More Ideas for Holiday Givebacks

By Jeremy Park

Last week we spotlighted The Exchange Club Family Center, which is an organization focused on helping families and breaking the cycle of child abuse and neglect. Before we announce the topic for this week’s column, let us thank the hundreds of volunteers that came out on Saturday, Nov. 17, for the McKellar Lake Cleanup. More than 5,000 pounds of trash was removed from the area with 2,750 pounds being recycled. Now it is time to explore a few ways we can give back using holiday cards, honorariums and unwrapped toys.

The Exchange Club Family Center, which was highlighted last week, has a nice holiday gift alternative. Instead of mailing a traditional card or gift, consider sending an honorarium that honors your friends and family while giving hope to those healing from child abuse and family violence. You can order online at and everyone on your list will receive a personalized, hand-addressed holiday card with a special tribute message inside, noting a contribution in their name. For more information, contact

SRVS, which provides a continuum of care to more than 800 people with disabilities, has an angel list for disadvantaged individuals with no family. Each angel has a wish list of a few basic needs. To adopt a SRVS angel, contact Cheryl McCaskill at Also, instead of mailing store-bought cards, consider SRVS holiday greeting cards, featuring artwork uniquely designed by individuals at their SRVS Learning Center. A pack of 15 cards costs only $10 with all proceeds benefiting SRVS. To purchase SRVS holiday cards, contact Diana Fedinec at or visit

SHIELD INC. is a local nonprofit providing temporary emergency shelter, permanent housing, and supportive services to homeless individuals and families. Since life in a shelter can make the holidays dreary for children of all ages, they need help to lift their Christmas spirits. On Dec. 15, they will host their 10th annual Christmas Giveaway and plan to serve more than 200 homeless and low-income children up to age 12. Consider helping their effort by giving new unwrapped toys, gift cards, or monetary donations (just $5 can provide a Christmas toy). Unwrapped toys can be brought to their office at 2552 Poplar Ave., Suite 215. For more information contact Valerie Bobo at 454-9755 or visit

If you are looking to volunteer, Youth Villages needs volunteers on Wednesday, Dec. 5, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 7, from 7:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to assist in the preparation and construction of their new playground, KaBoom! Youth Villages has partnered with the McDonald’s Foundation to build this new playground for youth at their Bartlett Campus. Youth Villages is a private nonprofit organization dedicated to helping emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families live successfully. For more information and to volunteer, visit or call 251-5000.

Jeremy Park, director of the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club, can be reached at and followed on Twitter (@lpbreakfastclub) and Facebook (