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Give the Gift of Volunteering During the Holidays

Winter coat: $89.98. New flat screen TV: $799.99. Christmas tree: $50. Volunteering: priceless.

A Meals on Wheels recipient. Share the joy–volunteer today!

You know that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you’ve just received a gift from your best friend? Multiply that by 100 and that’s how amazingly awesome giving back can be.

Imagine this: You hand a warm wholesome meal to an elderly woman who’s homebound and can’t cook for herself anymore. She looks at the meal she is about to have, and then she looks at you, giving you the biggest toothless smile and the most delighted and grateful look you’ve ever seen. There’s just nothing like the feeling of joy you get when you help and give to others.

In fact, the Corporation for National and Community Service says that in 2006, volunteering reached a 30-year high in the U.S., as more people participated in efforts to help their communities. The U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the growth in volunteering was driven primarily by three age groups: teenagers, Baby Boomers, and older adults 65 and over. This goes to show that you can volunteer at any age, and help those of any age.

Holiday toy drive

Most people want to sign up for volunteering during the holidays when the spirit of giving is in the air, but any time is a great time to give back to your community. If this photo of adorable kids touched your heart and you want to make others smile, start with some of these ideas:

  • Collect and donate goods like non-perishable foods or old jackets to the homeless. Contact the Salvation Army to see what they need.
  • Get in touch with your local food bank, through Meals on Wheels or Feeding America.
  • Become a mentor at a Boys and Girls Club.
  • Volunteer at a local humane society (animals need love too!).
  • Look for non-profit organizations in your community and offer a hand.
  • Sign up for literacy programs and read to children.

The list goes on and on. For more ideas, you can visit Jayne Cravens’ webpage on Finding Volunteer Activities During the Holidays. It provides links to references on how to find volunteer opportunities that are right for you.

Have a story about volunteering to share? Tell us about it!

4 comments on “Give the Gift of Volunteering During the Holidays

  1. latelyleslie
    November 29, 2012

    Omg those little kiddies are all so adorable!! LA Mission does a lot of great things for skid row, and is a cool site too : )


  2. Super Sasha
    November 30, 2012

    I like that you included things other than the default soup kitchen volunteering. Thanks for the inspiration!


  3. Priya Sharma
    December 2, 2012

    Firstly, I am really happy to read such an article online because everyone knows these things but we need someone to say it. Volunteering often is a great exercise, I make sure to help at a Street kids school whenever I have time and would like to see more people doing that


    • stantalum
      December 3, 2012

      Thanks so much, I couldn’t agree with you more. I personally love helping the Reading to Kids program in Los Angeles school districts. Hopefully we’ll see more volunteer work everywhere this season!


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