The holiday season can be a busy time of year. It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of a packed calendar, packed full of shopping lists, office parties, holiday baking, and planning the ultimate festive get-together with friends and family. When all is said and done, the winter months can be a little overwhelming. It’s important to take a moment to breathe and remember what this time of year is really all about. Lending a helping hand or donating to a great community cause is a wonderful way to make the holidays mean more than just finding the best shopping deal. Here are four ways to give back to those who call St. Augustine home:
1. Neighborhood Food Drive
Donating to a local food pantry is as easy as swinging open your pantry door and gathering a couple stacks of canned food or non-perishable items such as cereal, pasta or the go-to snack of peanut butter and jelly. If you want to take it up a notch, organize a neighborhood food drive. Simply take a few minutes to print out some flyers listing a date and time you will be collecting food items and where the donations will go. Set up a table at the end of a driveway with a table, some chairs and a sign. Pass out the flyers a few days ahead of time to your neighbors and watch the giving begin.
Local Food Drive Drop-Off Locations
St. Johns Ecumenical Ministries Food Pantry | 12 Madeore Street, St. Augustine
Catholic Charities of St. John’s County | 225 West King Street, St. Augustine
Salvation Army Food Bank | 1731 Dobbs Road, Suite 7, St. Augustine
Second Harvest Food Bank | 1731 Dobbs Road, Suite 8
Mellow Mushroom for St. Francis House | 410 Anastasia Blvd.
2. Coat Collection
Have your kids outgrown their winter coats from last year? Instead of letting them collect dust in the hallway closet for another 12 months, bag them up and drop them by a local Goodwill. There are two drop-off locations in St. Augustine and numerous ones up north in Jacksonville and the Beaches area.
Palencia Plaza | 7440 U.S 1 North #102 | 904-829-1402
Anastasia Island | 3920 A1A South, St. Augustine |904-461-0953
3. Christmas Giving Tree
There are still a few days left to participate in the Salvation Army Angel Tree. The program serves the St. Augustine and Jacksonville area, providing thousands of underprivileged children with the joy of opening gifts on Christmas day. Each Angel Tree donation slip has the name of the child, their age, a simple wish list and clothing size. The Angel Trees are displayed at various locations, including various Publix, Jacksonville’s Sonny’s BBQ, Ashley Furniture and The Avenues Mall behind the Starbucks. For more information, call the Salvation Army Northeast Florida at 904-301-4782 or visit the website at http://salvationarmynefl.org/.
4. Donate Your Time
If you’re a fan of furry little friends, spend some time at the St. Augustine Humane Society, volunteering to help with a number of wonderful programs. The Society is currently recruiting volunteers for dog training, re-homing assistance, adoption services, grooming salon, and the pet food pantry. Visit the St. Augustine Humane Society for more information at http://www.staughumane.org.