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Make a Difference Helping Others in New Orleans at Christmas

How to Help, Donate, & Volunteer

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Wnat better way to celebrate the season than to make a difference helping others in New Orleans during the Christmas holidays. Here's a list of 8 volunteer opportunities, donation requests including gifts for needy kids, and other ways help during the holidays.

Plus, included is another list of other unique and unusual volunteer opportunities in New Orleans throughout the year, including the very special chance to volunteer for the Superbowl in early 2013.

Forgotten Angels Christmas Party for Shelter Kids - Ozanam Inn

Children living in shelters and transitional housing are treated to a Forgotten Angels Christmas Party with food by New Orleans hotel chefs, entertainment and gifts from Santa.

You can be a real Santa and help provide those gifts or donate money to help finance the party. Make a check out to "Ozanam Inn for Forgotten Angels" sent to Ozanam Inn, PO Box 30565, New Orleans, LA 70190-0565

Drop off unwrapped gifts - new toys and new clothes - for babies through young teenagers to the Inn or the following hotels:

  • Ozanam Inn, 843 Camp St. in the Warehouse District
  • Ritz-Carlton on Canal St.
  • Marriott Hotels on Canal St. and by the Convention Center
  • Courtyard Hotels in the French Quarter, in the CBD, on Metairie's Galleria Blvd., and in Covington/Mandeville on Northpark Blvd.
  • Residence Inns Downtown and in Metairie on Galleria Blvd., and in Covington/Mandeville on Park Place Blvd.
  • Renaissance both the Pere Marquette Hotel and the Arts Hotel in the
  • SpringHill Suites Downtown

If you have a big bunch of gifts, call Clarence Adams at 504.723.8149 for pick-up information.

The Ozanam Inn on Camp St. downtown can always use donations, volunteers and other help too

Coats for Kids

Coats for Kids, presented by WGNO/ABC, does what it says - it collects coats for kids. So if you have an old coat or two in the back of your closet that no one wear, donate them.

Imagine if you didn't have a coat. The effort's motto is "One coat will warm one child...and one heart (yours)."

It's easy to drop off your coats, because there are tons of locations including including Canes restaurants, A-1 stores, Home Banks, Zuppado's, Oakwood Mall, and many more. Click on the heading "Coats for Kids" above for all the drop off spots.

Gifts for Foster Kids by CASA

The Friends of the Court Appointed Spedcial Adsvocates (CASA) in Jefferson Parish gives holiday gifts to every child in its programs, as well as other children that live in the foster home. CASA foster kids also receive a gift on their birthday.

CASA is replenishing their office gift closet, the source of these gifts, and request new toys or gift cerftificates for children from infant to age 17 years old. The average gift is about $20.

Suggested items include board games arts & craft/bead jewelry making sets;; action figures, remote controlled cars, building blocks, dump trucks,etc.

Or you can donate money (Call 504.361.4778) and CASA volunteers will buy the gifts for you. Drop off gift items at PJ's COffee, 5359 Mounes Blvd. in Elmwood on the east bank and CASA office, 671 Whitney Ave., Suite A in Gretna on the west bank.

Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots is a national program by the United States Marine Reserve in which donated toys are given to local children in 183 communities including greater New Orleans.

In 2010 over 24,000 toys were passed out to kids in New Orleans from the program There are various drop off spots and keep your ears open for special events and promotions at local businesses. You can search for drop off spots and apply to volunteer on the website.

Salvation Army

DONATE in the bell-ringer's red bucket outside various stores in the community. Some of those buckets now have a coded sticker which you can swipe with a smart phone to make an easy donation.

You can also on on-line to donate. In fact, you can set up your own personal and virtual red bucket on-line and ask your friends to donate to your bucket.

OK, you've done all that and want to take step towards more involvement. Go online and volunteer to be a bell ringer a local store.

Second Harvest Food Bank

Second Harvest Food Bank serves the Greater New Orleans area and Acadiana and demand is up during this challenging economic situation. Help out now during the holidays or anytime during the year.

DONATE FOOD OR MONEY: Drop non-perishable food Monday - Friday, 8am - 4pm at 700 Edwards Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70123. (In Acadiana at 215 East Pinhook Road, Lafayette, LA 70501.

DONATE TIME AND VOLUNTEER: Help with Sorting/Boxing/Packaging donated food; warehouse work; administrative work, special events, special projects, mobile pantry outreach and more.

Bridge House

Bridge House serves hundred of meals on its annual Thanksgiving dinner. The mission of Bridge House - and its sister Grace house - is to break addictions and help young people build their lives. Volunteer or donate any time of the year.

Louisiana SPCA & Pet Charities

Make shelter life more bearable by dropping off something - from old blankets for the cold weather, to food, toys, treats or pet beds - at any metro New Orleans animal shelter including the Louisiana SPCA Algiers center, the Jefferson Parish shelters on the East and West Banks, PAWS in Belle Chasse and the St. Bernard Parish Shelter.

And think about staying for a while and giving the homeless pets a little love and attention. You could also change the entire life of a shelter pet for the good (and your own too) by adopting and taking it home.

Keep an eye out for special promotions, pet Santa photos, dog-friendly events and promotions during the holidays at pet stores and elsewhere that also benefit humane charities. Some gift purchases may also help homeless pets. For instance, Rosetree Glass Studio donates a percentage of its ornament glass blowing to the Louisiana SPCA. The Louisiana SPCA itself has an on-line shop which benefits the non-profit.

BEYOND CHRISTMAS: Unique Volunteer Gigs in NOLA

Unusual volunteer opportunities in New Orleans beyond the holidays, including the Superbowl 2012
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