Though toys, electronics, clothing and jewelry may be Santa's most popular requests for Christmas, there are people asking for things that are far more basic -- dishwashing liquid, paper towels, food and cleaning supplies.
Partnership for Families, Children and Adults spokeswoman Julie Tipton says some of their elderly clients have even requested toilet paper on their Christmas wish lists.
Through the organization's "Holiday Cheer" program, Partnership focuses on meeting the needs of its clients, particularly children and the elderly. But in a weak economy, it's easier said than done, she says.
"Last year, we had to turn some people away who asked for help," Tipton says. "I think we're having better success so far this year. We try to help our clients. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't."
Partnership is just one of many local organizations accepting donations to fulfill wish lists from area people in need. But there are many others that have holiday-oriented events, including toy drives, or need volunteers to help.
Kelley Nave, United Way of Greater Chattanooga public relations director, says the group coordinates an annual Christmas clearance program for other non-profit organizations.
"It allows us to be the central referring organization," she explains. "This way we can help prevent the overlapping of services and participating agencies can help ensure that their resources are stretching as far as possible."
So if you want to help someone for the holidays but are not quite sure where you want your dollars or donations to go or even the organizations out there that could use your help, we've compiled a list of some local ones:
The AIM Center. Open Christmas Day for AIM members who cannot spend the day with families or friends. A $15 donation provides a member with a holiday meal and gifts such as scarves, hats, gloves, shampoo, body wash and other items. 624-4800. www.aimcenterinc.org.
American Red Cross. The Holiday Giving Catalog allows you to pick out a gift to give to a soldier, caregiver, emergency worker and others. Gifts include "care" packages, phone cards and hot meals. 265-3455. www.redcross.org/gifts.
Catholic Charities of East Tennessee. Adopt a Family, a partnership between Catholic Charities, Sam's Club, Tennessee Department of Children's Services and WWST-FM Star 102.1 of Knoxville, gives food and clothing to needy families. You can purchase items at Sam's Club locations and drop them in the donation bins upon exiting. 267-1297. www.ccetn.org.
Hope for the Inner City. From Dec. 17-21, volunteers are needed to man its Christmas Store, where qualified families can buy low-priced gifts; the store is open noon to 7 p.m. Also, gifts can be donated at the Hope office, 1800 Roanoke Ave., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. 698-3178. www.hope4theinnercity.org.
LaFayette Area Empty Stocking Fund. Gathers toys and food for needy families. 638-2733.
Neediest Cases Fund. Helps individuals and families pay for expenses when all other resources have been exhausted. Sponsored by the Chattanooga Times Free Press and administered by the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults. 755-2822. www.partnershipfca.com
Partnership for Families, Children and Adults. Holiday Cheer program adopts a needy family for the holidays. 755-2822. www.partnershipfca.com
Ronald McDonald House. Until Dec. 24, collects toys, infant clothes, games, winter clothes, bath gel and body lotion, puzzle books and long-distance phone cards for children and families staying in the house. 778-4338. www.rmhchattanooga.com.
The Salvation Army. Along with tossing money into the familiar red kettles at local stores, you can also start your own virtual red kettle to raise money online. 756-1023 (Chattanooga), 308-3467 (Cleveland). www.onlineredkettle.org.
YMCA of Chattanooga. For the Christmas Share Mission, bring canned food, coats, sweaters, toys and donations to the North River YMCA from Dec. 10-15. All donations go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, La Paz, Marine Toys for Tots and St. Marks Food Pantry. 877-3517. www.ymcachattanooga.org.
Home Instead Senior Care. Be a Santa to a Senior program has trees on display in some local Walgreen's with ornaments that hold the names of seniors and their gift requests. The gifts can be bought then left unwrapped at the store. 893-9993. www.beasantatoasenior.com.
Boehm Birth Defects Center. Through Christmas, various nuts are being sold at prices ranging from $4.50 to $8.50. Fourteen kinds of scented, crackling candles also are being sold for $8 per candle or three for $20. 778-2222. www.boehmbdc.com.
Chattanooga's Kids on the Block. Until Christmas Eve, two gift-wrapping stations manned by the organization are located in Hamilton Place mall. Money raised is used to support educational puppetry programs for schools and communities in Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia. 757-5259. www.kidsontheblock.net.
Children's Home/Chambliss Shelter. For a donation, you can choose from two different holiday cards designed by the children. The cards are sent to your family and friends, letting them know a donation has been made in their honor. Also, Plum Nelly on Frazier Avenue is selling handblown glass ornaments. Proceeds go to the shelter. 698-2456. www.ch-cs.org.
Family Crisis Center. Toy drive for needy children. Bring an unwrapped gift to the McDonald's in Ringgold, Ga. at 5:45 p.m. Saturday. 375-7630.
The Forgotten Child Fund. Collects toys for needy children. At sunset on Christmas Eve, the Santa Train leaves the Forgotten Child Fund toy store and drives to about 10 homes in the city, dropping off toys. 697-0031. www.forgottenchildfund.com.
Northside Neighborhood House. Through Dec. 17, Santa's Workshop is taking toys and clothing for children age birth to 15 years old living north of the river. 267-2217. www.nnhouse.org.
Signal Centers. Toy drive for children with disabilities. The agency needs electronic singing and dancing toys that TVA volunteers and AT Services will adapt. 698-8528. www.signalcenters.org.
Humane Educational Society. Donations to Tree of Hope program pay for spay/neuter, vaccinations, microchips, food. 624-5302, ext. 228. www.heschatt.com/campaign-tree.php.
McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center. Holiday open house on Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Leave a gift under the tree for a dog or cat. 305-6500. www.mckameyanimalcenter.org.
Contact staff writer Karen Nazor Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6396. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/karennazorhill.Subscribe to her posts on Facebook at www.facebook.com/karennazorhill.
If you'd like to add an organization to be included on the complete list at timesfreepress.com, contact Karen Nazor Hill at email@example.com or 423-757-6396.