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Pinellas County shares the holiday spirit
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Tampa Bay Newspapers is compiling its annual Share the Spirit listing of ways people are pitching in to help others during the holidays.
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The Tampa Picture Show hosts a Fall Follies Variety Show fundraiser, in support of Feeding America Tampa Bay, on Nov. 16.
The holidays are a special time, when even the most stalwart Grinch begin to feel jolly. Unfortunately, for the needy, the holidays can be a time of stress, not joy.

No need to despair - Pinellas County always comes together to try to make the holidays bright for everyone, old and young, sick and healthy, rich or poor.

Tampa Bay Newspapers is compiling its annual Share the Spirit listing of ways people are pitching in to help others during the holidays. To add to the list, send an email to webmaster@tbnweekly­.com. The list focuses on help during the holidays, not holiday fundraisers that help with other community needs.

Giving Thanks by Giving Back: Fall Follies Variety Show

Local performers give the clothes off their backs for the hungry -literally!

The Tampa Picture Show hosts a Fall Follies Variety Show fundraiser, in support of Feeding America Tampa Bay, on Nov. 16. Organized by Mme. Jiji’s CaBurlesque, the show is a nod to the famous Ziegfeld Follies and will contain performances of various styles from live singing to fire dance.

The adults-only show is at Tampa Pitcher Show, 14416 N. Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa. Doors open at 10:30 p.m. All net proceeds will be donated to Feeding America Tampa Bay. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 the day of the show. Tickets can be purchased online now at www.CaBurlesqueShow.com. Call 813-658-8301 or email info@caburlesqueshow.com for more information. Visit www.facebook.com/CaBurlesque for pictures and updates.

Mme. Jiji’s CaBurlesque has been operating a cabaret and burlesque variety show in the Bay Area since January of 2010. The group has raised thousands of dollars for various charities. “We are so grateful for the continued support audiences have shown us in the area, we think it’s important to reciprocate by supporting the communities in which we perform,” says Leonard Lamé, who is one of the show’s emcees. The group elected to support Feeding America Tampa Bay this year - in time for Thanksgiving. Feeding America Tampa Bay supports many other local food banks and soup kitchens. For every dollar raised, Feeding America Tampa Bay will provide four meals.

“They really know how to make every penny work,” says Lamé, “just like us.”

United Methodist Cooperative Ministries

A communitywide Ditty Bags for the Homeless Stuffing Day is Saturday, Nov. 17, at the administrative offices of United Methodist Cooperative Ministries/Suncoast Inc., 403 First Ave. SW, Suite 102, Largo.

The public is invited to participate in the annual project to fill 4,000 bags with hygiene and toiletry items such as travel size shampoo, soap, deodorants, individually packaged toothbrushes and toothpaste, combs and socks. The filled bags will be distributed that day to 22 established agencies that work with the homeless in Pinellas, Manatee, Pasco, Citrus and Hernando counties for distribution to those they serve in December.

The annual project is co-sponsored by the United Methodist Women of the Gulf Central District of the United Methodist Church. Each year UMW groups from five counties sew approximately 3,000 colorful drawstring bags and fill them with personal hygiene items for people who have fallen on hard times and find themselves living in shelters, transitional housing, or even on the streets. This year, UM Cooperative Ministries will purchase 1,000 additional bags and supplies to help meet the growing need. Volunteers will fill and sort the additional bags on Nov. 17.

Donations of funds as well as the hygiene items themselves are welcomed. For a complete list of items, visit www.umcm.info and click the link for Ditty Bags.

Items may be delivered or mailed to the UM Cooperative Ministries’ Administrative Office, 403 First Ave. SW, Suite 102, Largo, FL 33770. For more details or to volunteer, call 442-6881, ext. 5, or email Kcarpenter@umcm.info.

People That Love Church and Mission

Food is being collected for the holidays and for daily distribution at the People That Love Church and Mission, 817 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg. Canned and nonperishable foods are needed, as are 10- to 12-pound turkeys. All donations may be delivered at any time. For information, visit www.peoplethatlove.com.

Thanksgiving dinner at Paradise Lutheran

TREASURE ISLAND – Paradise Lutheran Church, 10255 Paradise Blvd., will host a free traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, Nov. 22, noon. Guests are asked to bring their own dinner plate and silverware. The church will provide everything else. Reservations are required. For more information, call 360-5739 or 347-2272.

Benefit concert for Toys for Tots

The Second annual Rock and Roll concert to benefit Toys for Tots is Saturday, Nov. 24, 8 p.m., at the Palladium Theatre in St. Petersburg. Deborah Nader of Richard Nader Entertainment has invited the Marines to bring their boxes so audience members can fill them with toys.

