The following organizations are collecting donations and offering help to families in need during the holiday season:
• Christmas Angel Program of Hernando County needs sponsors to help fill wish lists of local children in need. Donations of gift cards are also needed for clothing, perishable food for food baskets, and gifts for teenagers. The program has filled its quota of children participating and is no longer accepting applications for this holiday season. For information, call Mary or Bill at (352) 596-1552.
• The 13th-annual Santa's Toy Drive, provided by the Retired Senior Volunteer Program and DayStar, is accepting toy donations through Dec. 9. Toys are needed for children 12 and younger, and should be new and unwrapped. For information, call RSVP at (352) 796-8117 or DayStar at (352) 397-8419. Drop-off locations include:
In Brooksville: RSVP Welcome Center, Brooksville Country Club at Majestic Oaks, Brooksville Enrichment Center at Brooksville Regional Hospital, Country Kitchen, Clover Leaf Farms retirement community, Spring Oaks assisted living facility and Florida Community Bank.
In Spring Hill: Harold's Auto, Oak Hill Hospital Partner's Club, Spring Hill Enrichment Center at Spring Hill Regional Hospital, Senior Citizens Club of Spring Hill, the Restaurant and Hallcrest Eagles Aerie 4497.
• The 2011 Hernando County Christmas Toy Drive, provided by the Freedom Chapter of ABATE of Florida, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office and area merchants, is collecting donations through Dec. 10. Donations of unwrapped toys and games, or Walmart gift cards, are being collected and will go to Hernando County children in need.
Drop-off locations include: R Place at the Crossroads, Golden Corral, 2 My Place Bar, Coney Island Drive Inn, the Jeweler Man, VFW Post 8713, Beef O'Brady's at Mariner Square, American Legion Post 99, and 98 North Burgers and Booze. For information, contact Benica Fox at (352) 345-7278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Habitat for Humanity of Hernando County is seeking holiday sponsors for families in need. Those interested in sponsoring a local Hernando County child with Christmas gifts or a holiday food basket may contact Debbie Prescott at (352) 754-1159.
• The DayStar Life Center Food Pantry will provide food to families from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays through Jan. 1 at DayStar, 7120 Hope Hill Road, behind St. Anthony Catholic Church, Brooksville. The food pantry provides, for example, a family of four with meat, butter, bread, pastries and nonperishable items.
DayStar is a ministry of St. Anthony and has been in operation since 1983. Volunteers are needed, and donations are welcome. For pantry and thrift shop donations or volunteer information, call (352) 799-5930 or visit the website at daystarlifecenter.org.
• Hernando County Salvation Army is planning to help about 290 families in Hernando County during the holiday season. Bell ringers are set up at various locations throughout the county through Dec. 24 to accept monetary donations in their red kettles. For volunteer opportunities and Christmas programs and events, call (352) 796-1186.
• U.S. Marine Corps Reserve's Toys for Tots program, sponsored by Marine Corps League Detachment 708 in Hernando County, is collecting new, unwrapped toys at various locations throughout the county.
Registration for Toys for Tots recipients is available weekdays and Saturdays, Nov. 28 through Dec. 14, for children ages 6 months through 12 years. Registration times are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the detachment, 8405 Sunshine Grove Road, west of Brooksville.
Registration must be done in person, and parents and legal guardians must bring the following documentation: driver's license, current utility bill in their name (to establish Hernando County residency), their Social Security card, as well as birth certificates and Social Security cards for each child to be registered. Also, guardians, foster parents or grandparents must bring legal documents or court orders proving custody. For information, call (352) 796-3666 (calls will only be answered during the registration period).
Toys for Tots drop-off locations:
In Spring Hill: Accuform signs, American Aviation, Atria Evergreen Woods, Bridgewater Apartments, C's Pub, Career Central, Compass Banks, Chaney Chiropractic Clinic, Complete Technology Solutions, Discovery Point Daycare, Downing Funeral Home, Dr. Tim Terlep, Dunkin' Donuts, Edward Jones Investments Spring Hill, Extreme Bicycles, Fantastic Pre-School & Daycare, Fun Fitness Factory, Gold's Gym, Hernando County Utilities, Hernando County Veterans Services, Just Be Tan, Mirage Hair Studio, Hair Affair, High Point Golf Club, Mariner Lanes, New-U-Weight Loss Center, Hess station (Northcliffe and County Line), Microtel Inn & Suites, Paesano's Italian Bread Bakery and Market, Pickled Parrot, Pinch A Penny (Kass Circle), U.S. Postal Service (Kass Circle), Printing Plus, Rising Star Music, Silverthorn clubhouse, Spring Hill Fire Rescue (Parker and Main Station), Spring Hill Lanes, Skye Metaphysical, Sterling House, Stewey's Skate Park, Susie's Again, Sweetbay Supermarket, Texas Roadhouse, the UPS Store, United Printing Services, Vicki's Haircuts and the Wellington clubhouse.
In Brooksville: Brooksville Country Club Fitness Center; Caglianone, Miller, Anthony Attorneys at Law; Central High School Navy Junior ROTC, Dunkin' Donuts, Frito-Lay, Glen Lakes, Hale's Liquor Store, Hernando County Fire Station No. 11, Hernando County schools transportation center, Hernando County tax collector, Hernando County Utilities, Hernando Oaks Golf Club, Marine Corps League Detachment 708, Pine Grove Elementary School, Physical Therapy Services, Register Chevrolet, Roo's Pub, Southern Hills Golf Club, U-Haul Storage, USMC Recruiting and West Hernando Middle School.
Other Hernando County locations: Bealls Outlet stores, Big Lots, Beef O'Brady's in Ridge Manor, Family Dollar Stores, Dollar General Stores, Glen Lakes clubhouse, Nellie's Restaurant in Weeki Wachee, Publix Super Markets, R. Tate's Auto Body in Hernando Beach, Regions Banks, Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union, VFW Post 9236 in Hernando Beach, Walgreens and Winn-Dixie stores.