BEST BETS Donate time, goods this holiday season

Compiled by Miki Jennings

As winter approaches, many people in need miss out on traditional holiday experiences due to lack of funds.

Food and clothing bins become more common around campuses and other public spaces, and are a great way to help those in need.

Another way to help your community is through direct contact with an organization of your choice. The nonprofits listed below accept donated money and goods, and volunteered time.


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson

At-risk youngsters between the ages of 6 and 18 have benefited from Big Brothers Big Sisters for almost 50 years.

The organization matches youth with mentors, and annually serves more than 450 Tucson youth.

Big Brothers Big Sisters offers sports and military-related programs, and a couples’ mentoring program to teach children the dynamics of healthy relationships.

The group also accepts gently used clothing and furniture donations to sell, with proceeds benefitting the program.

For more information, call 624-7039 or visit


Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona

The Community Food Bank has been fighting hunger since 1976, and depends on volunteers to keep the organization running smoothly.

Volunteers can help by sorting, packing and distributing food and by doing office, computer or maintenance work.

They can also work at one of the Food Bank’s farms, at the Caridad Community Kitchen or at the Gabrielle Giffords Family Assistance Center.

Interested persons can apply to be a one-time, short-term or recurring volunteer.

For more information, email or call 882-3292.




Wingspan is the center for Southern Arizona’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The organization offers goods and services to LGBT people in need, including peer support groups, anti-violence programs, crisis hotlines, youth and family programs and a free lending library and computer center.

Wingspan’s Homeless Youth Project provides support and crisis intervention, and essential items such as food, clothing and hygiene supplies to homeless and near-homeless youth.

Wingspan welcomes both volunteers and tax-deductible donations.

For more information, visit, email or call 624-1779.



Five ways to spend Thanksgiving break

Compiled by Jennifer Coulter

If you can’t go home for your mother’s cooking or want to entertain family members visiting you, here are five fun activities to fill your Thanksgiving break:


Thanksgiving Cross Country Classic

Runners will also hurdle hay bales and water jumps during the Thanksgiving Cross Country Classic Nov. 22 at Reid Park, on Country Club Road immediately north of 22nd Street. Separate races will be held for men, women and children, beginning at 8 a.m. Prizes include turkeys and pumpkin pies. The races benefit Toys for Tots. Bring a new, unwrapped toy for the donation box. Call 326-9383 or visit for more details.


Tohono Chul Park celebration

Walk through gardens decorated with 750,000 lights during celebrations at Tohono Chul Park gardens, 7366 N. Paseo del Norte, on Nov. 23-24 and Nov. 30-Dec. 1 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Visitors can start their holiday shopping and enjoy live stage performances. An ornament sale and silent auction will be held. The garden bistro will be open for dinner each night. Tickets are $15, and $2 for children 12 and under. Call 742-6455 or visit


Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair

Buy original work from local artists at the Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair on Nov. 24-25 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Reid Park, west of DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center. You can also sample food from local vendors. Admission and parking is free. Call 791-4877 or visit for more details.


Native American Heritage

Celebrate Native American culture with dancing and drumming performances, art and craft exhibits, children’s activities and traditional foods during the Native American Heritage Social & Indian Craft Market on Nov. 23-25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Sheraton Tucson Hotel & Suites, 5151 E. Grant Road. Admission is free. Call 622-4900 or visit for details.


Pima Air & Space Museum

Santa will arrive by helicopter Dec. 1 at the Pima Air & Space Museum, 6000 E. Valencia Road. The museum opens at 9 a.m., and  Santa will land at 10 a.m. Children can enjoy holiday arts and crafts. The Flight Grill will be open for breakfast. Admission is $15.50 for adults, $12.75 for seniors and military, $9 for ages 7-12. Kids 6 and under are free. For more information, call 574-0462 or visit

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