Performing include Tommy Mara and the Crests “Sixteen Candles,” The Mystics “Hushabye,” Johnny Thunder “Loop De Loop” and special guest, The Impacs

In addition to a cash donation to Toys for Tots, Nader has assembled a gift basket valued at more than $500 to thank audience members who bring new unwrapped toys. Tickets are priced at $30, $40, and $100, which includes a private VIP wine reception with the artists, can be ordered by calling 727-822-3590 or online at www.spcollege.edu/palladium. Richard Nader Entertainment will also present a check to Toys for Tots.

First Bank collects Toys for Tots

Eight First Bank branches in Pinellas County will participate in the 2012 Toys for Tots campaign, a U.S. Marines Corp League program that collects and distributes toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community.

From Nov. 19 through Dec. 10, First Bank customers and others in the community are invited to stop by the following First Bank offices during regular lobby hours and drop off new, unwrapped toys:

• Pinellas Park, 7600 U.S. 19 N.

• Pasadena, 6850 Central Ave., St. Petersburg

• Kenneth City, 5825 54th Ave. N.

• Seminole, 13700 Park Blvd.

• Walsingham, 13175 Walsingham Road, Largo

For information, call Kathy Carlson at 896-1641, ext. 11201.

Salvation Army - Clearwater

Clearwater Salvation Army is seeking volunteers to help with holiday activities, including the following.

• Christmas Red Kettle Bell Ringers, Nov. 16-24, excluding Saturdays

Volunteers needed between the hours of 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in many locations. Several shifts available.

• Thanksgiving Food Distribution, Nov. 19-20, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Volunteers needed to help hand out turkeys and food bags

• Walmart Fill-A-Truck, Dec. 8, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Volunteers needed to assist with handing out toy wish lists to shoppers and collecting donated toys.

• Christmas Distribution, Dec. 17-18. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Volunteers needed to assist with the Christmas toy and food distribution.

For more information, call Jo Ann Bruner at 727-725-9777, ext. 104 or email JoAnn_Bruner@uss.salvationarmy.org.

Salvation Army - St. Petersburg

Salvation Army in St. Petersburg has a number of volunteer opportunities just in time to help hundreds of families in lower Pinellas County with gifts of love and hope for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last year 7,513 men, women and children received assistance. Help is needed in the following areas.

• Bell ringing through Dec. 24

A special goal is to increase the number of Volunteer Bell Ringers this year. The annual Red Kettle Christmas fundraising campaign started in 1891 when a Salvation Army Captain in San Francisco set up a crab pot at Oakland Ferry Landing to collect donations to feed the poor at Christmas. The campaign has since become one of the longest-running and most recognizable fundraising efforts in the world.

Be an ambassador to the community for The Salvation Army. Your club, group or company employees can ring bells at a community location to help us raise funds and give hope to families in our community.

Priority for Volunteer Bell Ringers will be on Fridays and Saturdays at the Publix Stores, Walmart, and Tyrone Mall stations. Minimum shift is two hours.

• Pinellas County Schools food drive

Donated trucks, drivers and loaders needed to pick up and unload food from schools. Pick-ups Nov 14-16, Nov 26-30, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Angel Tree through Dec. 7

'Host' an Angel Tree in your office, lobby, store or church. Also, volunteers are needed at the Angel Tree Booth located inside Tyrone Square Mall by JCPenney.

• Thanksgiving Day of Caring, Nov. 22

Come help prepare, set-up, serve and clean-up after the Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

• Christmas Food sorting, Nov. 15-16, 19, Nov. 26-30

Sort food collected from the fall school food drives and prepare bags for needy families.

• Christmas toy sorting, Dec. 10-14

Assist staff in sorting and packaging toys for needy children in the community.

• Christmas distribution, Dec. 18-20

Distribution of food, toys and other assistance to 1,000 plus families from the community.

• Christmas Eve Community Dinner, Dec. 24

Come help prepare, serve and clean up after the Community Christmas Dinner.

• After Christmas, Jan. 7-31

Check dates and stock food donated to our Social Services Department in their pantry.

For more information about volunteer opportunities

Call Gail Stark at 727-550-8080, ext. 332 or email her at Gail_Stark@uss.salvationarmy.org.

Holiday fundraisers

Organizations throughout Pinellas use the holidays as a time to raise funds for their causes to be used year-round to help the community. The following is a list of fundraisers submitted by TBN readers. To add to this list, send an email to webmaster@tbnweekly.com.

24th annual Deck the Halls

Purchase ornaments for the holiday tree and help Suncoast Hospice Saturday, Dec. 8, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at ArtLofts at Florida Craftsmen, 10 Fifth St. N., St. Petersburg. All artist-made ornaments sell for $5 and proceeds go to Hospice. For more information, call 727-418-8887 or email Vlkrie@aol.com.
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