Holiday season a time to remember those who don't have a feast

Are you aware of an event or project that benefits our community? Contact Anna Ferguson at 770-963-9205, ext. 1308, or anna.ferguson@gwinnettdailypost.com.

Sitting stuffed from your Thanksgiving feast, it's easy to forget that this holiday season, there will be millions of families without similar splendor. No turkey, no dressing, no pumpkin pie.

In Gwinnett alone, the Norcross Cooperative Ministry, a faith-based, nonprofit ministry that provides assistance to Gwinnett families, serves more than 4,000 clients each month through its food pantry. Looking at these numbers, it's easy to feel frustrated, throw your hands up and declare that there's not much you can do for these hungry souls.

But that's just not so. It's been said time and again, but one person can make a difference. And there's no better time than now, at the start of the abundant holiday season, to help those who go without.

From food drives to cooking demonstrations, here are a few ideas to get you started:

The Daily Post is partnering with Discover Mills for the 11 Alive Holiday Can-A-Thon. The food drive will be held from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at Discover Mills, 5900 Sugarloaf Parkway in Lawrenceville. Canned and nonperishable foods, as well as household and pantry items, are being collected and will be distributed to needy families throughout Gwinnett. Visit www.gwinnettdailypost.com or www.11alive.com/life/community/canathon.

The Norcross Co-op is always in need of nonperishable foods, pantry items and household supplies. Topping the group's list of requests are blankets, towels, dishes, diapers, shampoo, soap, laundry powder, peanut butter, pasta, canned meat and jelly. During the holiday season, the co-op is calling for toys and clothing donations for area families needing holiday presents.

Through Dec. 20, the co-op will also hold a community book drive, with drop-off sites at various Norcross locations, including Peachtree Elementary School, Norcross High School and Pinckneyille Middle School. Aside from food, books and gifts, the co-op could always use more volunteers. Call 770-263-0013 or visit www.norcrossco-op.org.

Kroger will hold its annual Can Hunger Food Drive through Dec. 31. Customers have several options to participate: drop off canned goods and nonperishable foods at participating Kroger stores; or purchase $1, $5 or $7.50 virtual food drive icons at the check-out. Monetary donations will also be accepted. For more information or to find an area Kroger location, visit www.kroger.com.

The Atlanta Community Food Bank will host its monthly Simple Abundance cooking class at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 at The Cook's Warehouse, 549-1 Amsterdam Ave. in Atlanta. The cooking demonstration and tasting is designed to help at-home chefs with their own masterpieces.

All proceeds from the class benefit Atlanta's Table, a project of the food bank. This month, the class is themed "The Season to Sparkle," and attendees can expect sample fare to include prosecco with pear liqueur and beef tenderloin with shallot cognac reduction, as well as a wine-tasting menu. Registration is $75. Call 404-892-3333, ext. 1444, or visit www.acfb.org.

"WordFeast: Food for the Body and Soul," also hosted by the Atlanta Community Food Bank, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Horizon Theatre, 1083 Austin Ave., Atlanta. With a knockout cast of local and national wordsmiths, the evening will include a variety of readings and performances. All proceeds raised through the event will be donated to the food bank. Admission is $15 or 15 cans of food. Better yet, bring both. Visit www.acfb.org.

Chow down at Chow Baby for those without a bowl to fill. Throughout the year, the stir-fry joint will donate a portion of every check to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Visit www.therealchowbaby.com.

Angel Tree plants roots at area Chick-fil-A locations

Gwinnett and metro area Chick-fil-A restaurants have partnered with the Gwinnett County Department of Family and Children Services for the 10th annual Angel Tree toy and gift drive.

Beginning Tuesday, area Chick-fil-A locations will host Angel Trees where patrons can select wish lists and drop off gifts for Gwinnett foster children. Participating customers should deliver all gift items to the store by Dec. 12. Call 770-932-5797 or visit www.chick-fil-a.com.

Gala to raise money for advocacy group

Though the cause is serious, the night promises to be light. Well, light on the spirit, but maybe not on the waistline. The Georgia Center for Child Advocacy will host the Cheer for Children culinary gala Thursday at the Biltmore in Atlanta.

The food and wine event is a fund- and awareness-raiser for the center, which offers a safe haven for abused children, provides long-term psychological treatment to victims and their families, and assists in the investigation of abuse cases.

During the annual food-tasting event, chefs from the American Culinary Federation and the Greater Atlanta Chefs Association will drum up their best dishes for sampling. An auction will include a weekend in a Paris flat, a Tuscan villa vacation and private dinner prepared by acclaimed chefs.

Tickets for Cheer for Children are $125. The event will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Biltmore, 817 W. Peachtree St., Atlanta. For more information, call 678-904-2880, ext. 204, or visit www.cheerforchildren.org.

Legend, LaBelle will let loose for community concert

The Community Benefit Concert with John Legend and Patti LaBelle will be held at 6 p.m. today at Philips Arena, 1 Philips Drive, Atlanta. The concert is a benefit for Hands on Atlanta, the nation's largest community-based volunteer service organization. Tickets range in price from $50 to $500, and a VIP reception will be held at 6 p.m. Call 404-979-2800 or visit www.handsonatlanta.org.

Kiehl's, Youth AIDS works for health, education

Whether shopping for yourself or for the perfect holiday gift, it's for a good cause Saturday at Kiehl's in Lenox mall. In honor of World AIDS Day, the Lenox Square Kiehl's location will donate 20 percent of sale proceeds earned to the nonprofit group Youth AIDS. To up the ante, customers who spend $100 or more will receive a limited-edition World AIDS Day T-shirt.

Youth AIDS works to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS among 15- to 24-year-olds worldwide through education programs and health products.

World AIDS Shopping Day will be held from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Kiehl's store in Lenox Square mall, 3393 Peachtree Road in Atlanta. Call 404-816-7630 or visit www.kiehls.com.