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Tis the Season… to Volunteer!


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Change a Life by Reaching Out to Those Less Fortunate

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” — Aesop

While volunteering is always in season, during this time of year especially, our thoughts seem to turn even more to caring for our fellow man. Whether it’s extra food, a much-needed coat or blanket, or just a helping hand, a little can go a long way for those less fortunate than we are. Helping others feels good too, and getting your kids involved is a hands-on way to teach valuable life lessons about sharing and giving. Whether it’s just you or the whole family, these ideas are sure to help you express the spirit of the season.

coat driveOrganize a coat drive
Cooler temperatures mean it’s time to bring out the coats and jackets. But for so many living in poverty, a winter coat is often viewed as a budget “extra.” Getting plenty of new or gently worn coats into the right hands is easy though, when you enlist the aid of your family, neighbors, co-workers, book clubs—any group seeking to help others this time of year. Organizations like OneWarmCoat.org and the Salvation Army have some great tips for making this a successful project that warms the body as well as the soul.

senior foodProvide food for seniors in need
Meals on Wheels delivers over a million meals every single day, and the results are more than a simply a nourishing dinner. Seniors receiving daily meals reported experiencing a decrease in anxiety, improved health, fewer falls, improved feelings of isolation and fewer worries about being able to remain in their homes. Contact your local Meals on Wheels chapter to find out how you can help.

food pantryDonate to a food pantry
With one in seven Americans relying on help to feed their families, the need is real. Check with your local food pantry; usually some or all of these six categories are greatly needed: non-perishable proteins like peanut butter, canned tuna and chicken; canned fruits and vegetables (check the expiration date); baby food, formula and diapers; kids non-perishable snacks; condiments and spices; and personal hygiene products. Use this locator to find a food bank in the U.S. Locate food banks in Canada here.

What additional ideas do you have for helping others? How has volunteering changed your life? We’d love to hear from you! Just leave a comment below.

Resources:

Create the Good: How to Hold a Coat Drive

One Warm Coat

The Salvation Army

Meals on Wheels

USA Today: Hunger in America: 1 in 7 rely on food banks

Take Part: Donating to a Food Bank? Here’s What to Bring (and What to Leave at Home)

Feeding America: Find Your Local Food Bank

Food Banks Canada

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Hope Beach
Hope Beach
5 years ago

I volunteer with my local Christian radio station and we always have a coat drive during the winter season. It’s amazing to see how many coats we get!

Jan Kulda
Jan Kulda
5 years ago

I and two of my children donated our time, along with some of my co-workers, to help package food at Second Harvest Heartland in Minneapolis. We were part of a team of people that packaged 5,220 pounds of food that morning. It was great being part of a bigger effort to get food to those less fortunate than ourselves. We look forward to volunteering there again soon!

campsuz
campsuz
5 years ago

doing good to others is always in style

Amy Hepfner
Amy Hepfner
5 years ago

My friend and I ring bells for the red kettle campaign every year. In our church we have a red stocking tree where we have gift ideas for a couple of families in need, every year as a family we each pick a stocking off the tree and get the gift listed. Also, the day after Thanksgiving we would hang a special stocking. This was Jesus’ stocking and through the season leading up to Christmas Eve we would fill the stocking with our spare change, the kids being the biggest givers. On Christmas Eve day we would take down the stocking, put the money in a box, wrap it and put a gift tag on it that said, “Happy Birthday Jesus”. When we went to church that night, the kids would place it under the tree in the front of the church. Our pastor, being apprised of the gift the first year would know to add the money to the mission collections. Teaching children to give back instead of always getting not only at Christmas but all year through is… Read more »

sarah Brown
sarah Brown
5 years ago

I have volunteered in a variety of ways, but my favorite is always when you are involving the community. getting to know the people around you is fun and ya never know how you have touched someone’s life.

Gingi Freeman
Gingi Freeman
3 years ago

Compassion International has some AMAZING volunteer and donation opportunities!