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Ways you can make a difference

The Observer's Giving Guide provides a list of what more than 300 nonprofits have told us they need, from volunteers to donated goods. It is also is a searchable online; go to

Here are some of the agencies in the greater south Charlotte area.

Animal Services

Canine Assistants/Noah's Team of Charlotte

224 Robinlynn Road

Matthews, NC 28105

Program: Noah's Team of Charlotte is a local volunteer program supporting Canine Assistants, a nonprofit provider of service dogs for children and adults with physical disabilities, seizure disorders and other needs.

Material wishes: We receive no government funding and rely on the generosity of individuals, corporations and foundations. Recipients are only asked to perform community service in lieu of payment.

Volunteer needs: Volunteers are needed to help with fundraisers and educational and civic presentations. Our volunteer team meets bi-monthly and welcomes new members. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, gift-wrapping volunteers are needed at Belk's Department Store in SouthPark.

Minimum volunteer time: Three-hour shifts for gift wrappers.

To help: Joy, 704-651-8170

Companion Parrots Re-homed

321 South Polk St., Suite 2C

Pineville, NC 28134

Program: Our mission is to accept companion parrots from unwanted, emergency or crisis situations throughout the greater Charlotte area. We facilitate through training and education and finding new homes for these sensitive and intelligent birds.

Material wishes: Paper towels, fresh fruits and vegetables, new bird toys, large bird cages in good condition, bird food purchased from Parrot University.

Volunteer needs: Foster/quarantine homes for birds, event representatives, docents, toymakers, transportation for birds to and from foster and quarantine homes and veterinarian offices.

Minimum volunteer time: Two- to four-hour shifts, once or twice a month.

To help: Parrot University, 704-889-2325

Children & Families

ANSWER Scholarship Endowment

6420 Rea Road, Suite 355

Charlotte, NC 28226

Program: The ANSWER Scholarship Endowment offers scholarships to mothers with school-age children living in the Mecklenburg and surrounding counties who are pursuing a four-year bachelor's degree or a two-year nursing degree.

Material wishes: Please make checks payable to: The ANSWER Scholarship Endowment. Credit card donations can be made online at: Your tax-deductible contribution may be made in honor of or in memory of a loved one.

To help: 704-544-1988

Charlotte Eagles Soccer Club

1020 Crews Road, Suite N

Matthews, NC 28105

Program: Nonprofit religious organization that communicates the love of God through the sport of soccer by meeting spiritual, physical and emotional needs of people around the world.

Material wishes: Used soccer equipment (uniforms, shin guards, cleats).

Volunteer needs: Assist with Urban Eagles ministry by helping provide meals, tutoring and playing with inner-city children.

To help: Patrick Stewart, 704-841-8644 ext. 50

McClintock Partners in Education

4519 Providence Road

Charlotte, NC 28226 /System/details.asp?id=1380&PID= 464258

Program: McClintock Partners In Education (McPIE) seeks to ensure that students at McClintock Middle School have access to the support, opportunities and resources that will provide them with the best education available and to ensure their future, life-long success in the 21st century world. McPIE is committed to improving students' academic success and ability to succeed by providing one-on-one tutoring, enrichment opportunities and personal supportive relationships for the students and their families.

Material wishes: Monetary support, school supplies, gift certificates, tickets as incentives for participation, holiday family support, bus/vans, scholarships to summer camps.

Volunteer needs: Contact for current volunteer needs. Always need tutors, mentors, and Family Night (Tuesday) volunteers.

Minimum volunteer time: one hour

To help: Amy Daniels, 704-366-1595

Morrison Family YMCA at Ballantyne

9405 Bryant Farms Road

Charlotte, NC 28277

Program: The Morrison Family YMCA at Ballantyne is a nonprofit, charitable organization that serves more than 15,000 people in the south Charlotte community through programs and services that promote a healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

Material wishes: The role of YMCAs across the globe is to respond to the critical needs of the communities they serve. In the greater Charlotte area, those needs include poverty, illiteracy, poor health and unemployment.

Volunteer needs: As a YMCA volunteer, you can volunteer at an event or on a recurring basis doing things such as reading to a preschool class, coaching a basketball team, greeting people at the front desk, serving as a role model for young people, helping out in the office or at a special event, or being part of a group or committee working on a neighborhood problem.

Minimum volunteer time: There is no minimum volunteer time. Volunteers are encouraged to volunteer as much or as little as they like in a one time event or a recurring program.

To help: Brooke Beddow, 704-716-4658

Operation Homefront of North Carolina

4728 Park Road, Suite A

Charlotte, NC 28209

Program: Provides emergency financial assistance and morale programs to military families when they are deployed and when they return wounded.

