Photo: Provided By Northwest Assistance Ministries
With several holidays around the corner, community members can donate their time and food to make sure northwest Houston residents in need can enjoy the season to the best of their ability.
Northwest Assistance Ministries has kicked off Holiday Project 2019, an initiative to provide local families with toys and food for the holidays. In September, the nonprofit opened registration for families that met eligibility requirements to receive food, and toy vouchers. Now, the organization is taking toy donations until Dec. 13 and taking holiday-themed food donations, such as turkeys and canned vegetables.
Brian Carr chief advancement officer for NAM, said the organization is also looking for volunteers for the organization’s first-ever Thanksgiving Day Meals on Wheels on Nov. 28. Volunteers would help deliver Thanksgiving meals to hundreds of seniors and adults with disabilities.
“With this being the first time that we’re having volunteers on Thanksgiving Day, we really need to get the word out that we need volunteers on that day,” he said. “They don’t have anyone visiting them on Thanksgiving so it’s really kind of sad for them.”
This year, NAM has partnered with local businesses, including Quick Quack Car Wash, to host toy drives. PV Fluid Products, a design and manufacturing company, will supply turkeys for the Thanksgiving meal distribution on Nov. 23, Carr said. A chapter of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated more than 20,000 pounds of food to the NAM food pantry on Nov. 13.
Carr said although organizations donate food year-round and keep the pantry relatively stocked, he said more food is always needed from anyone who can provide.
“As more families come to us through the holiday season, a lot of that food will go,” he said. “It certainly helps lighten the load of what we need. We’re breathing a little easier, but you never have enough food for the holiday season. It’s amazing, the needs that are there.”
As for the Toy Drive, Carr said NAM is looking for more toys for children 10 to 12 years old due to the usual lack of toys received for the age group.
Carr said the toys for the older age groups and volunteers for Thanksgiving Day are his main concerns as NAM prepares to provide for families in need.
For their Thanksgiving meal distribution, NAM is also hosting a Fall Festival on Nov. 23 to keep the event positive for the families who receive the goods, Carr said.
“We’re going to have some booths set up, we’re going to have a DJ set up, we’re going to cook some hot dogs,” he said. “We’re going to just make it a little bit of fun and allow our families to kind of start celebrating Thanksgiving a week early. We just want to make it more special for those people coming in and picking up meals.”
Donors can take their food and new, unwrapped toys directly to NAM, located at 15555 Kuykendahl Rd, Houston, or can donate money online at www.namonline.org/2019_holiday_blessings
. The free Fall Festival on Nov. 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and food and toy distribution on Dec. 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. are both at NAM.
For citizens willing to volunteer on Thanksgiving Day, contact NAM.