“I saw a mother and her child sitting on the railroad tracks just a couple weeks ago and it broke my heart,” says Oakland Park Vice-Mayor Suzanne Boisvenue. “There are a lot of homeless people in our area. I just want to encourage people to support the charity of their choice and take care of their friends, families and neighbors the best way they know how,” she says, “Every little bit counts.”

Boisvenue is not the only person contemplating the less fortunate this holiday season, The Broward County Sheriff’s Department sent out a bulletin which reads, “A second cold weather blast is headed to South Florida. Cold weather shelters will be opening beginning Sunday overnight until Tuesday morning. For pick up points and shelter locations, please call 2-1-1 from anywhere in Broward County. As always, please reserve 9-1-1 for emergencies only.”

Adrianne Reesey, also with the Sheriff’s Department Office of Community Involvement and the Broward Human Trafficking Coalition says, “This year, I’m looking at supporting the Kristi House’s Project Gold.” Project GOLD (Girls Owning Their Lives and Dreams) is dedicated to the healing and empowerment of girls 11-18 years old who are or have been exploited in the commercial sex trade. Kristi House and Project GOLD can be found on the Facebook and the World Wide Web at kristihouse.org.

“We put together what we call Dignity Baskets,” says Kathleen Cannon at the Broward House, “because many people who come to us just don’t have some basic things that they need.” The baskets can contain things like sweatshirts, socks, toothbrushes, and anything else an adult might be lacking when staying at the sober-living facilities with HIV. Cannon says you can donate individual items (new items only, not used) to be dispersed or complete a basket for a client yourself. To take part in this project, call the Broward House at (954) 522-4749 to locate a drop off location.

A number of local businesses are getting into the spirit of giving as well. The Corner Pub on Andrews Ave. is doing a toy drive for “Toys For Tots” and some local websites are linking to the Names Project which sponsors the AIDS Quilt.

So far here at SFGN, individual staff members have contributed or plan to contribute to the American Cancer Society, Tuesday’s Angels, The Trevor Project, The Victory Fund, The Norton Museum of Art, The Poverello Center, and various personal contributions to friends and family who have fallen on rough times.