By Amy Woods

Coastal residents, like pretty much everyone else, cannot wait to put 2020 behind them and for obvious reasons —coronavirus, unemployment woes and the faltering economy, to name a few.

But as the year comes to an end, area charities are rallying to help people in need during the holidays.

“Right now, people are running out of money because of the pandemic,” said Susan Fell, public relations chairwoman for Soroptimist International of the Palm Beaches, a nonprofit that funnels resources and support to women and children. “It’s universal at this point.”

Many of the organization’s clients have children missing school because of COVID-19 restrictions, placing additional burdens on mothers.

“Some women can’t go to work because they’re staying home with their children,” Fell said. “There are a lot more people in need who might be right around the corner from you. Soroptimist is in a position to find them and make sure they’re taken care of.”

The 75-year-old philanthropic group has partnered with Speak Up for Kids to make sure boys and girls receive Christmas presents via the Holiday Toy Drive. More than 1,600 children in the local foster-care system will benefit from donations of new toys, gift cards and books collected through Dec. 10.

“Overall, there is more need,” Vice President Nikki Connors said. “It’s a difficult time, and our ladies are working hard to make it better.”

In the past, members shopped for each child personally to select that special something.

“People are not comfortable going out and shopping now,” Connors said. “A lot of our ladies are elderly, and they’re just not wanting to go to the store.”

For information, call 561-408-7779 or visit https://speakupforkidspbc.org.

 

Here are some other ways to help families in need during what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.

• The U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots Foundation is accepting unwrapped toys at the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach in an attempt to top the 70,378 toys it distributed in 2019. For information, call 305-922-1558 or visit https://west-palm-beach-fl.toysfortots.org.

• The Salvation Army has set up its Angel Tree program in Boca Raton, Lake Worth, West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens to help parents who otherwise might have to choose between paying rent and buying Christmas presents. For information call 561-686-3530 or visit https://salvationarmyflorida.org/westpalmbeach.

• Space of Mind school’s Community Classroom Kitchen has debuted its chef-curated meal box campaign, which will run until the end of January 2021. The campaign features Executive Chef Blake Malatesta’s curated collection of easy and delicious make-together family meals and, for each one ordered, one will be donated. For information, call 561-894-8772 or visit https://yourccp.org/community-classroom-kitchen.

• Ferd & Gladys Alpert Jewish Family Service, the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County and The Kind Kitchen of Palm Beach are teaming up to deliver Hanukkah meals to community members in need. Volunteers are needed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 11. For information, call 561-713-1893 or visit www.alpertjfs.org/events/mealdelivery.

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