Santa needs help, and he's counting on the generosity of locals and tourists.


Toys for Tots



The Emerald Coast Association of Realtors has once again partnered with the Marines to organize the Marine Corps 2011 Toys for Tots Emerald Coast collection drive.



Collection events, with Marines on location, include:



Nov. 28: Destin Walmart, 4-6 p.m.
Nov. 30: Fort Walton Beach Walmart, 4-6 p.m.



Christmas Connection



Destins Mission Love Seeds has partnered with The Fort Walton Beach High School Viking Leadership for the 15th Christmas Connection to provide a Christmas or holiday to families in Okaloosa County and surrounding areas who cannot afford to do so.



Families, recommended by guidance counselors, will be provided with 10 days worth of meals, gifts for every child, a special Christmas or holiday dinner, and other necessities such as utility bills and maintenance for each family.



Collection boxes are at Ruths Chris in Destin, Dollar General locations in Destin, Sandestin and Santa Rosa Beach; The Fashion Exchange on U.S. 98; and The Destin Log, 35008 Emerald Coast Parkway, Suite 501, across from Bass Pro Shops through Dec. 3.



Holiday Food Drive



Shelter House is accepting donations of turkeys, hams, stuffing mix, gravy, mashed potato mix, soups for casseroles, green beans, crunchy fried onions, corn, cranberry sauce, rolls, fresh fruits and vegetables, pie crusts, condensed milk and pumpkin pie filling to help feed families this holiday season. Also needed are laundry baskets to put the meals in and grocery and gas gift cards.



Non-perishable items can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Shelter House administration office, 102 Buck Drive in Fort Walton Beach, Perishable items, especially turkeys and hams, need to be delivered on Nov. 19 and Dec. 19 only. Call 243-1201.



Food‐for‐Fine at Destin Library



Destin Library patrons owing fines for overdue books, videos, DVDs and CDs will be exempt from the fine if overdue materials are returned along with a donation of canned goods (no expired food items will be accepted) or personal hygiene items. The food drive will benefit Harvest House on Mountain Drive in Destin.



According to Jurate Burns, director of the Destin Library, “the waiver of fines for overdue materials for patrons will continue through December 31, and the donated goods for Harvest House will be a win‐win situation for all involved.”



The library will call patrons who have overdue materials to remind them that now would be a good time to return those late books, videos, DVDs, and CDs, Burns said.



Charity auction



Gulf Coast travel website TripShock.com will host its first Children in Crisis online charity auction through Dec. 5 at auction.tripshock.com. All proceeds will go to Children in Crisis of Florida that helps abused and neglected children in the community.



The items that will be available in the auction include dolphin tours, parasailing, lodging, and more. Tourists and locals alike can take advantage of everything that is offered, which includes destinations from Panama City Beach to Gulf Shores, Ala.



Angel Tree at Silver Sands



Visit the Families First Angel Tree Dec. 1-12 at Charity Gift Wrap at Silver Sands Premium Outlets. A description of each child and gift suggestions will be available. Wrapped gifts must be returned to Charity Gift Wrap no later than Wednesday, Dec. 12. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.



Coats for Kids at Christmas



United Way of Okaloosa-Walton Counties, in partnership with A & A Transfer & Storage, Bangkok Cleaners and French Laundry, will hold Coats for Kids to help children in need in Okaloosa and Walton Counties.



To participate, drop off new coats or almost new coats through Dec. 5 at the following locations:
Bank of America, BankTrust, BB&T, BBVA Compass Banks, Beach Community Banks, Boeing Company, CCB Community Bank, Coastal Bank and Trust, Covenant Hospice, Eglin Chapel, Eglin Federal Credit Unions, First City Bank, Golds Gym in Destin, Horizons, Northwest Florida State College, Okaloosa School District Office, Publix in Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, Destin, Grand Blvd, South Walton, and Watercolor, Regions Banks, Summit Banks, Trustmark Banks, Twin Cities Hospital, and the YMCAs.



Volunteers will pick and deliver coats to Bangkok and French Laundry for cleaning. Participating United Way Agencies will distribute the coats to any child at no cost to the family. Call 243-0315 or email events@united-way.org.