Holidays mean a time for giving for Cape Codders

Toy and food drives, Secret Santa programs plentiful this time of year
Will YPD do it again and take home the top Stuff-a-Bus honors on December 13? Yarmouth Police Department photo.

Cape Codders are a giving bunch, and never more so than during the holidays. Through the month of December, there are several wonderful ways to reach out to those in need in our community. Your donation of unwrapped toys, non-perishable foods and gifts for seniors will make a difference in the lives of others.

Nauset Music Dept. Food Drive

The Nauset Music Department is collecting non-perishable food for the Lower Cape Outreach Council during their Winter Festival on Saturday, November 6 at 9 a.m. at Nauset Regional High School, Cable Road in Eastham. While there, shop for crafts or a Christmas tree.

Toys for Tots

The annual United States Marines Toys for Tots push is on.  Here on Cape, it is not only a season for giving, but for competition as Cape police and fire departments duke it out for the top honors--who can collect the most toys by December 13. Each year, the departments collect toys for the program and deliver them to Hyannis for the annual Stuff-A-Bus competition sponsored by WXTK/WCOD. Now in its 18th year, the Stuff-a-Bus kick-off parade will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, December 13 at Cape Cod Community College on Route 132. A parade of cruisers, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles will deliver the toys to Toys R Us on Route 132 in Hyannis where they will be counted and the winning department will be announced. The Yarmouth Police Department has claimed the top honor for the past two years. In 2013, YPD collected more than 2,000 toys. In all, more than 10,000 toys were collected for Cape Cod kids.

According to WCOD, Stuff-a-Bus starts at 6 a.m. on Saturday, December 13 and runs until 6 p.m. on Sunday in the Festival Plaza on Route 132.

New, unwrapped toy donations may be dropped off at the event or given to your local police or fire department to help them edge out the competition. Each Cape Cod police and fire station is a drop-off location. Look for the signs, many other spots including stores, restaurants and post offices are a drop off location for their town's police and fire departments.

Elks Toy Drive

Support the Elks Lodge 2572 Toy Drive by donating a new unwrapped toy. Toys may be dropped off during the Eastham Holiday Festival on Saturday, December 6 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Orleans-Eastham Elks Lodge on McKoy Road in Eastham. Toys collected during the drive will be given to children on the Lower Cape. 

Falmouth Police Stuff-a-Cruiser

The Falmouth Police Department will host their annual Stuff-a-Cruiser Toy Drive. Toys and gift cards collected during the December drive will be given to local families through the Falmouth Service Center. Three collection dates are planned for Wal-Mart in Falmouth: Saturday, December 6 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Friday, December 12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday, December 14 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Officers will be on hand playing holiday tunes and handing out candy canes as they collect toys for kids and adolescents.

Anyone who can't make it to Wal-Mart on any of the three days may drop off their gift cards and unwrapped toys at the Falmouth Police Station on Main Street.

Bourne Public Schools Stuff-a-School-Bus

On December 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Bourne school bus drivers will host a Stuff-a-School-Bus event in the Peebles Elementary School parking lot. Donations of new, unwrapped gifts for children in preschool through middle school are needed. Gifts collected during the event will be distributed to children in need in the Bourne community. 

Secret Santa

The Be a Santa to a Senior program comes to an end this Friday. The program, now in its 10th year, is sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care of Centerville. The company has partnered with Cape Cod council on aging centers and local businesses to collect gifts for lonely and or financially-challenged seniors. Cape COAs have provided the names and gift ideas for more than 230 Cape Cod elders. Several companies across the Cape including Cape Cod Beer in Hyannis, CVS in Harwichport and Good Friends Cafe in West Dennis have erected Christmas trees with ornaments containing a senior's first name and gift idea. Folks are encouraged to visit one of these companies this week and grab an ornament. The ornament and the gift should both be returned to the tree in a gift bag by Friday, December 5, the final collection day. See a complete list of tree locations here.

Christmas Angel Tree

The 11th Christmas Angel Tree project is now taking place at the Truro Public Library. The project is sponsored by the Friends of the Truro Library, the Homeless Prevention Council and their Adopt-a-Family for Christmas program. The Christmas tree at the library is decorated with angels, each containing the age and gender of a child. Participants may take an angel, sign it out at the circulation desk and purchase a gift for the child. The unwrapped gifts must be returned to the Truro Public Library by Friday, December 5.

Welcome Home Gift Basket Drive

The Cape Cod & Islands Young Professionals Network of the Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors has teamed up with the Housing Assistance Corporation of Cape Cod for a Welcome Home Gift Basket Drive through December 19. Items are being collected for gift baskets for HAC recipients who are making the transition for shelter to permanent home. The gift baskets will help recipients settle into their new home. 

All items must be new, unwrapped and store-bought. Need items include kitchen and bath towels, sheets, blankets and comforters, pots and pans, cooking utensils and silverware, canned good, paper goods, light bulbs, batteries and flashlights, trial-sized toiletries, cleaning supplies, shower curtains and rings, crib sheets, diapers and wipes, sippy cubs, baby spoons and hats, gloves and winter coats for adults and kids. Gift cards for CVS, Stop & Shop and Home Depot are also welcomed contributions.

Donations may be dropped off at the CCIAOR Member Services & Conference Center at 22 Mid Tech Drive in West Yarmouth and at Kinlin-Grover in Yarmouth Port or Chatham, oldCape Sotheby's in Orleans, Brewster or Harwichport, William Raveis in Yarmouth Port, Today Real Estate in South Yarmouth, Centerville, Sandwich or Harwichport, Cape Cod Title & Escrow in Barnstable or Orleans, Century 21 Shoreland in Hyannis and Jack Conway & Company in Falmouth weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Please call for Saturday drop off times.

Is your organization hosting a holiday drive? Send us the details and we'll add it. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on