12 Ways to Volunteer During Christmastime and the HolidaysDecember 1, 2018
Giving back to the community is important to our Busch Gardens family, and we strive to support local Virginia organizations and outreach programs throughout the year. Volunteering your time or helping with donations is a perfect way to do something positive for your own community. Although the holidays are a great time to get in the spirit of giving, you can also use these ideas all year long.
1. Help the Homeless
Serving food at a soup kitchen often comes to mind when you think of volunteering around the holidays. It’s a rewarding act that helps feed those who may not have the privilege of easy and frequent access to meals. But don’t limit yourself to dedicating your time at the end of the year – these non-profit organizations need help all year round.
2. Volunteer at an Animal Rescue
Many animal shelters and rescues rely on volunteers and donors to help keep their doors open. If you have a couple hours to spare each week, some rescue groups and humane societies seek out volunteers to play with the animals and clean their living spaces. Or, consider becoming a foster and welcome an animal into your home until they can find their forever home.
Litter, pet food and other items are frequently needed. Take a look at social media or do an online search to find local shelters near you for any additional volunteer opportunities or lists of desired items.
3. Donate Gently Used Items
Take the opportunity to de-clutter your home by collecting gently used clothing and household items to donate. Spend a little time researching your chosen charitable organization and make sure they can accept your donated items. Don’t forget to check the designated drop-off times to ensure you are able to deliver your donations.
4. Lend a Helping Hand
Look for local groups that are in need of your specialized skills and interests. Knit or crochet hats for infants, sew quilts and blankets for the homeless or design a charitable organization’s website. Host an international student in your home during their study abroad. Or, help provide foreign language translation for a crisis center or emergency shelter. If you cannot find the right project at your chosen charity, you may be able to lead the charge.
5. Visit a Senior Living Community
If you’re looking for an ongoing volunteer opportunity, try seeking out nearby independent and assisted living facilities, nursing homes and hospice care. It’s a great way to interact with the elderly and give them companionship. It’s best to have an idea before you reach out of how you would like to volunteer.
6. Answer a Christmas Wish
Choose an ornament from a local angel tree or participate in an adopt-a-family program to help fulfill a Christmas wish. These programs are a great way to sponsor individuals, families and military personnel by providing clothing, food or other goods.
7. Send a Care Package to Service Members
Connect with a group whose mission is to help support our troops deployed overseas, and see when they send out care packages and letters throughout the year. This is a fun project for the entire family!
8. Pay it Forward
While you’re grabbing your morning coffee from your favorite café or breakfast from a drive-thru restaurant, consider paying for the person behind you. This is an unexpected random act of kindness that is sure to help start their day off on the right foot.
9. Clean Up the Environment
Whether you want to participate in a larger project like helping clean up a highway or just looking to keep your neighborhood trash-free, the outcome is the same: a cleaner, more beautiful place. Gather a group of friends, family or colleagues to make it a bonding experience.
10. Make a Small Gesture
Volunteering doesn’t need to be a big venture – you can start right at home. Do something pleasantly unexpected for your parents, partner or roommate. Send a thoughtful text to brighten their afternoon or welcome them home with a hearty dinner. It will bring a smile to their faces to know you thought of them.
11. Look After Loved Ones
There’s a chance you may know someone who has difficulties making appointments or running errands on their own. They may not have easy access to transportation, have challenges with mobility without assistance or are just in need of having a companion accompany them. Offer to drive or travel with a friend, neighbor or relative to their planned tasks or scheduled commitments. While offering a ride may not seem like a big deal, it could mean the world to the person you’ve helped.
12. Support Your Teachers and Local Schools
It’s known that teachers often spend their own money on items for their classroom. Consider donating new art supplies, facial tissues or notebooks to your child’s classroom or nearby school. There are organizations and efforts through local governments, non-profits and drop-off locations. Or, speak with the school directly to see how you can help make a positive impact on its students.