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As we celebrate and enjoy this holiday season, let’s not forget that there are people beyond our immediate circle of family and friends who could benefit from our love and generosity. Over the past decade, I’ve been able to showcase scores of community organizations on my Triad Today television show, and in the process, I’ve learned that there are several ways we can help these agencies help others. The first is to donate goods, the second is to donate money, and the third is to donate our time. Of course, some nonprofit groups can benefit from all three types of giving. In no particular order, below are just a few organizations to which you might lend your support.

United Way of Forsyth County

United Way of Forsyth County “brings the community and its resources together to solve problems that no one organization can solve alone.” That mission includes being engaged in a number of important initiatives, such as the 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness. “The Forsyth Promise,” which supports and promotes the success of every child at every age, and strives to increase the high school graduation rate to 90%. As well as, “Place Matters,” a campaign to reduce poverty in targeted neighborhoods. For more information, or to make a donation, visit www.forsythunitedway.org.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest N.C.

Unfortunately, the Piedmont Triad has one of the worst hunger problems in the nation, and that includes the problem of childhood hunger. To help alleviate the hunger problem, Second Harvest Food Bank distributes food to churches and nonprofit agencies that feed hungry people in an 18-county area. You can write a check directly to the food bank, or you can drop-off non-perishable food items at a number of locations in our area. For more information call (336) 784-5770, or visit www.hungernwnc.org.

Goodwill Industries of Northwest N.C.

Each year, thousands of people in Northwest North Carolina are served by workforce development programs that are administered by Goodwill. Those programs are supported, in part, by the clothing and other items we donate, which are then sold at Goodwill retail stores. That means, the more items you donate, the more people who will get back to work. Goodwill also welcomes monetary donations. For more information, call (336) 724-3621 or visit www.goodwillnwnc.org.

Cancer Services, Inc.

Their stated mission is “to enhance the quality of life for those living with cancer, and to provide the gift of life through education.” Their services include patient advocacy, medication and financial assistance, providing equipment and supplies, offering peer support groups, and much more. Ninety percent of funds donated to Cancer Services, Inc. goes directly to providing client services. In addition to money, you can also donate used equipment and supplies. Call (336) 760-9983, or visit www.cancerservicesonline.org.

Greensboro Urban Ministry

This organization is on the front lines when it comes to providing emergency assistance. Greensboro Urban Ministry provides homeless families in Guilford Count, a safe, temporary environment. Volunteers are needed to prepare and serve meals, manage shelters, tutor children and perform a variety of other duties. Monetary donations are also much appreciated. Call (336) 271-5959, or visit www.greensborourbanministry.org.

Mountain Valley Hospice

This nonprofit program serves a 16-county area in North Carolina and Virginia and provides personalized care for patients at the end of life, as well as comfort to families. Mountain Valley Hospice has six regional offices and operates two hospice homes. They also specialize in care for terminally ill children and veterans. To give money or inquire about volunteering, call 1(888) 789-2922, or visit  www.mtnvalleyhospice.org.

Petty Family Foundation

NASCAR legend Richard Petty and his family support a number of charitable organizations including, Paralyzed Veterans of America and Victory Junction Camp, the latter of which provides an uplifting experience for children with severe disabilities and terminal illnesses. To make a donation or learn more, visit www.pettyfamilyfoundation.org.

The P.O.W.E.R. of Play Foundation

Founded by former NFL star Ricky Proehl and his wife, Kelly, the foundation works with at-risk youth, teaching them important life lessons in a structured, sports-centered environment. The 22-acre park also features the city’s first universally accessible playground for kids ages 5-12. To make a donation or for more information, call (336) 665-5233, or visit www.proehlificpark.com.

Carolina Donor Services and Red Cross

There can be no greater gift at this holiday season than the gift of life, and that’s why you might consider donating blood and signing a donor card. Either gesture requires only a few minutes of your time, and will almost certainly result in saving someone’s life in the future. You can reach Carolina Donor Services at 1 (800) 200-2672, or at www.carolinadonorservices.org. You can call the Red Cross at (336) 333-2111, or via the internet at www.redcross.org.

Please remember that your donations of time, money, or goods to area community organizations are vitally important, not just now, but throughout the coming year. It’s also a way for us to expand the circle of people we care about, and that’s something worth celebrating in this season of giving.

Jim Longworth is the host of Triad Today, airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11 a.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).

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