While families are sitting down at the table to give thanks for the blessings life has had in store for them today, their minds may turn to those who could use a bit more blessings themselves.

Dozens of nonprofit organizations in Frederick County are hard at work each day to help those in need, but in order to get their work done, they need some help along the way.

This year, The Frederick News-Post reached out to a number of our area’s nonprofits and charities to see what items they could use in order to help as many people as possible.

For L’Arche Frederick, a nonprofit organization currently remodeling a home to be used as a live-in community for people with developmental disabilities and their caretakers, the list of what they need is simple but extensive: If it goes into a home, they probably need it. And the home being renovated on Lawnview Drive is the culmination of a multiple-year dream.

L’Arche is an international organization that creates small community homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, along with their caretakers. Megan Guzman, executive director and community leader for L’Arche Frederick, said a local L’Arche organization may have about 10 homes in its purview, but this will be the first one L’Arche Frederick will be opening.

Guzman said the nonprofit organization has been around since 2008, “when a group first began planning, and meeting and wishing for a L’Arche community.”

“For several years, we’ve worked toward founding our first community home, where people with and without disabilities choose to live together,” she said. “‘Choose’ being a very key word; people who want to live in an intentional community, people who want to live in a family-like atmosphere with a faith component as well, and we are well on our way there.”

Bill Derbyshire, president of the local L’Arche board, emphasized the community nature of L’Arche, saying this is one of the key things distinguishing it from other group homes or similar environments.

“L’Arche emphasizes [community] involvement, whether it’s your physical neighbors next door, folks who are involved in the program, usually there’s a regular meal that’s offered and people are invited in for the meal,” said Derbyshire.

Communities are small, though it isn’t uncommon for there to be so many guests for dinner that the house’s population doubles. L’Arche Frederick purchased this home earlier this year from a “lovely couple” who have been incredibly supportive of the mission, Guzman said.

They’re about two weeks into what they estimate to be six to eight weeks of renovations, which will involve carving up a massive master bedroom into three smaller bedrooms, along with totally retrofitting a large garage and basement area to fit more bedrooms and common areas.

When all is completed, the home will have six bedrooms and three bathrooms, a wheelchair ramp that leads to the home’s upper level, sprinkler systems and more necessary improvements.

“We will never have the type of need that we have this year for in-kind gifts,” Guzman said. “We have a house that’s empty.”

For instance, the six-bedroom home currently only has one bed, and it is currently about the only thing by way of furnishing the home has.

L’Arche Frederick has a wishlist on its website for its most needed items, including five more twin bed frames and twin bed mattresses, two couches, four armchairs, bedding, toiletries and numerous other items. L’Arche Frederick asks that furniture such as mattresses, couches and other things of that nature, be unused, but used items such as coffee tables and bookshelves could be accepted.

There’s also a need for health items that are unique to the needs of L’Arche Frederick, including things such as blood pressure cuffs and a defibrillator.

If you are interested in making any of these donations to L’Arche Frederick, you can send them an email at info@larchefrederick.org, or call 240-698-0424.

L’Arche Frederick is not the only nonprofit in need of some donations this time of year. Here are some others who told the News-Post what they’re looking for, and the best way to get it to them.

FREDERICK RESCUE MISSION

What they do: Provide recovery programs to those struggling with homelessness, hunger and chemical addiction, and other need-based help. A faith-based organization, the Frederick Rescue Mission has a number of projects under its umbrella, including the Faith House, a center for women with children experiencing homelessness.

What they need: More than anything else, a representative from Frederick Rescue Mission highlighted the need for waterproof gloves, saying these are much more important than knit gloves for people experiencing homelessness. They also need undergarments for both men and women (especially boxers for men), hats and scarves. The Faith House specifically needs general household items such as cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, and bath and general hygiene items. Due to a recent fundraising drive, the representative said the Frederick Rescue Mission is well stocked with feminine hygiene products for the time.

How to donate: Bring items directly to the Frederick Rescue Mission’s office at 419 W. South St., Frederick, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Donations made outside these times should be left in the donation box outside of the building, rather than on the front porch.

ADVOCATES FOR HOMELESS FAMILIES

What they do: Provide a number of services for people experiencing homelessness, including access to education and workforce training, life skill workshops and other such services.

What they need: The Advocates specifically asked for liquid laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, trash bags, dish detergent and other products needed to maintain a pantry.

How to donate: Donations can be brought to their headquarters, at 216 Abrecht Place, Frederick, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays. The organization asks donors to call ahead at 301-662-2003 to ensure someone will be there to accept the donation.

