’Tis the season: Quick-reference guide to volunteering and charity gifting

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Don’t be a scrooge! Grab your family, friends or coworkers and start making a difference. You can start locally with your village, hospitals, nursing homes, churches and shelters. Find organizations and charities in your community by volunteering and making donations during this joyous time of year.

1. Help the Homeless

Volunteer or donate at a local shelter, pantry or church. Visit www.volunteermatch.com to get listing and descriptions of local organizations in need.

2. Support a Family in Need

Northern Illinois Food Bank provides the food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and youth and senior feeding programs that serve more than 60,000 different people each week. For donation and volunteer information, visit www.solvehungertoday.org.

HSC Food pantry, a nonprofit organization, has served the residents of Southeast Dupage County since 1937. To inquire about services provided, contact them at (630) 323-2500 or visit www.hcsfamilyservices.org.

3. Holiday Cheer for a Child

The Marine Toys for Tots 2013 Holiday Recognition Program designed to provide donors with the opportunity to recognize clients, business associates, family members or friends during the holiday season. You can donate in lieu of giving holiday gifts. Visit www.toysfortots.org.

4. Senior Citizens

The Meals On Wheels Association of America is the oldest and largest national organization composed of and representing local, community-based Senior Nutrition Programs. For a location near you, visit www.mowaa.org.

5. Disability

Goodwill provides training, employment and supportive services for people with disabilities or disadvantages. Buy or donate 1527B N. Waukegan Rd. in Glenview. Call (847) 998-6561. For more locations, visit goodwill.org.

6. Serving our Soldiers

Veterans Assistance Fund donation website, which is run by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs to help Illinois veterans in many areas of need. For more information, contact (217) 782-7467or to donate online at www.illinois.gov/veterans.

7. Holiday Visiting Hours

Bring a gift or read a story to brighten the holidays for those in need. Hospital Volunteer listings and requirements are at www.hospitalvolunteer.net.