Help others in the Sumter community this holiday season

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Lend someone a helping hand this holiday season. The following are just a few of the needs in our community. If your nonprofit organization would like to be included on this list, email needs to pressrelease@theitem.com.

American Red Cross

In December, blood donations to the American Red Cross decline, but the needs of patients remain steady.

It only takes one hour to donate blood. To encourage donations during the holiday season, the Red Cross is offering all blood or platelets donors between Dec. 21 and Jan. 7 a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Camden

  •  Dec. 16: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Heritage Community Bank-LSL Stacy Boone, 2220 W. Dekalb St.
  •  Dec. 22: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Bank of America, 200 Dekalb St.

Sumter

  •  Dec. 21: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Palmetto Health Tuomey, 129 N. Washington St.
  •  Dec. 28, 2 to 7 p.m., Grace Baptist Church, 219 Calhoun St.
  •  Dec. 29: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Arts & Letters Building, 109 Miller Road

To donate, download the American Red Cross Blood Donor app, visit www.redcross.org or call 1(800)-RED-CROSS.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

Donors must be 17 years or older, weigh at least 110 pounds and generally be in good health.

Youth Education Scholarship Fund

Give the gift of music, dance and theater to students of Sumter County by donating to the YES Fund.

  •  $10 provides the ticket for a student on the free and reduced-price meal program to see a matinee show at Sumter Opera House;
  •  $50 allows five students to attend a show and learn about STEM principles through a theater production;
  •  $100 provides for a classroom of 10 students to experience the wonder of a live performance at the opera house; and
  •  $250 covers the busing costs for a class of 40 students to get to the opera house for a matinee show.

To donate, visit http://bit.ly/2ABgf1k.

John K. Crosswell Home for Children

New Family and Children Visitation Center (formerly Cottage A) - Living room furniture (sofa, chairs, coffee table, end tables), floor lamps, table lamps, office furniture (desks and chairs), area rugs, decorative throw pillows, family board games, new books for all ages, flatscreen TV, decorative throws, non-slip kitchen and bathroom mats, DVDs, two welcome mats, twin boy and/or girl comforter sets and sheets, 4-by-6 area rugs for bedrooms, placemats and home decor gift cards

Cottage B (infant to 6-year-old girls and boys) - Laundry drying rack, twin boy and/or girl comforter sets and sheets, toddler bed comforter sets, two crib comforter sets, crib sheets, two queen comforter sets, twin bed skirts (white, pink or navy), five bean bag chairs, bedside lamps, night-lights, set of stainless steel pots and pans, preschool DVDs and 4-by-6 area rugs for bedrooms

Cottage C (7- to 16-year-old boys) - Charcoal grill, croquet set, deck storage box, corn hole, twin boy comforter sets and sheets, twin bed skirts (navy, khaki or white), two queen-size comforter sets and sheets, welcome mat, throw pillows, new sports balls, two large area rugs, bedside lamps, nightlights, DVDs, Wii and PlayStation games for boys, board games, portable DVD players

Cottage D (10- to 16-year-old girls) - Heavy-duty vacuum cleaner, Crock Pot, Dust Buster, Wii games, Wii Just Dance 2017, twin girl comforter sets and sheets, twin bed skirts, two queen comforter sets, decorations for bedrooms, 4-by-6 area rugs for rooms, welcome mat, eight door mirrors, bedside lamps, nightlights, throw pillows, girl picture frames, DVDs, craft kits, board games, portable DVD players and Bluetooth speakers

Campus general needs - Duffle bags, batteries (AA, AAA, C, D and 9-volt), DVD players, DVDs (G and PG movies), towels and washcloths, new packs of underwear and socks (toddler, youth and adult), new pajamas (toddler, youth and adult), non-slip kitchen and bathroom mats, placemats, flatware, sets of dinnerware, coffee pot, CD player, digital camera, TV, small paper birthday plates, candles, vacuum cleaner and twin-size plastic mattress covers

Birthday closet gifts for teens - gift cards, earbuds, teen DVDs, Wii, Xbox and Playstation games, bath and body wash and lotions, perfume, cologne, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, nail polish, Nike socks, pullovers and hoodies, MP3 players, Bluetooth speakers, portable DVD players, phone/iPod cases, etc.

