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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.
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.

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 meal fundraiser

In memory of Gracie Purdy, the Belleair Parks & Recreation Department is partnering with Mildred Helms Elementary and Suncoast Hospice, providing 50 families with groceries, including a complete Thanksgiving meal. Donate one item or adopt a whole family for $100. Every little bit helps. Donations can be dropped off at the Dimmitt Community Center in Belleair by Nov. 20. For more information, call 518-3728.

Write a check or donate the following items: Publix gift certificates $25 or $50, toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet paper, body soap, paper towels, Clorox wipes, dish soap, pasta, canned corn, green beans, peanut butter, jelly, canned soup, granola bars, cookies, boxed potatoes, canned sweet potatoes, crackers, cereal, Ramen noodles, any canned goods.

Thanksgiving dinner at Paradise Lutheran

Paradise Lutheran Church, 10255 Paradise Blvd., Treasure Island is hosting 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.

Canned goods for library fines

All Clearwater Public Library branches will offer an amnesty period for overdue materials in exchange for a donation of nonperishable goods. The offer is valid through Friday, Dec. 21.

Anyone who has fines may bring their canned goods or nonperishable foods to any Clearwater library branch and present them at the circulation desk with the overdue materials if available. Staff will waive any fines due, and the donated food will go toward a holiday charity food drive. Call 562-4970.

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.

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.

Jim Rosenkrans Memorial Toy Run

Harley-Davidson of St. Petersburg is hosting its 25th annual Jim Rosenkrans Memorial Toy Run on Sunday, Dec. 2. This charity Toy Run begins and ends at Jim’s Harley-Davidson, 2805 54th Ave. N., and follows a pre-determined route through St. Petersburg, St. Pete Beach and Pass-A-Grille. Participants will be leaving the dealership at 10 a.m.

Every participant must furnish a new, unwrapped toy or a $15 donation to preregister. It is $20 or a new, unwrapped toy the day of the event. Bring in four cans of food and receive a commemorative drink coozie.

Pre-registration continues through Friday, Nov. 30, with last-minute pre-registration ending December 2 at 9 a.m. The event will also feature live music, free barbecue for participants, 50/50 and silent auction with all fundraising benefitting the Jim Rosenkrans Memorial Toy Run Foundation. For more information or to pre-register online please visit WWW.J­IMSHD­.COM

The Toy Run started in 1979 where Jamie Rosenkrans, owner, was teaching at Skyview, Rio Vista and Woodlawn Elementary. It was then that Jim, former owner and former St. Pete Firefighter, and Jamie decided to create a vehicle for giving back to the community.

The event has grown much since then with the banner year’s roster consisting of 2,500 people and 1,800 bikes compared to the 30 motorcycles in its inaugural year. The event has raised more than $1 million since its inception.

Not forgetting its humble beginnings, the Toy Run is still a major event for the dealership where owner Jamie Rosenkrans insists that no child be without a toy on Christmas. Jim Rosenkrans passed away in 1988. Since then, the Toy Run has been renamed the “Jim Rosenkrans Memorial Toy Run” and although Jim is no longer here to share this momentous occasion, his memory lives on in the Toy Run.

Suncoast Brotherhood motorcycle toy run

The Suncoast Brotherhood motorcycle rights group presents its 32nd annual Toy Run on Sunday, Dec. 16, starting from the K-Mart parking lot at U.S. 19 and S.R. 580 in Dunedin. The police escorted procession begins with kickstands up at noon.

Participants are asked to bring a $5 donation and an unwrapped toy per person, all to benefit the Pinellas County Foster and Adoptive Parents Association. The group is especially asking for gift cards this year, as many of the foster kids are teenagers. The procession will start along S.R. 580 and end at American Legion Post 275 at 360 Wilson Street. For information, call Suzanne at 736-4664 or Kenny at 580-9183.

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.

Christmas Tree Sale

Boy Scout troop 371’s annual Christmas tree sale starts Nov. 23 and continues through Dec. 20, at Christ the King Lutheran Church. 11220 Oakhurst Road, Largo. The trees will be sold from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday; and 1 to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Proceeds go to the troop's upcoming campouts and other troop needs

Holiday show benefits Palm Harbor food pantry

Grasshopper Productions is celebrating its second annual Holiday Show and Charity Event Friday, Nov. 30, 6 to 9 p.m., at Larisa Jewelers, 30569 U.S. 19 N., in Seabreeze Plaza. The event is open to the public and will feature Grasshopper’s 2012 artists for Christmas. A $1 donation is requested at the door. All proceeds benefit FEAST/Palm Harbor Food Pantry.

Wine, soft drinks and appetizers will be served along with live music by Mark Hanson. All artwork will be for sale and a portion of all proceeds will be donated to FEAST.

In keeping with the spirit of giving and the theme “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” Grasshopper Productions has created a special limited edition greeting card series especially for the event. Each card features the artwork of a Grasshopper artist and is suitable for framing or any occasion. Each card depicts an artistic interpretation of the song’s 12 verses.

All greeting card proceeds will be donated to FEAST/Palm Harbor Food Pantry. A 12-pack series will be available for a $25 donation. Cards also may be purchased individually. For more information, email ghoppro@yahoo.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.

All Children’s Hospital gift catalog

All Children's Hospital is taking part in the launch of the first-ever crowdfunded hospital gift catalog –www.G­iveMi­racle­s.org – as part of a national campaign led by the world’s largest crowdfunding-for-good platform, Fundly, and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Through www.G­iveMi­racle­s.org, individuals wanting to give back with their holiday gifts can purchase critically needed medical equipment and medical care for children at All Children's Hospital.

Once donors choose their gift from the www.G­iveMi­racle­s.org catalog, ranging from comfort toys ($30), to a pediatric wheelchair ($970), to an entire hospital wing devoted to neonatal intensive care ($12 million), they will receive updates on exactly how their gift is being utilized.

Individuals can launch their own personalized crowdfunding campaign on the www.G­iveMi­racle­s.org platform to collectively purchase big-ticket, high-impact medical items for the hospital through small donations from friends and family via Fundly, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
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