By DENISE HARTSE Star Staff Writer
Christmas is a time of giving ... of giving gifts, of giving happiness and of giving assistance to others.
Many adults take time of do volunteer work during this time of year, but volunteerism is not just for grown-ups. Children and teenagers can volunteer to help others also, and not just at Christmas, but all year long.
There are still a lot of events planned before Christmas in which children, teens and their families can participate that are fun and also can help others.
Following are nine activities in which young people, from toddlers to teens, can get involved that will help others while they too have fun, during the holiday season and even throughout the year:
— 9th Annual Breakfast With Santa — Children and their families may participate in this fun activity that helps raise funds for the Miles City Public Library and its numerous projects. Have Breakfast With Santa on Saturday, Dec. 21, from 8 to 11:30 a.m. at the Eagles Lodge.
The menu includes pancakes, eggs, sausage and a choice of coffee, juice or hot cocoa. Tickets are available at the door. This is an annual fundraiser sponsored by the Friends of the Miles City Public LIbrary that provides a chance to have breakfast and get photos taken of you with Santa before he leaves on his annual Christmas trip.
— The Miles City Soup Kitchen — Volunteers are needed to do various jobs at the Soup Kitchen on a daily basis. The soup kitchen is open weekdays, Mondays through Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is located in the Veterans Affairs Eastern Montana Health Care System Facility at 210 S. Winchester Ave. (use the front entrance by the United States flag). For more information about the soup kitchen call 234-5013. Anyone wishing to volunteer items or services may call 951-3977, 853-6720, 853-2026 or 234-9302.
— Custer County Food Bank — Volunteers of all ages can help collect nonperishable food and funds for the Custer County Food Bank. Items may be dropped off at the food bank located in the Veterans Affairs Eastern Montana Health Care System Facility at 210 S. Winchester Ave. The food bank is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. More information about the food bank, its needs and activities is available by calling 234-3663.
— U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots Program — Donations of new children’s toys are being accepted in Toys for Tots collection bins located in several stores around Miles City. Children, teens and adults may collect new toys to help fill the bins. The toys will be distributed to Miles City and area children who might not otherwise receive Christmas gifts.
— Custer County Fund for Animals — The Custer County Fund for Animals provides financial assistance for spaying or neutering pets at Miles City veterinary clinics. Monetary donations are always needed to purchase these vouchers and children and teens interested in helping animals in Miles City and the area may want to collect donations to help with this project. If they would rather not collect money, East Main Animal Clinic takes in animals from the Miles City Animal Shelter and tries to find homes for them. Clean used towels and blankets are needed by the clinic for the animals’ kennels and cages and to send home with the newly adopted pets. Children and teens can collect towels and blankets, clean them and a Custer County Fund for Animals member will pick them up for delivery by calling 232-3727. More information about the Custer County Fund for Animals and its needs and activities also is available by phoning the above number.
— Local assisted living and retirement facilities — Many residents of these facilities have few or no family members living close by and enjoy visitors, especially this time of year. Also, many of the local facilities welcome people who would like to volunteer their time for a variety of services. To find out what you can do to help, call: TLC Assisted Living at 232-7988, Eagles Manor at 234-5320, Friendship Villa Care Center at 874-2687, Holy Rosary Extended Care at 233-2644, Parkview Caring at 234-9289 or CottonwoodCare Home at 232-2273.
— CNADA (Custer Network Against Domestic Abuse & Sexual Assault) — CNADA staff will be wrapping Christmas gifts for clients and their families next week and volunteer gift wrappers are needed. Donations for the program also are being accepted. Call 951-0457 for more information.
— Salvation Army — Volunteers are always needed as bell ringers for the donation kettles the Salvation Army has around Miles City during the holiday season. More information about bell ringing and the Salvation Army is available from Pastor Alan Brown of the First Baptist Church, phone 234-0447.
— Quilts of Valor quilt — For children and their families who are interested in sewing, Ann Tribby, a member of the Miles City Centennial Quilters, is spearheading a project to finish a Quilt of Valor by June 2014. She is collecting 10-1/2-inch square unfinished quilt blocks (10-inch finished size) of 100 percent cotton in patriotic colors of red, white and blue to sew into a sampler quilt to be given to the local unit of the Montana National Guard. Blocks may be sent or delivered to Tribby at 703 Cale Ave., Miles City, MT 59301 or may be dropped off at the Miles City Star before Friday, Dec. 27. The goal of the Quilts of Valor project is to cover all returning service men and women who served in war with quits. These quilts are reminders of America’s appreciation and gratitude for their service to our nation and its citizens. For information about the Quilts of Valor project visit the Web site at: wwwQOVF.org.