Gift cards - Activity gift cards/passes/financial sponsorship for activities for the children to do during Christmas break: Santa Train, Trolley Lights Tour, movie passes, roller skating, bowling, McDonald's, Chick-Fil-A, Chuck E. Cheese, Monkey Joe's, Riverbanks Zoo Christmas Lights, EdVenture Kids Museum, etc., clothing and toy purchasing gift cards such as Walmart, JCPenney, Kmart, TJ Maxx, Belk, etc.

These items do not need to be wrapped. Gifts may be dropped off at the administrative building front desk from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, please call (803) 778-6441 or e-mail krowell@crosswellhome.org. Due to storage and staff constraints, we cannot accept unsolicited donations of used clothing, toys, etc.

Sumter United Ministries

The Lord's Cupboard at Sumter United Ministries is accepting food donations. The pantry is in need of dried beans, macaroni and cheese, canned vegetables, canned fruit, boxed potatoes (scalloped, au gratin, etc.), rice mix (Lipton, Rice-A-Roni, etc.), pasta (spaghetti, noodles, etc.), peanut butter, jelly, shelf-life milk or canned meat and fish such as tuna, salmon, chicken or Vienna sausage.

For more information on donating or volunteering, call (803) 775-0757, or email info@sumterunitedministries.org.

Cram-a-Cruiser Toy Drive

Sumter Police Department's Cram-a-Cruiser Toy Drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 9 and Dec. 16. All donations will benefit the Salvation Army's Christmas Toy Drive for distribution to children in the Sumter community. For information, call Sumter Police Department Community Services Unit, 107 E. Hampton Ave., at (803) 436-2723 or 436-2700.

Foxworth Helping Hands Food Drive

The Senior Corporal Elizabeth Foxworth Helping Hands Food Drive will take place on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 9 a.m. In honor of the event's namesake and her "unconditional loyalty to the Sumter County Sheriff's Office and the citizens of Sumter County," the agency says this is its way of giving back to the community during the holidays.

Donated non-perishable items will be delivered to families in need by sheriff's office personnel and volunteers.

Pre-packaged food bags can be purchased for $5 from Save-A-Lot at 674 W. Liberty St. The sheriff's office will also accept other non-perishable items.

All donations should be delivered to the sheriff's office by noon on Dec. 13.

Supplies may become limited, so it is advised to respond with the name of the family a bag will be donated to with their address, phone number and any special circumstances to include blindness, wheelchair assistance, etc.

For information, contact Lt. Petrina Wiley at (803) 436-2026 no later than Dec. 13.

Fireside Fund

With the help of Sumter United Ministries, Fireside Fund provides financial support to local families that need assistance with heating utilities this fall and winter.

This year's Fireside Fund is dedicated to Thomas R. "Tommy" Mims Jr., former sheriff of Sumter County.

Fireside Fund - established by The Sumter Item in November 1969 - helps families and individuals pay heating bills and purchase heating supplies. Since its start 47 years ago, Fireside Fund has collected more than $1 million in donations from the community.

Anyone in need of assistance with heating or utility costs can call Sumter United Ministries at (803) 775-0757.

Donations can be mailed to The Sumter Item, P.O. Box 1677, Sumter, SC 29151, or dropped off at the office, 36 W. Liberty St. The last day to send in donations is Monday, Jan. 22.

Names, including groups, should be spelled completely. When making a donation in someone's honor, the names will be printed as given.

Sumter Volunteers

Sumter Volunteers continues its annual Keepsakes Series with a gold-plated brass depiction of Sumter County Judicial Center.

A brief history of the building is included with the 2017 ornament, the 24th edition and third of the series offered by Sumter Volunteers, which is now on sale for $16 each.

The 2017 ornament can be purchased at the Sumter Volunteers office in the Liberty Center, 12H W. Liberty St.; Simpson Hardware at 40 W. Wesmark Blvd.; Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce at 32 E. Calhoun St.; and Swan Lake Visitors Center at 822 W. Liberty St.

Many of the previous ornaments are also available for purchase.

For more information, call Sumter Volunteers at (803) 775-7423.