Material wishes: Financial contributions to help fund emergency financial needs of lower ranks of military families to help prevent eviction, homelessness, car repossession, utility cut-offs, etc. Needed: food and gas gift cards, school supplies, toys and books.

Volunteer needs: Volunteers needed to help with school supplies, holiday gifts, event runs and walks, expos and awareness events. Receptionist and office assistance also needed.

Minimum volunteer time: Three-hour shifts.

To help: 704-527-3063, Jane Weaver-Sobel (donations); Ashley Woodliff (volunteers)

Peace and Justice Clinic

Clinic at Matthews UMC, 801 S. Trade St.

Matthews, NC 28105

Program: We are a church-based ministry of welcome and hospitality along with free immigration legal services. We provide family-based immigration services and assistance for the vulnerable and the indigent. Our local monthly clinic is part of Matthews United Methodist Church.

Material wishes: A copier and fax and office supplies.

Volunteer needs: Hospitality volunteers to meet and greet clients. Intake volunteers to interview clients and help them feel at ease and assure them of confidentiality of information. Interpretation volunteers (all languages) to assist volunteers and attorneys and clients. Copy volunteers to copy and maintain confidentiality. Pastoral volunteers to assure availability of counseling, if requested by the client.

Minimum volunteer time: Volunteer training is at least one hour. Clinics last four hours and volunteers should be available for at least two hours. It is not necessary to volunteer at each monthly clinic after training.

To help: Trish Pegram, 704-815-1947 (voice messages only)

President James K. Polk State Historic Site

P.O. Box 632

Pineville, NC 28134

Program: The Division of State Historic Sites and Properties preserves, operates and interprets significant historic sites, enabling visitors to explore North Carolina's rich and diverse heritage in an engaging, relevant manner.

Material wishes: Needed: Vacuum cleaner, leaf blower, scanner, office supplies, cleaning supplies and a copier.

Volunteer needs: We are recruiting volunteers of all ages, backgrounds and talents who can share their time with us. The President James K. Polk S.H.S. needs enthusiastic people to help give tours, work with school groups, participate in living history events, aid in site maintenance and contribute to our newsletter.

Minimum volunteer time: 10 hours per month.

To help: Scott Warren, Historic Site Manager, 704-889-7145

Refugee Support Services of the Carolinas, Inc.

3515 School House Lane

Charlotte, NC 28226

Program: Refugee Support Services of the Carolinas, Inc. is a nonprofit, volunteer initiative to support refugees after resettlement in the Charlotte region. RSS, Inc. offers support for refugees to reach self-sufficiency and to learn to thrive independently in their new community by operating two walk-in help centers and by building friendships.

Material wishes: Help Center Supplies to include copy paper, stamps, office supplies and a paper shredder. Also, funds to purchase dual language picture dictionaries and to pay translators, and a meeting space for future Help Center.

Volunteer needs: Help Center Volunteers, in weekly or monthly shifts, read mail, make phone calls, read to children, help solve problems. Event Volunteers serve at the annual birthday party in January or the annual swimming party in August. Fruitful Friendship Volunteers visit a family weekly.

To help: Rachel Humphries, 704-458-3245

Samaritan's Feet

P.O. Box 78992

Charlotte, NC 28271

Program: Samaritan's Feet is a humanitarian and inter-faith nonprofit organization dedicated to taking a life-changing message of hope to people, and equipping the feet of impoverished children in the U.S. and around the world with shoes.

Material wishes: For as little as $5, you can change a child's life by providing them with a pair of new athletic shoes. You can also send a $10 donation to Samaritan's Feet by texting the word SHOES to #85944. A $10 donation to Samaritan's Feet will be added to your next phone bill.

Volunteer needs: Volunteers are needed to help sort shoes at the Samaritan's Feet warehouse. Volunteers are also needed at shoe distribution events throughout the Charlotte region, the United States and international locations. Schools, community groups, churches, corporations and individuals can volunteer to help organize shoe drives or fundraising events.

Minimum volunteer time: One hour.

To help: Bruce Bodman, Director of Logistics, 866-833-7463

Socrates Academy

3909 Weddington Road

Matthews, NC 28105

Program: Socrates Academy is a public charter school serving students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Material wishes: The teachers of Socrates Academy have limited resources and could use basic classroom supplies - everything from paper and pencils to markers and pencil sharpeners.

Volunteer needs: Our school could utilize volunteers to help staff our front office, assist teachers in the classroom and help at school-based community events.

Minimum volunteer time: One hour.

To help: Contact Patrick Lynch, 704-321-1711

Teaching Fellows Institute

4100 Carmel Road, Suite B, #280

Charlotte, NC 28226

Program: The Teaching Fellows Institute offers outstanding Charlotte area teachers high-quality professional development in the hopes they find a renewed passion for education.

Material wishes: Financial donations welcome. Checks payable to Teaching Fellows Institute can be sent to our address, and PayPal is available on our website for credit card donations.

