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A Season for Giving 

The rush of support from New Orleans-area residents in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks -- whether it came in the form of time, money, blood or gumbo -- was truly an awe-inspiring event, one that will undoubtedly be forever etched into our history. Unfortunately, one unintentional, albeit understandable, consequence of this giving is that charities and nonprofits in Louisiana are suffering from a decline in donations. While initial reports of donations during this holiday season have been positive, many local organizations are in need of support. The following is a sampling of groups that need help spreading holiday cheer:

6 Caring Gifts, 4152 Canal St., 482-2140. Sponsored by Volunteers of America and WDSU-TV, 6 Caring Gifts consists of donations made at one of six levels, from $25 to $150, that benefit children in one of Volunteers of America's local programs.

Agenda for Children, 1326 Josephine St., 586-8509. Statewide child advocacy agency, focusing on issues of child poverty and health care, as well as violence prevention.

Angels' Place, 2705 Division St., Suite 4, Metairie, 455-2620. Provides help to seriously and terminally ill children and their families.

Better Way Services, 1541 St. Ann Place, Slidell, (985) 641-0432. Adult division of St. Tammany Association for Retarded Citizens, provides pre-vocational and vocational training and independent-living skills training.

Bridge House, 1160 Camp St., 522-4475. Substance abuse treatment for the homeless and indigent.

Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans, 3900 S. Carrollton Ave., 482-2080. Houses four area programs: a family practice health center, providing a wide range of medical services for all ages; the Neighborhood Help Partnership, which sends nurses out into the community to assist youth and senior citizens; Vincentian Ministries, an after-school outreach for children that includes art programs; and the Seton Resources for Child Development, addressing psychosocial issues in troubled youth.

Disabled Substitute Family Care, 781 Behrman Hwy., Gretna, 392-1398. Foster home placement for individuals with disabilities and post-placement life-skills development or total-care assistance.

Energy Assistance, 2475 Canal St., 821-4121. A division of Council on Aging, Energy Assistance helps senior and disabled citizens pay utility bills.

Health Care for Homeless Veterans, Veterans Medical Center, 1601 Perdido St., 561-0811. Health care services for veterans in need.

Hope Haven Center, 1101 Barataria Blvd., Marrero, 347-5581. A residential facility for troubled youth ages 5-18, Hope Haven Center provides on-site schooling, clothing, meals and on-the-town outings.

Hope House, 916 St. Andrew St., 525-2561. Transitional housing for men and women, as well as a General Equivalency Diploma program.

Kenner Cares, 2100 Third St., Kenner, 468-7823. Provides a variety of services, ranging from the provision of food and clothing to educational programs in money management and home ownership.

Kenner Food Bank, 1610 Third St., Kenner, 468-7220. Collects and distributes food items to the needy.

Lakeview Shepherd's Center, 6118 Canal Blvd., 486-9380. Social services for senior citizens, including in-house daily programs and outreach such as meals-on-wheels and homemaker help.

Last Hope, 1302 Magazine St., 595-6758. Residential program providing shelter, clothing and meals, as well as medical, mental and substance abuse assistance.

Lindy's Place, 2407 Baronne St., 269-0184. Transitional housing for unaccompanied women, mental and physical health care services, and employment assistance.

Kingsley House, 1600 Constance St., 523-6221. Committed to improving communities with an emphasis on families, Kingsley House provides a safe haven for those in need, including a Family Preservation program, a senior citizen health center, teen programs, Head Start preschool, after-school programs and summer camp.

My House, 2010 Peniston St., 895-4242. After-school programs for children, including tutoring.

Northshore Families Helping Families, 5150 Hwy. 22 West, Mandeville, (985) 875-0511. Serving five parishes with a staff of individuals with disabilities in their family, this organization provides an information and support network for families coping with a disability and partners families with professional support services.

Ozanam Inn, 843 Camp St., 523-1184. Provides shelter for 96 men a night, as well as three meals a day, medicine, and clothing for men, women and children.

Project Good Cheer, 2800 Gravier St., 827-8501. The Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff's Office annually spreads holiday cheer by holding a toy drive for needy children, with deputies delivering the toys on Christmas morning to boys and girls across the city. The program also includes visits to shelters for the disabled and elderly, with caroling by the sheriff's office choir.

Project Lazarus, P.O. Box 3906, New Orleans, LA, 70117, 949-3609. Residential home for men and women living with AIDS that provides assisted living, meals and case management services.

Salvation Army Adopt an Angel Program, 4528 S. Claiborne Ave., 899-4569. Annual gift-giving program for 6,000 children of needy families in the seven-parish metro area that provides gifts for children and food vouchers for families.

Second Harvesters Food Bank of Greater New Orleans, 1201 Sams Ave., 734-1322. Coordinates donations for 25 area food banks, assists 400 charities in south Louisiana, sponsors three Kids Cafes (a meal and education program), and runs the Emergency Food Box Program, providing food to 80,000 needy residents annually.

Senior Companion, 2475 Canal St., 821-4121. Coordinates volunteers to visit the elderly in their homes to assist with day-to-day activities and act as a friend and companion.

United Response Fund, 2515 Canal St., 827-6804. United Way of Greater New Orleans effort to assist individuals in New Orleans, mainly in the hospitality industry, impacted by the decline in tourism following the Sept. 11 attacks; offers services including employment help, food, clothing and emotional support.

UNITY for the Homeless, 2475 Canal St, Suite 300, 821-4496. Directs funding for 47 area agencies that provide direct services to the homeless.

YMCA Home for the Holidays, 6691 Riverside Dr., Metairie, 888-9622. Program designed to provide the elderly and shut-ins with a hot meal on Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings; serves approximately 2,200 meals on Christmas, with the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office cooking the meals.

It is impossible to list all charities in need in this space. A more complete listing is available from VIA LINK, a group supported by the United Way of Greater New Orleans, devoted to connecting nonprofits, charities and community groups. VIA LINK's directory is available online at www.vialink.org and a printed version can be purchased by calling 895-5550.

Happy holidays!

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