Volunteer Opportunities Available This Holiday Season
The holiday season comes around November and lasts through the beginning of January. It is the time of year when kids expect gifts from Santa, the weather can get unbearably cold, and people feel generous. All of these things play an important role in the volunteer opportunities available throughout the holiday season. The city of Columbus Ohio has been doing their share in providing locals with several different volunteer opportunities in the next couple of months. If you are unable to volunteer this holiday season, there are always donation options available to individuals who still want to help out. Here are some of the opportunities available in Columbus Ohio.
Feeding the hungry
Many shelters provide homeless individuals with proper meals to eat in the convenience of a warm location. These locations can also provide emergency shelter in the case of bad weather, such as snow or extreme cold. The Community Shelter Board has opened a new building to accommodate for the growing number of adults and children who experience homelessness, especially during the winter months. This building provides food, shelter, and case management to individuals in need. CSB partners with the Mid-Ohio FoodBank in order to get the items they need to help feed anyone who comes through the doors. Since a higher number is expected during the holiday season, this would be a great opportunity for those looking to volunteer.
Volunteers will help prepare the dining room, serve meals to each guest, and clean up both the dining room and kitchen. There is a minimum age requirement of 14,to volunteer services, and minors must have an adult accompany them. Volunteers have the option to come in almost every day through the month of November and December, including Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas. If you are unable to volunteer, the shelter accepts donations of condiments, plastic utensils, sandwich bags, and other items.
Volunteer to gift wrap
Are you a pro at gift wrapping? If you would like to volunteer this holiday season, the Ohio Nature Education location needs volunteers to wrap donations made to their facility at Half Price Books. Ohio Nature Education provides homes for injured animals, while providing educational programs for people of all ages. The books donated help to keep the programs up and running. Times for gift wrapping vary and are available from December 13th through December 24th.
Holiday Store Help
For individuals who struggle to purchase holiday gifts for their families, the Homeless Families Foundation provides a Holiday Store. This Holiday Store allows families in need to shop for gifts so they can have a pleasant holiday experience. Volunteers are needed to restock the Holiday Store, help with gift wrapping, and transport clients home. The store needs about eight to twelve volunteers per day, and the shop is open during the week.
Meals on Wheels
During the week of Christmas, you can deliver meals to those in need. LifeCare Alliance delivers meals to low income families, the elderly, people with disabilities, and those who are homebound. These meals are hot and nutritious, and bring holiday cheer to those who receive it. Volunteers are needed to follow the given routes to deliver each meal. All routes take about 1 to 1 ½ hours to deliver, and training of the routes and maps are given to volunteers beforehand. Meals on Wheels also provides meals the week following Christmas, the week of New Year’s, and the week after New Year’s, in which volunteers are also needed.
Christmas Care/ Union Shares
There are even more volunteer opportunities available for families in need of food for the holidays. St. Stephen’s Community House is in need of volunteers on December 21st and 22nd. They will need to help sort, distribute, and load food items for more than 3,000 families. Volunteers for this two day event must be at least 18 years of age.
Mentoring students with disabilities
LifeTown just launched a new program this September called LifeTown Road Map to Successful Mentoring Relationships and Career Development. Volunteers are matched with a student with mild to moderate disabilities. Each volunteer will guide, support, and mentor their student for two hours during the weekday, once a month, for eight months. The goal is to help these students build skills including job exploration, resume building, financial independence, technology, communication, and interpersonal skills. The holiday season is great time for individuals to learn about financial responsibilities and money management when it comes to gift giving.
HandsOn Central Ohio provides the area with an assortment of volunteer opportunities throughout the holiday season and beyond. If you want to learn more about the programs listed above, or look into additional volunteer opportunities, you can visit their website at http://www.volunteercentralohio.org. Both a calendar of daily volunteer events, and a search for volunteer opportunities is available. The holidays are known as the helping season because people feel extra generous. Columbus Ohio has several great opportunities for adults and kids of all ages! Take a look at what interests you and sign up for a volunteer position, for the holiday season, today!