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'Tis the season -- to give back

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With the approach of the holidays, do your part to improve your community and assist those less fortunate. To find hundreds of volunteer opportunities around metro Atlanta, contact United Way (www.unitedwayatlanta.org), Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless (www.hoseafeedthehungry.com), the Atlanta Community Food Bank (www.acfb.org), the Empty Stocking Fund (www.emptystockingfund.org), and Hands on Atlanta (www.handsonatlanta.org). One specific project that needs volunteers is Angel Tree, which is run by the Salvation Army and provides Christmas presents for children in and around Atlanta. This year, Angel Tree has seen a huge influx of children in need, most of them displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Volunteers are needed Thurs., Dec. 1, through Fri., Dec. 16, to help prepare presents for distribution, among other tasks. For more info, call 678-418-4645 or visit www.salvationarmy-georgia.org.

For more volunteer opportunities, see "Ten ways to give," p. 37.

· Atlanta Planning Advisory Board The board, which works with neighborhood planning units, meets the third Saturday of every month to discuss land use, zoning, transportation, the environment, and parks and open spaces. Every third Saturday, 10 a.m.-noon. Committee room No. 2, Atlanta City Hall, 68 Mitchell St. www.atlantaga.gov. 404-330-6899.

· Avondale City Council The City Council discusses regular business, future plans for the city and other community issues. Fourth Monday of every month, 7:30 p.m. Avondale City Hall, 21 N. Avondale Plaza, Avondale Estates. www.avondaleestates.org. 404-294-5400. 404-294-5400.

· Brownwood Park Plan Three options have been developed to improve East Atlanta's Brownwood Park, and now the public's input is requested in the final decision. See the renovation options and give feedback. Sat., Dec. 3, 3-5 p.m. Brownwood Park Recreation Center, 602 Brownwood Ave. www.eaca.net.

· Citizen Advisory Council State Sen. Curt Thompson holds monthly meetings for residents of District 5 (along the I-85 corridor) to discuss concerns of the community. Dates of meetings may vary slightly. Last Saturday of every month, 2 p.m. Patacon Pisa'o Colombian Restaurant, 4930 Jimmy Carter Blvd., Norcross. www.curtthompson.net. 678-380-0206.

· Drinking Liberally Democrats get together to discuss politics and whatever else comes up after a few drinks. Thursdays, 7 p.m. Thinking Man Tavern, 537 W. Howard Ave., Decatur. www.drinkingliberally.org. 404-370-1717.

· Georgians for democracy This is an opportunity to discuss progressive issues and activities and socialize with politically interested people in metro Atlanta. Third Monday of every month, 7-8:30 p.m. Park Tavern, 500 10th St. www.georgiafordemocracy.org. 404-249-0001.

· Gwinnett Dems Meet The Gwinnett Democratic Party is gearing up for the elections in November of next year by coming up with events to promote Democrat victories in Georgia. Last Tuesday of every month, 7-8:30 p.m. Gwinnett Justice and Administration Building, 75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville. www.gwinnettdemocrats.org.

· Neighborhood Planning Unit The city's NPUs are citizen-run councils which advise the mayor and Atlanta City Council. Each NPU meets to solicit community concerns. Membership is open to anyone 18 years or older who lives in the NPU, or any business within the NPU. Dates and times vary. To find out which NPU you belong to and when it meets, visit www.atlantaga.gov. 404-330-6899.

· South Atlantans for Neighborhood Development SAND is comprised of Ormewood Park, Boulevard Heights, Benteen Park and Woodland Hills. Residents are encouraged to voice their concerns. First Thursday of every month, 7:30 p.m. Ormewood Presbyterian Church, 1071 Delaware Ave. www.sandatlanta.org.

· Sustainable Atlanta Roundtable The roundtable is designed to promote green efforts in Georgia. Topics cover environmental problems and their solutions. Cost to attend, which includes breakfast, varies depending on RSVP date. First Friday of every month, 7:30-9 a.m. All Saints' Episcopal Church, 634 W. Peachtree St. www.southface.org, 404-881-4663.

· Young Dems of Atlanta The Young Democrats of Atlanta work to figure out ways to get young people involved in campaigns. First Wednesday of every month, 6:30 p.m. Manuel's Tavern, 602 N. Highland Ave. 404-525-3447.

· Young Republicans The Buckhead Young Republicans host an evening of political discussion and networking, as well as free appetizers. Fourth Thursday of every month, 8 p.m. Location varies monthly. www.buckheadyr.org. 770-265-5268.

· CL events:

· Political Party Join CL Editor Ken Edelstein and a panel of local politicos and players at the next Political Party Wed., Dec. 14. The event, which is open to the public and encourages discussion of issues facing metro Atlanta, is held the second Wednesday of every month, 7:30 p.m., at Dad's Garage Theater, 280 Elizabeth St. atlanta.creativeloafing.com/politicalparty.

· Air Loaf Hear CL's writers and critics discuss their stories on Air Loaf at 1690 AM Air Atlanta. Discussions of various stories are aired just after the news on weekdays at 7 a.m., noon, 5 and 9 p.m. A two-hour show, on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-noon, features local topics and well-known guests.

· Sugg's News Hour Find out the news behind the news on CL Senior Editor John Sugg's "Progressive News Hour" every Thursday at noon on WRFG 89.3.

· Want to publicize a political or civic event? E-mail publicagenda@creativeloafing.com.

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