Fewer Americans are volunteering these days. In fact, the current volunteering rate is at a two-decade low.
There’s no better time than the holidays to give back. Instead of spending your days fighting for the best sale price, gather up your family and friends and give back to your community.
The festive season is a time for giving, not rampant consumerism. Take advantage of these Christmas volunteering ideas and make a difference this December.
1. Homeless Shelter
There are over 550,000 Americans experiencing homelessness on any given night. Homelessness is a horrible situation at any time of the year, but the situation becomes even more dangerous during winter months.
Shelters all around the country become overcrowded as staying on the streets becomes less of a possibility. This means that shelters need all the volunteers they can get to help provide a warm place to sleep.
As a volunteer, you can serve meals, run activities to keep everyone entertained, or give rides to those needing them most. You can also consider donating to help out.
2. Food Pantry
Just like homelessness, hunger is a large problem in the United States. More than 11 million children live in households without enough food to feed every family member. Consider volunteering your time at a food pantry this holiday season.
Many food pantries accept extra donations over the winter months. Most will hold a holiday food drive to provide Christmas meals to those in need. First, consider donating food items or money to help contribute.
You can also volunteer your time to help. Food pantries need drivers willing to pick up and transport donations. You can also help sort and hand out food at the pantry.
3. Animal Shelter
Most volunteering opportunities revolve around helping humans, but helping animals is also important.
Animal shelters rely on volunteers to help take care of the animals. As a volunteer, you’ll help feed animals and clean up the shelter. Sometimes, all the animals need is a little human interaction, which means playing with an animal or taking it on a walk.
Keep in mind that after the holidays is a very busy time for animal shelters. As families realize that the Christmas gift of a new puppy or kitten was a bad idea, shelters become overcrowded. Consider extending your volunteerism past the holiday season to help with this problem.
4. Adopting a Family
While not necessarily volunteering, another popular option is adopting a family.
During the holidays, many charities and non-profits gather wish-lists from families in need. You can select one of these families to buy gifts for so their children have something to open on Christmas morning.
Many times the list will include things for all family members. While there will be wish list items like toys, you may also give food items, clothing, and gift cards to help them out throughout the year.
Spread Holiday Cheer by Christmas Volunteering
Christmas volunteering is one of the easiest ways to spread holiday cheer.
Bring your whole family and make giving back a new holiday tradition in your house. Your children will gain valuable lessons from helping others and in turn, become more grateful for everything they have.
Once you’ve finished your holiday volunteering, it’s time to finish shopping. Browse our large selection of Christmas Gift Guides to help you find the best gifts.