Local places where you can lend a helping hand

December 10, 2011

BY SCARLETT SALEM — The holiday season tends to bring out people’s desire to lend a helping hand to others. Here are some ways you can volunteer around the city, both now and throughout the year.

St. Jerome’s Café provides hot meals to the needy every Thursday from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.  Volunteers prepare, cook, deliver and serve the lunch at St. Jerome Church, 5205 43rd Avenue. Donations of food are also welcome. If you are interested in cooking, serving or donating, please contact Terry Enfield at 301.864.9260.

Community Place Café at First United Methodist Church serves lunches every weekday but Thursday from 12:30 to 1:30 pm. 6201 Belcrest Road. Contact Deborah Commodore at 301.927.6133 after 1 p.m. on weekdays.

The Sonny Frazier Holiday Toy Drive is accepting volunteers for its annual party, on December 17. Volunteers help with party activities and watch children while their parents go pick out gifts for them. High school students needing service hours are welcome! To volunteer or donate, contact Ruth Ann Frazier at 301.779.5428.

Community Forklift could be considered a thrift-store version of Home Depot, except that volunteers can earn $5 per hour in store credit. Donations of building materials such as furniture, tools and cabinets are accepted on Wednesdays and Thursdays from  10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 4671 Tanglewood Drive, Edmonston. 301.985.5180.

GLUT Food Coop is a worker-managed cooperative that gives volunteers $6.15 in store credit per hour. There are three shifts a day, seven days a week. To sign up and find out what shifts are available for the week, call Glut at 301.779.1978 starting at 9 a.m. on Sundays. 4005 34th Street, Mt. Rainier.

Eco City Farms welcomes volunteers every Saturday to pitch in at this community farm, and learn about urban farming in the process. For more information and to sign up, email volunteer@ecocityfarms.org. 4913 Crittenden Street, Edmonston. 301.288.1125.

For years, Milton and Linda McGehee delivered care packages to Walter Reed Hospital. Then, he said, “I found out that you can buy a box at the post office for $12.50 and send it anywhere in the world,” he says. “You can put in snack food and toiletries and magazines.” Now, the couple mails care packages to service members in the U.S. and overseas, and invites others to do the same. For more information, call him at 301.559.0864.

The local chapter of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a fraternal and charitable organization, just celebrated its 114th birthday. It donates food and money to St. Jerome’s Café and is always looking for new members, says group treasurer Douglas Thompson. Contact him for details at 301.699.0440.

The Retired Senior and Volunteer Program in Prince George’s County offers a variety of opportunities for people 55 and up to put their skills and services to work in the community. They can mentor and tutor students, help seniors in computer use, assist with natural disasters, help in nursing homes and more. Call 301.265.8450 for information.