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Volunteer Opportunities During the Holidays

Volunteer opportunities during the holidays can fill up fast! But no need to despair! There are great ways you can help this holiday season and in the future. If you are interested in signing up for a volunteer opportunity near you, you can create an account on POINT. Set your location, pick causes you care about, and see a curated feed of volunteer opportunities near you with instant sign ups! It literally couldn’t get any easier to do more good.

By Vladimir Vladimirov for HowStuffWorks

If all the volunteer opportunities in your area are filled, there are still plenty of ways you can do good this holiday season. We’ve listed a few below!

Host a Donation Drive for…

  • Fundraising

Nonprofits have many needs, but few are as important as financial support. Bring your friends, family, and colleagues together to host a donation drive for a nonprofit near you. You’ll help local nonprofits meet their funding goals so they can continue to serve the community in the new year.

POINT makes it easy to give to nonprofits with a tap. Search for a nonprofit in our directory on the app or web platform, and donate directly from their POINT page. You can even find new nonprofits by scrolling through the list based on the causes they support!

  • Toys

Participate in a community toy drive by asking around at work, your church, school, or through social media. Many nonprofits that work with children can always use more toys to have on site or give out. You can even purchase, wrap, and deliver gifts to a local nonprofit that helps families who are struggling.

  • Supplies

Get together with your friends and family to collect items for nonprofits that serve families or run shelters. New socks, underwear, towels, warm coats, gloves, hygiene items, and blankets can always be used. If you’ve got kids, involve them in sorting the donated items and helping deliver them to nonprofits or directly to families.

Invite the neighbors to a holiday block party and ask everyone to bring food items to donate to a local pantry. Often pantries post lists on their websites of items they need or items they can’t take, so make sure to check that out. Create some decorations with the kids, pass out some candy canes, and have a blast!

  • Blood Drive

The need for blood donations is constant. Host a blood drive in your community with the American Red Cross or another donation center to help fill this need. Set out holiday-themed snacks for everyone who donates, so they can get blood sugar levels back up.

Spread Cheer to your Neighbors

  • Stop by your local senior center or assisted living facility to spread cheer with a friendly visit or some holiday songs! Be sure to reach out beforehand to schedule your visit. And always keep in mind that the elderly often have compromised immune systems, so only go if you’re healthy!
  • Go out of your way to help a neighbor! You could shovel snow, help with lights, get groceries, or deliver a home-cooked meal. Every act of kindness counts! 
  • Offer to babysit for parents. Give them the gift of time and take care of their little ones, so they can enjoy a date night or take care of holiday shopping.

Sponsor a Local Family

Churches and businesses frequently feature “giving trees” over the holidays. You can take a tag which lists a family’s holiday wish list, so you can buy gifts. It’s hard to be a parent or caretaker who is struggling financially during the holidays. You can be a blessing by making sure kiddos get gifts.

How can I find a family to gift?

Talk to your loved ones about community needs

Take the time to educate your kids, grandchildren, or friends about issues in your community, encouraging empathy for neighbors facing difficulties. They may be inspired to write a letter to your City Council asking for more solutions, or even to Congress. Or it might inspire them to volunteer with a local nonprofit serving those needs in your community!

Especially going into the winter months, have conversations grounded in compassion with others about the unsheltered and homeless communities. Make sure that you’ve educated yourself first. Did you know that “between 40 and 60 percent of the homeless population floats in and out of full-time and part-time work”? Plus, the homeless population includes people across all demographics—men, women, singles, families, youth, elderly, etc. Here’s a guide on how to talk to children about the homeless community. Having open discussions that are centered on empathy may inspire the motivation to help. Giving out snacks, water, grocery gift cards, blankets, coats, and sleeping bags can help an unsheltered neighbor literally survive the winter.

Support Local

When possible, purchase gifts or gift cards to local shops and businesses. Supporting local businesses, schools, and childcare centers is a win-win situation for everyone in the community.

Photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash
Photo Brandy Strand
Brandy Strand
Nonprofit Partnerships Account Executive

No guilt trips, no sad stories. Just a chance to do something good.