Quick hits of news and fresh ideas for busy parents.

WHAT: generational homelessness


WHO CAN HELP YOU HELP OTHERS: Susan Davis, development director for the Homeless Families Foundation


WHEN: this holiday season


HOW: Each December, the Homeless Families Foundation sets up a Christmas Store, where those they serve can "shop" for holiday gifts. Using "HFF Dollars," families choose items and have their presents gift-wrapped. Where do the items come from? They're all donated, and range from gift cards to clothing, from toys to DVDs. "This really is a community effort to provide gifts for our families," said Davis. "Then they can have a nice Christmas."

Break It Down Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Homeless Families Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization that works to reduce generational homelessness in Columbus. "The national average for a homeless person is 9 years old," said Davis. "Last year, the average for a person the Homeless Families Foundation served was 7 years old. Kids are the innocent victims of the homeless cycle. They are affected most heavily." HFF's five case managers take referrals from the YWCA Family Center, partner families with community resources and, with the help of government funding and donations, guides families toward financial independence again. "We give them a hand up, not a hand out," said Davis. "It takes a lot of courage to say 'I need help. I can't do it for my family anymore.'" What You Can Do *Donate items to the Christmas Store and teach your kids about giving back to the community. Donations are taken until Dec. 13, and popular items include socks, underwear and sweatshirts. Call HFF at 614-461-9247 for a full wish list and instructions on how to drop off items. *Volunteer as a mentor at the Dowd Education Center, where after-school and summer programs focus on math and reading. "We make sure kids are academically successful in school," said Davis. "They don't always have someone helping them with their homework at home." * Donate money. With an annual budget of almost $2 million, the HFF is able to serve several hundred people each year. *To learn more about the Homeless Families Foundation, their efforts and ways you can help, visit their website at homelessfamiliesfoundation.com or call 614-461-9247.