Volunteering During the Holidays

In the midst of the holiday season, we can sometimes get caught up in the hustle of family get-togethers and celebrations. While those are certainly important, this time of year is also an opportunity to step back, reflect on what we are grateful for and (if possible) give back. Volunteering your time and donating to worthy causes has an array of benefits, not only for the community you are working within, but individually as well. Serving others, by way of volunteering, has been shown to increase social and relationship skills, increase self-confidence and provide career experience (Western Connecticut State University). The holidays are an optimal time to embrace The Great Joy of Serving Others and be an example to your community and friends. Below you will find a few ways get involved by volunteering this holiday season:

Local Food Bank or Food Pantries

Check online for local food banks or food pantries that may need a bit of extra help during the holiday season. Be flexible though, these organizations need help doing a variety of different tasks including office work to delivering and packing meals.

Sponsor a Family 

A great way to make a direct impact with people in your community is to sponsor a family. If you need help getting started, below are the steps to get you on your way: 

  1. Contact your local church,  Salvation Army or visit volunteermatch.org to be matched with your recipient(s), ideally similar in age to your own children. 
  2. After you learn the specifics about your recipient(s) (age, gender, etc.), brainstorm gift ideas with your family. If the organization gave you a list of requested gift items, consider that, too. 
  3. Pick your destination and go shopping. 
  4. Wrap the gifts and attach recipient names to each. 
  5. Drop them off at the designated spot.

Toy Drives

There are a variety of different organizations that collect toys for children in need during the holidays. Some of these organizations include St. Jude Children Research HospitalToys for Tots and Operation Christmas ChildMake sure to check individual organization’s COVID-19 policies before buying gifts. Many organizations provide resources online that give a variety of options on how to support their cause.  

Random Acts of Kindness

Buy someone’s cup of coffee, reach out to a friend and tell them how much you appreciate them or compliment a stranger! Find ways to spread kindness throughout your daily routine and find gratitude in the small moments. Take this past the holiday season and do it throughout the year. Spreading kindness and gratitude results in increased happiness and everyone can benefit from that!