5 Holiday Volunteer Ideas for Your Family

Have some free time during the coming weekends? Looking for a way to bond as a family and give back to the community? You’re in luck — the list of holiday volunteer ideas you can consider is, well, considerable. If you don’t have a ton of time but still want to volunteer, you’ll find these ideas can be accomplished in an hour or two — or less!

1. Volunteer at a Food Bank

Many food banks and food pantries gather extra food to give out during the holiday season. In a case of “many hands make light work,” food banks and pantries rely on volunteers for food intake, sorting, compiling and delivering. Not only will your family be helping others, you’ll be gaining perspective about the less fortunate.

2. Visit a Nursing Home

Not all elderly people have loving families and friends to spend time with during the holidays. Get in contact with a nearby nursing home so you can be matched up to some lovely people who are well-deserving of a visit. Playing board games, reading out loud together or even just chatting for a 30 minutes are all ways your family can brighten an elderly person’s holiday season.

3. Help With Toy Drives

We all see giving trees in malls, stores and workplaces throughout the holiday season, but a lot of work goes into making those toy drives possible — both behind the scenes and with the families they benefit. Some organizations set up a location for the items, allowing families to go through and pick items for their own children. Others match family requests to donated items. In both cases, and just like with food banks, people are needed to take in the toys, sort them and help them to get to their final destination.

4. Lend a Hand to a Neighbor

Look around your own neighborhood. Are there any elderly or disabled neighbors who could use a helping hand running errands? This is a great opportunity to build relationships in your community while drawing your own family together. The help you offer doesn’t have to end with errands, either. You can volunteer to do housework, yard work, put up Christmas decorations or just visit for a while. And don’t forget about these neighbors when the holidays are over — your help can be instrumental year-round.

5. Adopt a Family

Although many toy and food drives are anonymous, Family-to-Family provides the opportunity to be matched to a family in need who you can adopt through the holiday season. Working directly with a specific family will personalize the experience both for your family and theirs — and could be the start of a great relationship.

Look Around, See What’s Found

Take a good, hard look at your daily life, and you’ll likely see other opportunities for your family’s list of holiday volunteer ideas. From sitting with a lonely neighbor to fostering a homeless pet to spending time volunteering in a shelter — you’ll never run out of ideas for giving back.

By taking the time to think about where you go each day, where you work, where you spend time in the community or where your kids hang out, you’ll surely find a bounty of wonderful ways to make sure your family gives as good as they get this year.

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