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

What they do: Provide a number of services such as building affordable homes for people in need, neighborhood revitalization, disaster response and a wide variety of other services.

What they need: One of the best ways to help Habitat for Humanity is to donate lightly-used home goods to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, which sells the items to then fund Habitat for Humanity’s activities. The ReStore accepts home goods and building materials, and is specifically looking for furniture, appliances, lighting, televisions, doors and windows, power tools, plumbing supplies and flooring.

How to donate: Donations can be brought to the ReStore at 917 N. East St., Frederick. Arrangements can also be made to have larger items picked up by emailing pickup@frederickhabitat.org.

FREDERICK CITY DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND HUMAN SERVICES

What they do: While not a nonprofit organization, Frederick’s Department of Housing and Human Services provides a number of services to support the city’s low-income population and those experiencing homelessness.

What they need: Nonperishable food items, especially cereal, canned fruits, canned vegetables, canned meats, drinks and juices, pasta, canned soup, rice, canned and jarred tomato products, peanut butter, and side dishes such as macaroni and cheese and canned beans. Hygiene items such as shampoo, towels, washcloths, razors, shaving cream, toothbrushes, toothpaste and baby food are also needed.

How to donate: Items can be brought to the George L. Shields Foodbank, located at 14 E. All Saints St., Frederick. Donors can also call 301-600-3972.

UNITED WAY OF FREDERICK COUNTY

What they do: Provide multiple services to households who are asset limited, income constrained and employed. These services are supported through both financial and volunteer work.

What they need: More than anything, the United Way says it needs volunteers to help families prepare their taxes. The United Way specifies no prior experience is necessary, as training will be provided. Four hours a week of volunteering will be required for the 11 weeks between February and tax day, April 15, 2022.

How to volunteer: To get more information on the program and to sign up, go to unitedwayfrederick.org/become-vita-volunteer.

AMERICAN RED CROSS

What they do: Provide emergency and disaster relief to people suffering from a wide variety of disasters around the country, including helping those displaced by house fires, floods and other catastrophic events.

What they need: More than anything else, the American Red Cross needs blood this year. The organization is heading into the holidays with its lowest blood supply in more than a decade. The Red Cross is asking those who are eligible to donate blood or platelets.

Where to donate: The Frederick Red Cross Blood and Platelet Donation Center, located at 141 Thomas Johnson Drive, Suite 120, Frederick. The center is open between 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Friday through Sunday. It is closed on Thursdays.

BLESSINGS IN A BACKPACK

What they do: Provide children from low-income families in Frederick County Public Schools food on school breaks and on the weekends while also raising awareness of childhood food insecurity.

What they need: Food of all kinds (Chef Boyardee single-serve cups, individual cereal packs, packets of oatmeal, oat and honey granola bars, Belvita breakfast biscuits, and similar healthy single-serve items). They request no peanut products be donated. Those who can’t buy food can organize food drives or online fundraising campaigns.

How to donate: Call 240-439-3815 or email blessingsinabackpackfrederick@gmail.com.

SHIP OF FREDERICK COUNTY

What they do: The Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership of Frederick County “works to reduce barriers to academic attainment for youth experiencing homelessness by connecting them to community, resources, and youth-centric programming, while advocating for equality in the systems that serve young people,” according to its website.

What they need: SHIP is currently running its annual Homeless for the Holidays program, where donation boxes have been set up at businesses around the area. SHIP is asking the boxes be filled with full-size hygiene items such as shampoo, body wash, toothbrushes and many others.

How to donate: A full list of drop box locations can be found on SHIP’s website, shipfrederick.com.

LITERACY COUNCIL OF FREDERICK COUNTY

What they do: According to their website, they teach “adults the reading and other English language skills they need to provide for their families and to contribute to the well-being and prosperity of our community.”

What they need: The council is currently running its holiday book drive to benefit local children, and is asking people to donate books appropriate for children between prekindergarten and fifth grade. Picture books, chapter books, paperback series, graphic novels and science and technology books are currently being sought. The council is also seeking volunteers for literacy training.

How to donate and volunteer: To donate to the book drive, bring books either to Curious Iguana at 12 N. Market St., Frederick, or to the Literacy Council’s office at 110 E. Patrick St., Frederick. Books are due by Dec. 13. To volunteer, go to the council’s website, frederickliteracy.org.

Follow Patrick Kernan on Twitter: @PatKernan

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