The holidays are here, meaning it’s time to snuggle up by the fireplace and watch some classic movies. Maybe you're busy preparing a feast or finishing up a little shopping. With everything going on at this time of the year, it might seem crazy to think of adding even more to your list. But in all the excitement and cheer, maybe you’ll want to spend a little time this season giving back to your community. If that’s the case, check out these organizations and services to find where you can make a difference.
Volunteering and Civic Life in America
The Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency, provides the organization Volunteering and Civic Life in America. This organization helps fulfill the corporation’s mission as they aim "to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.” They have accumulated volunteer opportunities on their website that you can browse by location and keyword. The opportunities are available for various people and skill sets, and they serve a range of communities. If you’re not sure where you might be able to serve best, start by looking at this listing.
Toys for Tots
Though the program had been in action for a few decades already, Toys for Tots was recognized as an official mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in 1995. The program now operates in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, collecting new toys and distributing them in December to local children who are less fortunate. Over 230 million children have received toys from this program. However, more than gifts are given to these children. The goal is to spread a message of hope.
Local Toys for Tots Coordinators place collection boxes in businesses, agencies and corporations. They then gather, sort and distribute the gifts to children in need. Find out how you can be involved with Toys for Tots in your community by donating toys, hosting an event or volunteering at a warehouse. The Georgia Governor's Mansion houses an official Toys for Tots drop-off spot, so feel free to bring a toy or two if you plan to take a tour! Many toy collections end this Sunday, December 20, so if you want to be involved, act now!
In the late 1960s, the first food bank was started in Arizona. Today, Feeding America organizes around 200 food banks with the goal to end hunger in our nation. They run 8 banks across the state of Georgia and are always accepting volunteers and donations. Holiday volunteer opportunities include repackaging donated food, transporting food, tutoring children and running a food drive. Find your local food bank for more information on how you can serve.
If you’re short on time but would still like to contribute, you can donate online to provide holiday meals. Feeding America accepts one-time donations as well as monthly gifts.
There are several reasons to volunteer, benefiting others and yourself. This year, volunteers in America reported 300 million more service hours than they did last year, suggesting that they love it and want more of it! Join millions of Americans and volunteer this holiday season.