Autumn colors serve to remind High Country residents that the first snow of the season isn’t far away, and with it, comes the holiday season. This year, consider giving back to the community by donating gently used items or participating in a clothing or toy drive.

Toys for Tots — U.S. Marine Corps

The local Toys for Tots chapter, which includes Watauga, Wilkes and Avery counties, is now collecting new or gently used toys for local children to disburse during the holiday season.

Organizers ask for toys that one might purchase for their own family member to provide a variety of submitted items, and toys can be dropped off at various locations in the High Country. A full list of drop-off locations can be found at

Monetary donations for the organization to buy additional gifts are also accepted in the form of check via mailing or credit card via the Toys for Tots website.

To learn more about Toys for Tots or to donate visit,

Operation Christmas Child — Samaritan’s Purse

Fill a shoebox with necessities and small toys for children around the world to open on Christmas morning.

Samaritan’s Purse accepts average-size shoeboxes packed with medium “wow” items (such as a soccer ball or stuffed animal), small toys, school supplies and hygiene supplies. Participants decide whether they’re packing for a girl or a boy and which age range they appeal to: 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14 years old.

National Collection Week kicks off on Nov. 18 and lasts through Nov. 25.

To learn more about packing shoe boxes, drop-off locations or how to volunteer at the SP Processing Center, visit

WeCAN — The Hospitality House

Winters in the High Country are known for their brutality, so to ease the burden of staying warm the Hospitality House in Boone has partnered with Blue Ridge Energy and New River Light and Power to make heat more affordable. Talks for the Winter Warmer Matching Challenge are still in the works, but updates will be posted at as they become available.

Additionally, Watauga Crisis Assistance Network through the Hospitality House also allows donors to purchase 100 gallons of fuel to keep Watauga County homes heated during the winter months.

The Hospitality House also has a wishlist of items that are in high-demand year-round. Those items can be viewed and purchased at

New and gently used blankets will be accepted at the Hospitality House through April 2020. These blankets will be used for the foundation’s Winter Seasonal Shelter, which is open to anyone in need of shelter from Nov. 1-April 30, 2020.

Sharing Tree — Hunger and Health Coalition

Boone’s Hunger and Health Coalition is accepting client applications for the Sharing Tree until Nov. 7.

The Sharing Tree is a basic-needs giving program that serves children 0-17 years old and seniors 62 and older. Most of the clientele involved with the Sharing Tree is well-below the poverty level, according to the program organizer, Anita Wilson.

After Nov. 7, those wishing to donate can receive an individual name to buy for by visiting the Hunger and Health Coalition in person at 141 Health Center Drive, Suite # C in Boone, calling (828) 262-1628 or emailing

Donors are welcome to supply what they choose to on the list, but are not limited to what is on the list. The Hunger and Health Coalition also asks that donors provide a meal for the family or individual if possible.With questions, or to learn more, visit the Hunger and Health Coalition in person or call (828) 262-1628.

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