facebook page for hours and information.
Treats For Troops
Treats for Troops sends care packages to deployed men and women all over the world year-round. From shampoo and soap to coffee and candy, the organization provides troops with the essentials as well as the comforts of home.
“Postage money is really of the essence right now. We have the supplies to send out, just not the postage money,” organization founder Karin King said in an email.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay needs donations and volunteers in order to help more kids facing adversity, the organization posted on Patch's Facebook page. "By matching them with mentors, and carefully supporting and monitoring each relationship, we help the kids in our program dream big and reach their full potential!"
LifeChoices Women’s Care, 1527 Dale Mabry Highway, Suite 101, Lutz, is helps women in our community who are faced with unplanned pregnancies. "This year we have helped hundreds of women and men and babies. We offer free ultrasound, pregnancy testing, prenatal vitamins, and nursing assessment. We have registered nurses and an ultrasound technician available every hour we are open," Executive director Ana Hidalgo Stooks wrote in an email. "All of our services are free to those we serve."
Stooks said the organization's biggest needs are:
1) Prayer—please pray for those we serve and their babies.
2) Financial—we are a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that uses every penny efficiently and effectively, but we could always be blessed by additional angels who wish to help pay our rent! You can mail your donation or contribute online at http://friends.LifeChoicesWomensCare.org/donate.html
3) Volunteers—no experience necessary and we provide training. We could always use volunteers in different areas of running a dynamic organization dedicated to saving lives of the preborn.
4) Diapers, wipes and $5 gift cards—our services never stop once a precious child is born.
If you know of an organization that should be on this list, email email@example.com.