Lexington organizations provide service opportunities for students

By Brian Hancock

During this holiday season, students can take a break from end of semester cramming and get involved with nonprofit organizations this holiday season.

The Lexington community has many needs, and the Hope Center is one place to give back during the holidays. The center opened in 1993 and has sought to address issues like mental health and social services affecting the homeless population in Lexington, according to its website.

During December, the center is looking for any winter apparel items like coats or hats that are new or gently used.

“Our greatest need right now is in the area of donations,” said Hope Center volunteer coordinator Heather Mitchell. “We really need winter clothing.”

Travel-size personal hygiene items such as toothpaste and shampoo are also needed. Items can be dropped off at the emergency shelter, which is at the located at 360 West Loudon Ave.

The Catholic Action Center is another organization looking for volunteers in the coming weeks.

According to the CAC’s website, its mission is “to ‘fill the gap’ of services for our brothers and sisters with no government funding by providing an opportunity for people of faith to connect with and serve the marginalized of our community.”

The CAC serves three meals a day to those less fortunate in the community. It has several Christmas events which are in need of volunteers too.

“We need volunteers for [several events] from Dec. 20 to 23,” said Peggy Gabriel, who works in the center’s warehouse.

Those more interested in volunteering with a group can contact Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Several spots are open for groups of 10 or less during December.

Volunteers will have the opportunity to interact with the children available.

Though volunteers are welcomed during the holidays, volunteer opportunities exist throughout the year, said Macki Warren, director of Volunteer Services at Shriners Hospitals.

“During the holidays, everyone wants to volunteer,” Warren said. “As a volunteer director, I have always encouraged people to remember that volunteer opportunities still exist in January.”

The Hope Center is currently open 24/7.

For those looking to give their time, the Hope Center also serves three meals a day. Those interested in serving food can contact Mitchell at 859-252-7881 ext. 3041.

The CAC is located at 400 East 5th St. Those interested can call 859-514-7210.

Volunteer time slots for Shriners Hospitals for Children are normally from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Call the Recreational Therapy Office at 859-268-5641 for more information.