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Chapters Filled with Giving Spirit as Holidays Near

December 22, 2003

WASHINGTON (AFP eWire - Dec. 22, 2003) - AFP chapters have been celebrating the spirit of the holidays by donating food, toys and gifts to people in their communities.

In Kentucky, members of the AFP Western Chapter, which serves Western Kentucky and Southern Indiana, have spent time during the holiday season the past three years with elderly people in their community who don't have family to visit them.

The chapter collected names of people from local agencies and hand delivered stockings that they had filled with toiletries, fruit, candy, small poinsettias and little gifts.

This year, the chapter partnered with a local nursing home, which identified residents who never receive visitors. Chapter members spent a few minutes chatting with the residents after presenting them with stockings full of goodies.

'I can't describe how touching it was for the group as we strolled through the halls singing carols and delivering stockings,' said Chapter President Maggie Price. 'Several of the residents followed our small group down the corridors, singing and laughing right along with us. What a blessing to bring smiles to the faces of so many of our elderly population.'

Collecting food and clothes in Florida and Texas

In Florida, the Suncoast Chapter, based in the Tampa and St. Petersburg area, collected canned goods, other non-perishable food items and cash donations from its members at the chapter's December meeting.

This year, the donations will go to the local Salvation Army. The annual food drive benefits a different organization each year in the Suncoast Chapter area, said Jay Tobin, chapter programs chair.

'[As fundraisers] I think it's important to set an example of our own, to put our money where our mouth is,' Tobin told eWire. 'Especially at this time of the year, it seems like a worthwhile thing to be involved in.'

In Texas, the San Antonio Chapter sponsored a Professional Business Attire Clothing Drive for the local Dress for Success nonprofit. Dress for Success is a national organization that helps women transition into the workforce, providing career development and suits for job interviews.

'[Dress for Success is] trying to help people in their careers, and we feel that's what AFP San Antonio is doing as well,' said Monica Martinez, chapter vice president of programs. 'It ties so closely with our mission that [our members] just feel it's a natural.'

Chapter members were asked to bring new and gently used business suits, as well as pantyhose, briefcases and purses and conservative jewelry, to their Dec. 18 meeting where a representative from Dress for Success was on hand to collect the donations.

'It's our way of giving back as a chapter,' Martinez told eWire. 'A lot of times [in our nonprofits] we're on the receiving end, and this time someone else can be on the receiving end.'

Every year staff at AFP headquarters take part in a holiday project. This year, staff members collected toys for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program in the Washington, D.C. area.

Staffers brought in armloads of new and unwrapped toys, including art supplies, stuffed animals, Bratz dolls, board games and a Razor scooter. The Toys for Tots program sorts toys by age and gender and distributes them to needy children in the community.

In previous years staff has collected blankets, toiletries and canned goods for a local shelter and adopted families, buying presents for each member of the family.

How did your chapter help its community during the holiday season?

Let AFP know what your chapter did for the holidays Did your chapter reach out to a local organization during the holiday season? What other special projects and events does your chapter hold throughout the year? Let eWire know about them by emailing Melanie Padgett.

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