To help: Leslie Quinlivan, director, 704-340-1865

The Spokes Group

8058 Corporate Center Drive, #200

Charlotte, NC 28226

Program: We raise money to purchase new bikes for children in need at Christmas.

Material wishes: We accept cash and PayPal donations of all sizes. Average bike and helmet cost is $70.

Volunteer needs: Contact us via e-mail as there may be volunteers needed to help with distribution of bikes around Christmas.

To help: Will Beard, 704-502-1978

Trips for Kids Charlotte

4508 Esherwood Lane

Charlotte, NC 28270

Program: We introduces 10-15-year-olds to the healthy activity of mountain biking and use biking as a tool to help them learn life lessons. This is done through our Saturday morning mountain biking program and our after school "Earn A Bike" program.

Material wishes: All types and sizes of "dusty not rusty" bikes for our Earn A Bike program and our ReCyclery. Needed: healthy food for our Saturday ride lunches, bike gloves, water bottles, helmets, locks, lights. Also needed: industrial van to pick up used bikes and transport equipment.

Volunteer needs: Adult volunteers needed to ride with our kids Saturday mornings. Help kids learn bike safety, maintenance and repair in our EAB class and help repair our donated, used bikes for sale. Adults needed with large SUV or pickup to periodically pull our bike trailer.

Minimum volunteer time: Three hours for Saturday morning rides, two hours for evening EAB classes and bike repair at the ReCyclery.

To help: Paula Fricke:; 704-944-3581

Wrapped in HIS Warmth

3700 McKee Road

Charlotte, NC 28270

Program: The mission of Wrapped in HIS Warmth is to show the love of Christ to children of the inner city by providing hats, scarves, mittens and gloves for cold winter days.

Material wishes: Hats, scarves, mittens and gloves for children. Newborn to age 18. Items can be knit, crochet, sewn, handmade or store bought. All items must be new. Also need: full skeins of yarn, fleece material.

Volunteer needs: Knit and crochet groups to partner with us throughout the year. Sewing groups to partner with us throughout the year. Clubs, organizations, churches and businesses to hold collections of hats, scarves, mittens and gloves.

To help: Rick or Koreen Marx, 704-617-0093,

Community Service

FLAGS Across The Nation

P.O. Box 78995

Charlotte, NC 28271-7045

Program: We are a volunteer-run organization that promotes patriotism through the arts. FLAGS was established after Sept. 11 and sponsors an annual patriotic art contest for children, Letters to the Troops, and Blankets for Recovery. Children's art, letters, blankets and American flags are sent to deployed and recovering troops.

Material wishes: We need money to cover postage to send art, American flags and blankets to the troops and recovering military. We could use a storefront, gallery or studio in Charlotte to hold patriotic art workshops. Money to cover the cost of updating the website and monthly hosting fees would be appreciated.

Volunteer needs: Input information for social networking: Twitter, FLAGS blog and Facebook. Sew quilts, knit or crochet blankets for our wounded and deployed troops. Organize schools and clubs to write letters to the troops and create patriotic art.

To help: Eileen A. Schwartz, 704-962-1868

REACH Across America

1639 Candlewood Ridge Lane

Matthews, NC 28105

Program: REACH Across America, Re-emphasizing Economics and Civics in High schools, works to promote civics, economics, financial literacy and life skills in school-aged children in public, private, parochial, charter and home-schools as well as providing these educational services to inmates in the correctional system, women from abusive relationships and legal immigrants.

Material wishes: Monetary donations are needed and appreciated. In today's economic climate, schools are struggling to keep teachers and need extra technology, software and curriculum materials for financial literacy education.

To help: Scott Babbidge, 704-491-7665


Blessed Assurance Adult Day Care

13001 Idlewild Road

Matthews, NC 28105

Program: Blessed Assurance Adult Day Care is a nonprofit that provides day-time, life-sustaining programs and services to senior and disabled adults such as meals, medication, bathing, transportation, arts, crafts, educational programs and administrative services.

Material wishes: Funding to support program expansion, volunteers to help facilitate programs and services, arts and crafts supplies to support program inventory, computers to support computer lab and a computer technician to provide limited technical support and education.

Volunteer needs: Volunteers needed to help facilitate aerobics, devotional programs, arts and crafts, meal services, chaperone outings and support educational programs.

Minimum volunteer time: One hour per month.

To help: 704-845-1359

Senior Activities and Services

1050 DeVore Lane

Matthews, NC 28105

Program: The Levine Senior Center serves older adults over 50. We help to empower them to celebrate living by developing new relationships through fellowship and to enhance their knowledge through stimulating activities. The center provides health and wellness, creative arts and educational programs for older adults.

