Holiday volunteering is the perfect way to get into the spirit of the season. Even the smallest of gestures from baking cookies to helping out at community events can go a long way.
How Can You Participate in Holiday Volunteering?
The holidays are a time for celebration but also a time to give back. Are you eager to do some Christmas volunteering? Here are the best ways to volunteer during the holidays.
1. Serve at a Homeless Shelter or Soup Kitchen
Don’t know where to volunteer on Christmas day? One of the best places to lend a helping hand is at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. These organizations always need volunteers when it comes to meal prep or serving. You can locate a local one near your area through Feeding America.
What’s great about this type of Christmas volunteer work is that it’s not hard to do. Serving food doesn’t require a lot of skill. However, these facilities may run background checks on volunteers during the holidays. Hence, it’s best to volunteer early to fulfill their requirements.
2. Pack Food at a Food Bank
Food banks are vital sources for many local soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters. They’re a good alternative to the previous option if you want to find Christmas volunteer opportunities. Likewise, you don’t need to be skilled or have a special degree to pack or distribute food. All you need is a willing heart, an able body, and time.
Moreover, you can join a group and volunteer as a family during the holidays. Your family or friends can distribute the work throughout different shifts or days.
3. Sponsor a Family
There are many Christmas volunteer opportunities out there. One of the most popular ways you can participate in holiday volunteering is by sponsoring or adopting a local family. Contact your local social service agency to match you with a needy family.
The agency can suggest what gifts the family might need. These can include anything from blankets to mittens, underwear, and socks. Families with kids would also greatly appreciate toys. You can find a local agency on the VolunteerMatch website.
4. Pack Food Parcels
One of the best ways to reap the benefits of volunteering is by packing food parcels and giving them to low-income families. Contact your local food shelf to ensure you have someone to distribute the food to.
Afterward, simply buy rice, pasta, pinto beans, or other food products in bulk to save on cost. Pack them into resealable plastic bags with family-sized portions and coordinate with the local food shelf.
5. Donate Clothing
Volunteering on Christmas doesn’t have to be grand. Simple clothing donations can go a long way for the underprivileged. Consider donating old baby clothes to newborns in the NICU. You can also go shopping for brand new ones — the newborns and their families will surely appreciate it.
Alternatively, you can also donate old clothes to local charity shops. It’s the perfect way to help someone out and declutter your closet for the year’s end.
6. Visit Hospitals or Care Facilities
Millions of people can’t enjoy the holidays because they’re stuck in care facilities or hospitals. Moreover, many people don’t receive visitors — even during the holidays. Why not keep them company this holiday season by paying them a visit?
Make a call to a local care facility or hospital to find out when is the best time to go. Bring along some small snacks or gifts to share. Above all, take the time to get to know these people, listen to their stories, and keep them company during the holiday.
7. Volunteer at an Animal Shelter
Humans aren’t the only ones in need. Hundreds of animals suffer and require care. Why not volunteer on Christmas day at a local animal shelter? You can help them walk the animals, bathe them, or even support the shelter in other ways.
8. Shop With the Salvation Army
The Salvation Army helps lots of people and families every year. They provide disaster relief, rehabilitation services, shelters, spiritual healing, and job training to people across the country. In addition, they try to help those in need enjoy Christmas just like everyone else. Consider volunteering at your local Salvation Army branch by serving food, donating gifts, or giving away clothes.
9. Offer to Babysit
Your neighbors, friends, or family might need help babysitting during the holidays. Why not give them a hand by offering them to babysit? The tired and busy couple can take a break and have a date night. It’s a simple and inexpensive way to give back to those you love.
10. Bake Cookies for First Responders
First responders are always helping the community out, so they deserve a lot of appreciation. Take some time to bake them homemade cookies or other pastries. Afterward, deliver them to the local fire or police station for Christmas. You can even get the kids involved and have them help with baking or decorating.
11. Give Blood
People don’t always need material things to enjoy the holidays. Many are simply desperate for blood donations to keep them alive. Consider donating blood to those in need at the American Red Cross.
12. Donate to Toys for Tots
The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation collects and gives away toys to families and their kids during the holidays. You can participate in their volunteer work by donating money, giving away toys, organizing toy drives, or volunteering your time. Simply spreading the word also helps the foundation a lot.
13. Donate to Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels aims to provide nutritious meals to the elderly throughout the United States. They support nearly 2.4 million people across the nation. You can help out this holiday season by bringing food to their clients or keeping them company. It’s a simple way to help those who can no longer help themselves.
Start Volunteering Today
Holiday volunteering is a great way to show your gratitude. Giving back to the community is always a heart-warming endeavor. Plus, it reminds those on the receiving end that they can always count on their fellow Americans to help them in their time of need.
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