Written By: Heather Lee Gordy
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” –Mohandas Gandhi
There is much we can learn from ourselves and others when we surrender to the act of service; when we become true and honest—humble to the world around us. When we can put judgements aside and accept that we all have the same basic needs, only then can we become present in our strengths and come together in helping one another. We should want our community to thrive, not for ourselves, but to ensure a greater future for all generations to come. What is our purpose, if it’s not to unite together?
This time of year is often dedicated to giving and sharing, but I encourage you to find where you can serve in everyday of your life in hopes that the pain we share will be easier for all when walking alongside one another. There are many ways to serve—some that involve donating time or money, or maybe attending an event, and some that simple ask for your support in helping spread knowledge and awareness.
Below are a few organizations that dedicate to serving our Cape Fear communities. There are organizations that support every interest, and I’m sure you will find one you can be passionate about. Find your place in serving, and remember that even offering a smile to someone can be enough sometimes.
WECT’S WELLER’S WHEELS AND HOLIDAY SMILES TOY DRIVE
WECT’s Weller’s Wheels and the Holiday Smiles Toy Drive are charity campaigns that strive to help children in need so that they may have a special Christmas. The Holiday Smiles Toy Drive and Weller’s Wheels both started on WECT and later expanded to FOX Wilmington. Their now collective effort encourages donations of unwrapped toys and bikes that The Salvation Army distributes to children each Christmas. Weller’s Wheels collected about 150 bikes last year, and thanks to a donor who already gave 100 bikes alone, it looks like this year they will surpass last year’s mark.
“My favorite part is imaging the children’s faces on Christmas morning,” said Frances. “I’ll never forget the little red tricycles my twin sister and I got as children when we were just four years old…[or] the white Schwinn bikes we got when we were old enough to ride the “big kid” bikes. Our father taught us how to ride them. I remember being afraid he was going to break my brand new bike because he was 6’3” tall….it’s a pure joy for me to think about the memories these kids will create Christmas morning thanks to a very caring community.”
December 17th is the last day to donate bikes or any unwrapped toys. For more information go to www.wect.com.
BRUNSWICK FAMILY ASSISTANCE
Brunswick Family Assistance (BFA) is a private nonprofit dedicated to helping families and individuals by providing emergency assistance, and educational and skills development programs to those who are willing to help themselves. “BFA strives to meet the most basic human needs by providing food, clothing, housing assistance and emergency shelter, and financial assistance for heating, utilities, medical prescriptions and transportation.” Now in their 35th year of operation, BFA reaches almost 20 percent of Brunswick County neighbors. In 2015 they distributed “155,209 pounds of food pantry, provided utility assistance to 2,188 households, and provided $69,543 for rental and housing assistance.” In December of last year, “BFA distributed gifts to 1,145 children and seniors along with food for a traditional Christmas dinner to 590 families.” You can help join in on the great work BFA brings to the Brunswick community by volunteering, donating, or supporting one of their fundraising events. BFA is currently preparing for their annual Christmas Basket/Tree of Hope program. Find out how you can help provide gifts to families in need on their website: www.brunswickfamily.org.
CAROLINA COAST HARLEY-DAVIDSON® ANNUAL TOYS FOR TOTS RIDE
“Each year, Carolina Coast Harley-Davidson® (CCHD) hosts its Annual Toys for Tots Ride the first Sunday of December. Carolina Coast H-D® has been partnering with the Marine Corps Reserve since 1992, rallying bikers to help bring holiday joy for less fortunate children. In order to participate, riders must bring a new, unwrapped gift to Carolina Coast H-D® on or before the ride. Through the years, thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from several states have help make Carolina Coast Harley-Davidson one of the largest toy collectors for the Toys for Tots organization in Wilmington. Each year, typically 500-800 bikers participate in the ride itself.
Rain or shine, CCHD’s employees, the Carolina Coast Harley Owners Group®, Santa, and all of his helpers will be riding through Wilmington to show their support for the Toys for Tots organization. This year’s 24th Annual ride is Sunday, December 4th with Kickstands Up (KSU) at 12, noon. All types of motorcycles are encouraged to participate, however if you do not ride a motorcycle, you can still bring a new, unwrapped toy and enjoy lunch with us. Toys are collected at CCHD until December 13th.”
© 2017 www.carolinacoasthd.com
AREA NONPROFITS/VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
– All About Children Today
– Brigade Boys and Girls Club
– Brunswick Senior Resource, Inc.
– Canines for Service
– Cape Fear Literacy Council
– Cape Fear Volunteer Center
– Good Shepherd Center
– Interfaith Refugee Ministry
– Kids Making It
– Leading Into New Communities
– Lifepoint Church Angel Tree
– Lower Cape Fear Hospice
– Paws4People, Inc.
– Smart Start of Brunswick County
– The Harrelson Center
– Waves for K.I.D.S.