Material wishes: Monetary donations to reduce monthly mortgage payments. The center needs office supplies, paper products, 6-foot and 8-foot rectangle tables, hand towels, 1- and 2-pound hand weights, yarn for craft supplies, paper plates and cups, Bunn coffee machine, coffee supplies, white shower curtains and gardening supplies.

Volunteer needs: Gardening support, assistance with monthly fundraising events, clerical and membership support.

Minimum volunteer time: No minimum.

To help: Dahn Jenkins, 704-846-4654

Health concerns

Matthews Free Medical Clinic

113 North Ames St.

Matthews, NC 28105

Program: We provide free health care to the medically underserved and uninsured families and individuals of Matthews and the surrounding areas of Mecklenburg and Union counties.

Material wishes: Medical equipment, medical supplies, office supplies, Food Lion and Wal-Mart gift cards and monetary donations.

Volunteer needs: Physicians, dentists, social workers, diabetic educators, fundraisers, grant writers, marketing support.

To help: Amber Tracewell, 704-841-8882

Presbyterian Samaritan Counseling Center

5203 Sharon Road

Charlotte, NC 28210

Program: We offer top-quality mental health counseling to all, regardless of faith, at an affordable cost. We also work with ministers of many denominations to prevent pastoral burnout and solve other vocational issues.

Material wishes: Financial donations needed.

Volunteer needs: We are developing programs, including one that aims to reduce bullying in schools, that will need volunteers as mentors and facilitators.

To help: Sandi Penley, 704-554-9900

People with disabilities

Easter Seals UCP North Carolina & Virginia, Inc.

6135 Park South Drive, Suite 350

Charlotte, NC 28210

Program: Easter Seals UCP North Carolina & Virginia is a life-long partner to people managing disabilities and mental health challenges. Our goal is to create opportunities, promote individual choice and change the lives of people with disabilities by maximizing their potential for living, learning and working in their communities.

Material wishes: Funding at all levels is needed to continue the programs and services offered in Charlotte and the surrounding counties. More than 90 percent of every dollar we spend goes toward these services. Cash donations, tributes and memorials can be made online or sent to the Charlotte office. Donation of vehicles is also welcome.

Volunteer needs: Volunteers needed for fundraising events throughout the year. Volunteers are welcome to serve on our Development Advisory Board, special event committees, solicitation of donations and with on-going opportunities at our Children's Development Center and Group Homes.

To help: Basil Williams, senior development director, 704-566-6040 or

Misty Meadows Mitey Riders, Inc.

455 Providence Road South

Waxhaw, NC 28173

Program: Misty Meadows Mitey Riders, Inc. is a nonprofit offering therapeutic riding and equine-assisted activities to special needs children at no cost to their families. The riders who participate in the program range in age from 5 to 18 and manage conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, Down syndrome, post-brain tumor removal, autism, learning disabilities, and more.

Material wishes: Monetary donations to support the program, the riders and the horses. Included are new safety-approved helmets and paddock riding boots, quality used tack items such as bridles, saddles, saddle pads, halters, lead ropes, polo wraps, waterproof horse blankets, building supplies, rubber arena footing, jump poles and standards.

Volunteer needs: Weekly and special group volunteers for big projects such as painting fences, building jumps and riding obstacles, cleaning the trails and working around the farm. Please visit the website for volunteer information.

To help: 704-841-0602

Special needs

North Carolina Heroes Fund

P.O. Box 652

Pineville, NC 28134

Program: The North Carolina Heroes Fund's focus is on men, women and their families who are currently serving or have recently served in the U.S. Armed Forces and are enduring financial hardships.

Material wishes: Financial donations appreciated.

Volunteer needs: Volunteers needed occasionally for events. Please visit our website to join our volunteer database.

To help: Leah Bartlett, 704-995-9976

Red Arrow of Carolina, Inc.

11613 Sunswept Lane

Charlotte, NC 28226

Program: Our group is rebuilding a trolley car for use on local volunteer line.

Volunteer needs: We need volunteers to reinstall plywood roof and reassemble standard gauge trucks.

Minimum volunteer time: Two hours per week.

To help: Dave Crawford, 704-408-0583

Siskey YMCA - Camp Boomerang

3127 Weddington Road

Matthews, NC 28105

Program: Each summer, the Siskey YMCA provides 150 children with autism spectrum disorder the opportunity to experience summer camp. In collaboration with the Autism Foundation of the Carolinas and the Autism Society of N.C., the Y developed this inclusion-based camp that provides children with autism fun activities that improve socialization, communication and life skills and provides parents of children with autism more ways to help their children grow and thrive.

Material wishes: The cost to send one child with autism to a week of summer camp at Camp Boomerang is $450.

Volunteer needs: Contact the Siskey YMCA for volunteer information.

To help: Liz Defrietas, 704-716-4338