Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

December 5, 2013

Making the season brighter

Three ways to give this holiday

The Andover Townsman

---- — The gift of warmth

The Andover Department of Community Services is sponsoring its annual Mitten/Hat Collection Program that benefits children and adults in Andover and throughout the Merrimack Valley.

New or gently used hats, scarves and gloves and mittens in all sizes are being collected throughout town at the Andover Town Offices, Center at Punchard (senior center) and Memorial Hall Library as well as at various schools and businesses. Donations may be made until noon on Thursday, Dec. 19.

All of the collection sites are identified with a snowman that says, “Please donate some hats, gloves, scarves or mittens to those in need. It is the cool thing to do!”

For more than 10 years, the children in the preschool group at Christ Church Children’s Center have visited the Town Offices to make their donations as a lesson in sharing. The preschool group walks from the school with their teachers and parents to learn firsthand about the importance of giving to others in need.

Toy drive to brighten holidays

The Merrimack Valley YMCA is collecting toys, clothing and books to be distributed to families across the Merrimack Valley this season.

Donors are asked to help bring a smile to a child’s face and spread holiday cheer to kids and their families by adopting a youngster and helping to fulfill his or her wish list. Companies and community organizations are also welcome to become a toy collection site by having employees or members donate new, unwrapped gifts.

All toy donations must be dropped off by Monday, Dec. 16, to the YMCA’s administrative offices at 101 Amesbury St., Lawrence. Drop-offs are accepted any Monday or Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., as well as Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 10 and 11, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Volunteers are also needed to lend a hand at the holiday wrapping party on Wednesday, Dec. 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the YMCA’s administrative offices.

Anyone interested in helping the cause should contact Amy or Suzanne at 978-975-1330.

Big Wishes Gift Drive

The Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office in Andover is once again joining with Bernie & Phyl’s Furniture to collect toys as part of The Home for Little Wanderers’ Big Wishes Gift Drive. Big Wishes is one of the Boston area’s oldest and largest toy drives, supporting children and families who are living in at-risk circumstances and are served by the organization’s programs across Boston and eastern Massachusetts.

Local residents can drop off new, unwrapped toys at the Coldwell Banker office at 305 North Main St. through Monday, Dec. 16.

“The Home for Little Wanderers serves children and families with limited financial means who often struggle to afford basic necessities, and the holiday season can be extremely challenging for them. By donating a toy or other gift, we are helping to make the holiday wishes of thousands of children and families supported by The Home come true,” Michelle Oates, sales manager of the Coldwell Banker office in Andover, said in a press release.

The Home needs gifts for children ranging in age from birth to 22 years, with an urgent need for gifts for the 14- to 18-year-olds in its care. Donations of gift cards to music stores and clothing outlets such as Target, Marshalls, T.J. Maxx or Walmart as well as online retailers for personal care items, electronics and sporting goods are also appreciated. To learn more, visit