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Give back to the community this holiday season in Sarasota, Manatee

It’s easy to help others have a festive and memorable holiday season while making a difference in your town.

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  • | 7:00 a.m. November 25, 2021
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Thankful Tummies

Sponsor: All Faiths Food Bank

Dates: Ongoing

Get involved: All Faiths Food Banks provides 7,000 turkeys to needy children, families and seniors. Donations of $28 provide a Thanksgiving dinner for one family; $140 provides dinner for five families. To donate, go to, and click the “Make a Gift” link.

About: All Faiths Food Bank works to provide solutions to end hunger in the community.



Sponsor: Jewish Family & Children’s Service of the Suncoast

Dates: Through Dec. 10

Get involved: Interested families, individuals or businesses can email Karen Pharo at [email protected], or call Jessica Plourde at 499-7247.

About: JFCS of the Suncoast is a community-based social service, nonprofit organization that seeks to empower people to lead healthy, happy and sustainable lives through counseling, prevention, intervention, outreach, case management, basic life necessities, financial aid and life skills education programs on a secular, nondenominational basis. 


Toys for Tots

Date: Through Dec. 15

Sponsor: Toys for Tots

Get involved: Donate new, unwrapped toys, books and other gifts at drop-off locations throughout the area. No toys that resemble weapons or food items are accepted. A list of locations in Sarasota County can be found at; Manatee County locations can be found at Monetary donations may also be made online.

About: Since 1947, the nationwide U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program has collected toys and gifted them to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. Each year, it distributes an average of 18 million toys to 7 million children across the country.


Giving Tuesday

Date: Nov. 30

Get involved: Give back to the local community — or elsewhere — by giving your time, donating or using the power of your voice. You can even do something as small as helping a neighbor or showing up for the people you care about. 

About: The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is a global movement of generosity. It was created in 2012 with the simple goal of doing good. Since then, millions of people worldwide have given and celebrated generosity. Many nonprofits, small businesses and schools have organized Giving Tuesday events, but you don’t have to limit yourself to them. Giving Tuesday encourages kindness of all shapes and sizes — and at any time of year.


Holiday Shoebox Collection

Sponsor: Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee

Date: 4-6 p.m. Dec. 4 at Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Elks Lodge, 4602 Lena Road, Bradenton

Get involved: Drop in to donate money or decorated shoeboxes filled with items for seniors supported by Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee. The aim is to collect 1,000 shoe boxes filled with gifts that are delivered to clients of Meals on Wheels Plus. 

About: Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee helps seniors living independently by offering nutritious home-delivered meals and support services. The organization also operates the Food Bank of Manatee, the Enrichment Center, Daybreak Adult Day Center and Friendship Dining.


Holiday Toy Drive

Sponsor: Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, benefiting the 12th Judicial Circuit’s Guardian ad Litem program.

Dates: Toys may be donated from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 1-12 at the Sheriff’s Office headquarters, 6010 Cattleridge Blvd., Sarasota.

Get involved: New toys and gift cards are needed to provide for children who have been removed from the home due to abuse or neglect. Children range in age from newborn to 18 with varying personal needs.

About: The 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida Guardian ad Litem program recruits, trains, supports and supervises court-appointed volunteers to represent vulnerable children. Volunteers are trained in court process, child development, abuse and neglect, cultural difference, advocacy, interviewing techniques and social service education.


Holiday Basket Brigade

Sponsor: Tiny Hands Foundation

Date: Dec. 18 at The Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota, 3100 Fruitville Road, Sarasota

Get involved: The Tiny Hands Foundation is seeking donations, sponsors, partners and volunteers. For $30 you can sponsor a local family in need, or sponsor a group of children and families for $500. Contract Tiffany Morelli at [email protected].

About: The Tiny Hands Foundation works to improve the quality of life for impoverished children in the area through myriad initiatives.