Donor donating to the 35th annual Bea Gaddy Thanksgiving dinner. Photo courtesy of Bea Gaddy Family Center.

While many people are eagerly awaiting the gifts they will receive this holiday season, others are looking for ways to give back.

In the Baltimore area, there are plenty of programs looking for donors, volunteers, and a helping hand.

During the entire month of November, IKEA in White Marsh is collecting new and gently used coats, scarves, gloves, earmuffs, and quilts. Every item collected will be donated to the Bea Gaddy Family Center in Baltimore. The collection bin is located in front of the Full Serve/Delivery area at the exit of the store. 

The Bea Gaddy Family Centers is a community-based non-profit organization that has provided food and other essential items to families in need throughout Maryland since 1981. Among other items the organization is collecting are turkeys, canned vegetables, and non-perishable items. They are also looking for volunteers to help prepare Thanksgiving dinners, pack and deliver food, and more. Visit the website for the full wish list, drop off hours and their many volunteer opportunities.

The Baltimore Ravens Cheerleaders will host a game watch party and fundraising event on Sunday, Dec. 11, at the Gameday Firehouse, located at 1202 Ridgely St. 100% of the proceeds will benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Maryland.

Attendees can join the Ravens cheerleading team to cheer on the Ravens as the team takes on the Steelers. The free event is open to the public and will feature food and drink specials, door prizes, a 50/50 raffle, and a silent auction with a ton of items to choose from such as Ravens gear signed by current players, gift cards from local restaurants and much more. Individuals who cannot attend the event but still want to donate can do so here.

Toys For Tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps that collects and distributes new toys as Christmas gifts to children from less fortunate families. For 75 years, the organization has distributed over 604 million toys to more than 272 million children. Click here to search for drop-off locations around Baltimore. Dec. 16 is the final day for collection efforts. 

Marques Dent of D.elivering E.ducational N.eeds T.ogether (D.E.N.T. Group) has partnered with Northeast Baltimore City Police Department for their 7th annual turkey drive. On Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 1 p.m., over 500 turkeys and canned goods will be passed out to neurodivergent families. The event will take place at Northwood Baseball League, 1801 Argonne Drive, with special guests including local business leaders, athletes, entertainers and political figures.

Adopting a family for Christmas is a way to give back to an entire family simultaneously and there are several organizations across the city with adoption programs.

The Baltimore Family Alliance‘s adopt-a-family program has been able to provide clothing, toys and support to over 1,500 families in need over the years. Families submit wish lists and share kids’ favorite colors, characters, teams and other information to make gifting easier. Donors can expect to spend $40 to $60 per child.

Registration for the House of Ruth‘s adopt-a-family program is now open and typically fills up quickly. Donors can expect to spend $100 to 150 per family member. Families of women and children are matched on a first come, first served basis. But if there are no more families to adopt, you can donate other essentials such as pull-ups, diapers, games, grocery store and gas station gift cards, or sponsor an emergency hotel placement package or starter home package. 

The Arc Baltimore‘s annual family adoption drive is dedicated to individuals who live with family members with developmental disabilities. The Arc welcomes wrapped and name-tagged toys, games, socks and slippers, gift cards, bath and body items, art supplies, diaries and journals, books and much more.

Adopt a Family Maryland, a non-profit that helps families on state assistance, welcomes donors to become what they call an “Angel.” Individuals interested can contact the organization to receive a family wish list.

Latrice Hill is a Baltimore native and Morgan State University graduate who loves all the great things this city has to offer. She worked with WMAR 2-News as an Assignment Desk Editor before she joined...

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