Charities seek assistance as holidays approach

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. For many students that means a long awaited trip back home and the promise of a home cooked meal, yet countless citizens do not have that option.
This is the season of giving and many of the local charities such as the Middle Georgia Food Bank, the Macon Rescue Mission and the Dove Center are working around the clock to make sure that citizens in need of assistance during this Thanksgiving season are cared for.
These charities are dependent on community efforts and there are numerous chances for Mercerians to lend a helping hand before packing up for the break.
“There are always hardships when it gets to the colder season. As far as hardships we are experiencing them because we are not getting a lot of donations,” explained Julie Adair, Dove Center Director.
The Macon Rescue Center primarily houses male citizens and tries to house as many men as possible, while the Dove Center houses women, who are victims of domestic violence, and their children. Both centers are at their maximum capacity with waiting lists.
Some of the main things that they need for the holiday season are turkeys and pumpkin pies. They are serving a large Thanksgiving dinner and are encouraging anyone that is willing to volunteer their time to help serve dinner or help deliver food to shut-ins.
Collections and donations are thoroughly encouraged as well.  “The things that we are in dire need of right now in collections are: hygienic items such as deodorant, diapers, disposable razors, shampoo, deodorant soaps, moisturizing soaps, toothbrushes, toothpaste, paper towels, toilet paper, powdered laundry detergent and Pine-Sol,” said Adair.
The Dove Center could use volunteers that would be willing to babysit children at the Dove Center when the mothers are attending class or chapel services.
She also asks that students go shop at the Macon Rescue Center’s Bargain Center store, because the proceeds go towards helping those at the centers.
Students can call the Macon Rescue Center at (478) 743-5445 to find out more information.
Ronald Raleigh, executive director of Middle Georgia Food Bank, said that there are about eight food drives currently going on in the community, but there are always opportunities for students that want to help out. “Food Drives are always necessary to keep us in stock. During the Thanksgiving time, we usually have quite a number of drives from several companies, grocery stores and schools,” Raleigh said.
Students can call the Middle Georgia Food Bank office at (478) 741-8777 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday to find out about volunteering opportunities at the bank, or just show up at a food drive.
Volunteer activities include bagging and boxing food items that go out to senior citizens and households. Students can even mount a food drive of their own on Mercer’s campus.
There are plenty of ways that students can get involved in aiding these charities. So before heading out for the holiday, consider volunteering with some of these local charities.