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How to help for the holidays


Black Friday spending may have increased this year, but thousands of area families are still feeling the pinch of the sluggish economy. Those families won’t be able to provide a festive holiday without help from area social service agencies. And those agencies hope the community will come through with donated presents for a jolly Christmas. Ways to help include:

Help people with intellectual disabilities

The Arc of the Rappahannock needs gift cards and gift for area residents with intellectual disabilities. 540/318-6061 or

Help the homeless

Hope House is looking for people to sponsor families living in their transitional homeless shelter for women and children. Email

Micah Ecumenical Ministries needs adult winter clothes, winter coats, thermal underwear, hand warmers, hats, gloves, scarves and small propane tanks. Drop off donations Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1013 Princess Anne St. in Fredericksburg. 540/479-4116.

The Thurman Brisben Center needs donors to help provide gifts for about 25 children living in the homeless shelter. 540/899-9853.

Help senior citizens

Rappahannock Area Agency on Aging is collecting wrapped holiday presents and $25 gift cards to area stores, such as Walmart, Target, Wegmans and Giant. Call 540/371-3375.

Home Instead Senior Care is collecting gifts for area seniors in need. You can find a tree decorated with ornaments containing gift requests at Chancellor’s Village, The Crossings, Mary Washington Healthcare, Stafford Hospital, Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, TJ Maxx in Culpeper, Belk in Culpeper and Powell Wellness Center. 540/899-1422.

Help area families

Fredericksburg Department of Social Services needs people to sponsor families in need in the city of Fredericksburg. 540/372-1032, ext. 249.

Spotsylvania County’s Department of Social Services needs people to sponsor families, providing gifts and food, for the holidays. 540/507-7896 or

Stafford County’s Department of Social Services still needs sponsors for about 200 families or gifts for children and teens. Arrange to deliver gifts or drop presents off at the social services office, 1300 Courthouse Road in Stafford, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 540/658-8732.

Rappahannock Big Brothers/Big Sisters needs sponsors for families in need, call 540/371-7444 or

SERVE needs food for food boxes, $10 gift cards to grocery stores, $20 gift cards to Walmart, Target or Best Buy, gifts for teenagers and toiletries. Drop off donations at 15 Upton Lane in Stafford. 540/288-9603.

More opportunities:

For more opportunities to help this holiday season, contact the Rappahannock United Way, 540/373-0041, ext, 314, or