Each week, the Lake Sun looks at things to do, try, hear and see at Lake of the Ozarks. Have a suggestion? E-mail us at awilson@westsidestar.net

1. Candyland

Founded in 1984 by the Lake Ozark Rotary, Candyland has served more than 10,000 local kids by providing gifts to children who may not have anything to unwrap on Christmas. To participate, go to Stone Crest Mall where you can remove a candy cane from the tree. On each one is a list of wishes from area children. Purchase the gifts, drop them back off and volunteers will make sure they are distributed.

2. Can-Do

Get a group together and enter the Can-Do Challenge. Businesses, churches, groups and organizations are encouraged to collect as many cans of nonperishable food as they can and give them to the LAMB House in Camdenton by December 2. Those who have collected the most cans will win bragging rights and keep the traveling trophy for a year. For questions, call 573-346-2227.

3. Animal Shelters

With hundreds of unwanted dogs and cats in the area, animal shelters have their hands full. While it’s not recommended to give a pet as a gift, there are other ways to help. Donate food, bleach, dish soap, vinegar, paper towels, copy paper or old towels. Monetary donations are welcome. Shelters subsidized through thrift stores take a variety of items. Winter is a great time to clean out those closets! The Dogwood Thrift Shop is located in Camdenton along with Paws Place. In Sunrise Beach, the Ozark Kat and K9 Shelter has a store and in Eldon check out Friends of Animals.

4. Adopt-A-Family

The Child Advocacy Council’s Adopt-A-Family program helps hundreds of families in Camden County by providing gifts to needy children. The Christmas is Sharing program is offered to families in need who fill out a form provided by the Division of Family Services, noting gift requests. Contact the council to coordinate adopting a family. Sometimes the families and donor meet to give the gifts, or the council can do all the legwork if you drop off the gifts. The council also provides food vouchers and facilitates a Foster Kids Christmas Program to make sure area foster children have a memorable holiday. For more information, call 573-346-0003.

5. Wish lists

It doesn’t take much to make a difference. Sometimes all it takes is purchasing some extra household supplies. Kids’ Harbor in Osage Beach is a child advocacy center helping victims of abuse. Citizens Against Domestic Violence in Camdenton is a 28-bed shelter. Personal hygiene items, household and cleaning products are always needed. These organizations will often see a jump in cases around the holidays.