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Mid-Missouri offers countless ways to give back this season

Here in Mid-Missouri, there are numerous ways to give back to the community all year round, but come the holiday season, our giving spirit shines even brighter.

Some of the many holiday-specific charitable events and programs are listed here, but this is by no means a complete list. Many area churches and nonprofits offer donation drives or host holiday meal services, and they need your help to be successful. 

Know of other ways to give back this season? Email molly@newstribune.com, and we’ll update this story. 

The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign (News Tribune file)

The Salvation Army: The Red Kettle campaign will be back in action again this year. Bell-ringing occurs through Dec. 24. If you’d like to be a bell ringer, registration is available at registertoring.com. Lions Ring Day is Dec. 3, which is when Lions man every kettle in Jefferson City. They hope to raise $20,000 again this year.

Thanksgiving Day Pie Run: Before you feast, get in a bit of exercise with the Thanksgiving Day Pie Run on Nov. 25. Bring canned food items to benefit the Samaritan Center. Participate in either a 5K run or walk or a 10K run starting at 8:15 a.m. at the JC Parks Multipurpose Building in North Jefferson City, 810 Sandstone. It costs $25 for adults and $15 for children under 15.

Optimist Club of Jefferson City Tree Sale Fundraiser: Known as a “friend of youth,” the Jefferson City Optimist Club will once again sell Christmas trees from the lot alongside Hawthorn Bank on Dunklin Street. Tree sales typically begin the day after Thanksgiving, and the lot closes once trees are gone. Each year, the club gives all proceeds to a variety of youth projects across the city, including Special Olympics Missouri, the Boys & Girls Club of Jefferson City, and the Jefferson City High School Baseball Booster Club.

SERVE Inc.: SERVE Inc. is accepting applications to “adopt” a child for the holidays — once matched, adopters are sent a child’s wish list, which includes a list of their favorite colors and things, sizes, age, grade and hobbies, and adopters then buy four Christmas gifts for that child/multiple children. The process is confidential. Its goal is to have all children adopted by Dec. 1; all gifts will be dropped off to SERVE volunteers Dec. 7-8. To apply, click here.

SOMA Affordable Christmas: SOMA Community Church’s holiday project offers a dignified way to help under-resourced parents provide a joyful Christmas for their children. The gift drive takes place Dec. 11 at the church, 804 Fairmount Blvd., and volunteers are needed. Donations of gifts or money are accepted until Dec. 5. To donate or volunteer, visit the SOMA website

Jingle Dash 5K: Festive and for a good cause, the annual YMCA’s Jingle Dash benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters. The race starts at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at the entrance to Binder Park off Henwick Lane. This is not a timed competitive event. However, awards will be presented to those dressed in the most festive holiday attire. Registration costs $25 in advance and $30 on race day.

Hope for Christmas: The Redeem Project’s Hope for Christmas program provides assistance during Christmas to families who have suffered a health or other crisis in the past six or eight months. As they are identified, the nonprofit posts families and seniors that need adoption for Christmas on its website or on Facebook. The websites also accept financial donations.

Operation Christmas Child: Operation Christmas Child, a project from the international relief organization called Samaritan’s Purse, provides local partners around the world with shoeboxes filled with small toys, hygiene items and school supplies, and seeks to demonstrate God’s love through each gift. The age-specific boxes are shipped to children affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine and disease. Visit samaritanspurse.org to order boxes and find out what may be placed in the boxes.

Toys for Tots charity drive (News Tribune file)

Toys for Tots: The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots campaign is once again collecting toys and monetary donations for area youth this Christmas season. Click here for a list of donation sites, to volunteer for a donation drive or to sign up to receive toys.

Samaritan Center: The Samaritan Center works to ease the burden on families during the holiday season offering Thanksgiving meals and the Santa’s Workshop program, in which toys, hats and gloves are handed out during a drive-thru event. Donations of food, clothing and money are welcome; click here for how to give.

From His House to Your House Free Store of Fulton: The Free Store is accepting food donations around the Thanksgiving season. It is also accepting donations for Christmas stockings for teens and younger now through December. Donations of coloring books, crayons, toy cars, bouncy balls, bubbles, hats and gloves, and miscellaneous gift items are welcome. Both new and gently used toys are accepted. Applications to receive a stocking are required. For more information, call 573-253-4323 or visit its Facebook page.

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Molly Morris

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