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Volunteering During the Holidays

by Chloe Wallace

If you’re looking to spread some holiday cheer this season by getting involved, here are some perfect ways to volunteer within your community.

Sponsor a child or family in need

Many children do not receive gifts during the holidays, let alone have access to essentials throughout the year. Help bring a smile to a child’s face this holiday by reaching out to a local social service agency (or local schools, hospitals, etc.) and having them match you with a child’s (or even a whole family’s) gift wish list.

The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve also sponsors the Toys for Tots drive, a great way to donate toys to children who otherwise may not get any.

Thinking of hosting a party?

If you have a holiday party planned, try adding an element of giving back. Instead of holding a gift exchange or a white elephant exchange, ask guests to bring non-perishable food items to give to a local shelter or toys to be donated to children in need. You could even match each guest with an “adopted” child and wrap the gifts together (see above). Get creative!

For Animal Lovers

Volunteering at a local animal shelter will aid overworked shelter employees and bring more joy to an animal than you can believe, but also consider fostering a pet this holiday season. Contact your local ASPCA or use petfinder.com to connect with many local agencies. Donating to PetSmart charities is another great way to give back to animals. PetSmart charities rank 94.2/100 on Charity Navigator based on the transparency and accountability they provide, so you can trust your donation is going straight to the cause.

Simply Spread Holiday Cheer

Visit a local nursing home/care facility, or even a hospital. Many residents rarely get visitors, and the holiday season can be an especially lonely time. You can prepare songs to sing, play games, or simply chat.

Find a Good Fit

Volunteermatch.com is a great place to start. Enter your location and sort through the options until you find what is right for you.

Whichever volunteering opportunity you get involved in, make it a family affair. It is especially important to involve your children if that’s the case; pass on a tradition of volunteering and make the world a better place for years to come rather than just for one day.

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