A number of organizations are collecting donations of food, clothing, toys and cash to give to the needy during the holiday season. Nonperishable food is generally preferred, but some groups can accept turkeys or hams. Call ahead if you are considering donating perishables. Toys and clothing should be clean and in good condition. Montgomery County

* The Mental Health Association, 10920 Connecticut Ave., Kensington, accepts gifts and personal items for adults, such as bath powder, combs, toothbrushes, toothpaste, scarves and mittens for its annual "Operation Santa Claus." Contributions go to patients at Springfield and Montgomery General hospitals. Call 949-1255 for information.

* Catholic Charities is taking donations of food, clothing and toys at area parishes. For information, call 340-2177.

* Montgomery Child Day Care Association, 3720 Farragut Ave., Kensington, is accepting toys and children's warm outer wear. Drop-off times are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you wish instead to make a cash contribution, checks should be made out to the association. Call 946-1213.

* Colesville Clothes and Toy Closet, 14015 New Hampshire Ave., will accept clothing and new and used toys until next Monday. Contact Venita Jackson, 384-7721, after noon for information on drop-off times.

* The Jewish Council for the Aging's Family Thrift Shop, 8233 Fenton St., Silver Spring, accepts clothes, shoes, furniture, household items and small electrical appliances. Contributions can be made from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday. Call 588-9010.

* The Jewish Social Service Agency, 6123 Montrose Rd., Rockville, needs cash for holiday gifts. Checks should be made out to the agency. Call 881-3700.

* The Division of Community Action of the Montgomery County Department of Family Resources is accepting nonperishable dry goods, frozen turkeys and cash for food purchases. Drop-offs can be made at the Upper County Recreation Center on Rte. 124 (Laytonsville Road and Emory Grove Road). Make out checks to the Montgomery County Community Action Agency and send them to the department at Fleet Street Center, 401 Fleet St., Rockville. Call Fred Froelecher at 279-1420, or Dave Daggett at 869-0676.

* Volunteer Services of Montgomery County, in the Department of Social Services, is collecting food, clothing, new and used toys and cash. Make checks out to Volunteer Services of Montgomery County at 5630 Fishers La., Rockville, 20852. For information on drop-off sites, call Peggy Nelson at 468-4407 or 468-4345 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

* Firefighters at the Takoma Park fire station are collecting new toys and used ones in good condition. Call 270-4242.

* TESS (Takoma-East Silver Spring) Community Service Center of Montgomery County, 8513 Piney Branch Rd, Silver Spring, 20901, is accepting new toys and new and used warm outer wear and cash from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Make checks out to TESS Center. Call 565-7680.

* Boys' and Girls' Homes of Montgomery County need gifts for teen-agers such as games, records and tapes, comic books, warm outer wear, pajamas, robes, scarves, gloves, hats, socks, portable radios and headphones, nylon wallets, stuffed animals, playing cards, piggy banks, perfume and cologne, jewelry, stationery and make-up. Nonperishable food and cash are also welcome. Make checks out to the Boys' and Girls' Homes of Montgomery County Inc. Drop-off times are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Frederick County

* The Salvation Army, 223 W. Fifth St., Frederick, is collecting nonperishable food for holiday baskets, new toys and cash. The organization is also asking community members to help fill 700 Christmas stockings for the needy. Contributions will be accepted at the Salvation Army office 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays. Call Capt. Earl Fitzgerald, or Andrea Gill, (301) 662-2311. Checks may be sent to P.O. Box 1003, Frederick, 21701.

* St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 116 E. Second St., Frederick, is putting together holiday baskets for needy families. The church is accepting toys and nonperishable food. If you are interested, or in participating in the "adopt a family for Christmas" program, call Fr. Frank McFadden or Msgr. Edward Echle, at (301) 662-8288, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

* Frederick Church of the Brethren, 201 Fairview Ave., Frederick, is collecting food and cash for food baskets at the church 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, and 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Make checks out to the Frederick Church of the Brethren -- Deacons. Call 874-2672 or 662-1819. Howard County

* The Community Action Council of Howard County is accepting cash and nonperishable food for the needy. Toy donations will go to Head Start program. Designate on checks if the donation is to go to the Food Bank, Energy Assistance Fuel Fund, or Head Start. The council is at 3450 Courthouse Dr., Carroll Building, Ellicott City. Call (301) 461-9700 for drop-off sites.

* The Salvation Army Holiday Clearing House wants to give 700 families food baskets, clothes and toys. Checks can be sent to Holiday Clearing House, 5885 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia, 21045. Call (301) 992-7583 or St. John's Catholic Church in Columbia, (301) 592-6206.

* The Christian Women's Thrift Shop at 3267 Pine Orchard Lane, Ellicott City, is collecting food, clothing, household items and furniture. Call (301) 465-1060 for drop-off times.