• Kirsty Waller, manager at the Valley River Humane Society, gives Roody (a 2-year-old pup) some love after overcoming a heartwork infection.

Nonprofits seeking holiday donations

   Celebrate the joy of giving back this season by making a donations toward one or more of the many worthwhile charitable organizations and nonprofit agencies across Cherokee County.
   With the colder months rushing in, many organizations have a larger need for donations, whether it’s blankets, coats or non-perishable foods.
   Here are many of the local charities and nonprofits accepting donations during the holidays. A majority of the places listed below have accounts with AmazonSmile.
   You can make monetary donations by searching smile.amazon.com, then typing in the name of the specific charity or location on the website’s search bar. Of course, you’re also welcome to make a donation of good or money in person.

Animals
   Humans aren’t the only ones in need of blankets during the colder months. Logan’s Run Rescue in Murphy and the Valley River Humane Society in Marble are accepting donations on behalf of our furry friends.
   Humane society Manager Kirsty Waller said the animal shelter’s largest needs include wet dog food, towels, blankets and a washing machine.
   “The laundry needs go up this time of year because we’re using so many blankets to keep animals warm,” she said.
   Waller said anything donated to the Valley River Humane Society Thrift Store in Murphy goes directly toward the animals.
   For those wanting to donate their time to the shelter, Waller encourages people to stop buy and walk the dogs. She said the dogs usually receive less physical exercise during colder months.
   “Our volunteer dog walkers kind of drop off when it’s cold outside,” she said. “If anyone doesn’t mind the cold, we’d love for them to come by and walk the dogs.”

Children and families
   Providing coats during the winter, both the Cherokee County Coat Drive and Appalachian Angels make sure no adult or child is left without protection against the cold.
   People can donate new or gently worn coats to Appalachian Angels by calling Ann Mansbridge at 837-7370 or stopping by the Jim Miller State Farm Insurance Agency in Murphy.
   Assuring no child is forgotten on Christmas, Cherokee County’s Toys for Tots volunteers will be hard at work Friday, Dec. 15, and Saturday, Dec. 16, at the old Emerson plant across from Murphy Medical Center in Peachtree. Toys for Tots donations bins are at more than 20 businesses and facilities, including Andrews Veterinary Hospital, Bojangles, Brother’s Restaurant, the Cherokee Scout, The Learning Center charter school, Mountain Credit Union, Penland Senior Center and Snap-on Tools.
   Serving hundreds of families, Family Resources of Cherokee County in Peachtree accepts any type of donation, from car seats to used toys. Whether providing assistance with a power bill or giving a foster child clothing, all of the money goes back to the families in the community.
   “We have families that call whenever they’re in need and we’re their first point of contact,” Director Christy Armstrong said. “If they need a car seat or can’t afford one, we just give it to them. There’s a lot of different things that we can do.”
   To donate a specific item to Family Resources, call Armstrong at 837-3460.

Food and dry goods
   The Cherokee County Food Bank in Andrews serves 110 families per week, providing more than 90 boxes packed with essential food during November. However, secretary/treasurer Gene Craig said the organization is only receiving a third of the food it normally receives.
   To help the food bank have enough items to effectively serve people during the colder months, Craig encourages community members to donate any professionally canned or frozen food that has a long shelf life. People can make donations every Tuesday and Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon at the food bank’s location on 121 Main Street in Andrews.
   People can call and make donations toward other local food charities, including Cherokee County Meals on Wheels at 837-2467, Murphy First Baptist Church’s Sparrows Nest at 835-9136 and the Sharing Center food pantry at 837-2718.

Safe havens and shelters
   REACH of Cherokee County Inc., which helps victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, is in need of household supplies for its safe haven. REACH advocate Jessica Vernon said these items include cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, food and other non-perishables.
   “We also use donations for our Next Step program, where we get baskets together for girls who move out of the shelter into their own homes,” Vernon said. “We try to set them up with all the essentials.”
   Being the area’s only homeless shelter, the Hurlburt-Johnson Friendship House’s needs reach an all-time high in the winter.
   “We’re pretty full in the colder months,” house manager Pat Meeks said. “We have 21 people now, but before the end of December we’ll probably reach 27, which is our max.”
   Meeks said the greatest needs include twin-size sheets, blankets, pillows, jackets, socks, mittens and hats. People can drop off donated supplies from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the homeless shelter or thrift store in Murphy.
   Other Cherokee County organizations found on AmazonSmile include the Andrews Rescue Squad, Andrews Valley Initiative, Cherokee County Arts Council, Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition, Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc. and Truett Baptist Association of Churches Inc.