There are people in your community right now who are struggling with financial problems, illness, and homelessness. Although you want to help, you might be on a tight budget yourself; and you don’t have enough to donate to the various causes. Thankfully, you can still contribute in a meaningful way by volunteering.
Christmas can be a wonderful occasion to volunteer your time, as many groups need extra help around the holidays. If you’re looking for a volunteer opportunity, these seven organizations are still in need of help. (See also: 8 Charities You Can Trust With Your Holiday Donations)
1. Knit for the Gift of Life
If you enjoy knitting, the Gift of Life needs your skills. It’s an organization that is dedicated to helping and supporting parents of premature babies and babies in neonatal intensive care units. Many families will be spending Christmas Day in the hospital to be near their babies.
The Gift of Life collects stuffed bears and beanies to distribute to families at Christmastime to provide comfort and hope. The organization needs knitters and crocheters to create the bears and hats. You can contact them to volunteer and they will send you the hat sizes and patterns they need.
2. Wrap presents for the American Red Cross
You might have taken advantage of American Red Cross wrapping booths in the past, yourself. They’re common in shopping malls nationwide during the holiday season. Volunteers wrap shoppers’ presents for them in return for a donation. It’s an effective fundraiser that goes toward disaster relief and support for the military.
If you enjoy wrapping presents, you can find seasonal American Red Cross volunteer gigs on VolunteerMatch.org or by contacting your local chapter office.
3. Deliver hot meals with Little Brothers: Friends of the Elderly
Many elderly or disabled individuals are homebound and cannot go to the grocery store for food. Or, they might not have family to help them and are completely isolated. They often rely on organizations like Meals on Wheels for hot meals and companionship.
However, Meals on Wheels is not open on Christmas Day. Little Brothers: Friends of the Elderly chapters fill the gap by delivering hot meals directly to individuals’ homes, ensuring they’re not alone on Christmas Day. Contact your local chapter office to sign up to become a deliverer.
4. Cheer hospital patients with the Salvation Army
Spending the holidays in the hospital can be a very grim and lonely experience. As part of its holiday efforts, Salvation Army chapters nationwide arrange for hospital and nursing home visits. Volunteers sit with patients on Christmas Day. It can be uplifting for patients, especially for children and the elderly. You can contact your local Salvation Army chapter to inquire about visitation schedules.
5. Distribute warm clothes with Goodwill
While many children are dreaming of new video games, others just wish for a warm coat. Each year, Goodwill chapters collect new and gently used coats, shoes, and gloves for both children and adults. You can contact your local chapter to volunteer, or you can help by collecting gently used warm clothing from family and friends.
6. Assemble hygiene kits for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Unfortunately, the National Domestic Violence Hotline receives hundreds of phone calls on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and throughout the holiday season from victims of domestic abuse in need of help. Some are connected with local shelters so they can get to a safe place.
When victims of domestic abuse leave their abuser, they often have to leave suddenly with just the clothes on their back. They might arrive at the shelter without even a toothbrush. The local chapters of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence need help collecting new supplies and assembling hygiene kits. Contact your local coalition office to volunteer or donate supplies.
7. Visit nursing home residents with the Holiday Project
The Holiday Project is an organization devoted to making visiting people in nursing homes, hospitals, or other residential institutions a normal holiday tradition. It arranges for volunteers to visit nursing home residents, who are often without family and may never receive visitors otherwise. During your visit, you might sing Christmas carols, hang up decorations, or play games with residents. You can find a list of existing groups or learn how to create your own group by visiting HolidayProject.info.