We are overflowing with gratitude this holiday season. We have food on our tables, roofs over our heads and wonderful people in our lives, like you. Unfortunately, for some, the holidays are less jolly. That’s why it’s important we all carve out a little extra time between the cooking and the shopping to help the less fortunate.
If you are looking for a way to give back, we put together a few ideas. This is by no means a complete list of all the organizations that need volunteers; it is merely a sampling of charities that could use your help.
SECOND HARVEST FOOD BANK OF METROLINA
This is a great place to volunteer as a family or a group. You have to be at least 17 to volunteer on your own, but kids 13-16 are welcome on Saturdays with an adult over 21. After a quick training session, you’ll inspect and sort food at the Charlotte warehouse so it can get boxed up for distribution. Click here to sign up for a shift and learn about other volunteer opportunities.
We’ve all seen those red kettles and the merry bell ringers wishing you holiday cheer outside stores this time of year. The Salvation Army depends on those donations to fund the services they provide to natural disaster victims, the homeless, people struggling with addiction and so much more. In addition to putting a few bucks in the kettle, there are so many ways you can help the Salvation Army. Click here and scroll down to find more information on Adopting an Angel, the Magical Toy Drive, the Empty Stocking Fund and the various ways you can donate your time.
CHARLOTTE RESCUE MISSION
The Charlotte Rescue Mission provides faith-based residential recovery programs for people struggling with addiction. They help people achieve long-term sobriety, financial stability, find stable housing and build healthy relationships. They need help with processing donations, tutoring in their learning centers, administrative duties and hosting donation drives. Click here to learn more.
OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD
Samaritan’s Purse runs this massive enterprise to deliver millions of shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items to children in need around the world. After national collection week (November 14-21) they need thousands of volunteers to help at their shoebox processing centers. Click here to learn more.
SEARCH FOR OPPORTUNITIES
SHARE Charlotte is an organization that connects people who want to share their time and resources to the charities that need them. Kelly Brooks founded SHARE Charlotte 10 years ago with 87 non-profit partners. Now, they support more than 400! Click here to find a philanthropic partner for your interests and passions.
The United Way of the Central Carolinas also has a simple way to connect people with volunteer opportunities. Log on to NC211, type “volunteer” into the box and click “get help”. You will find search results for all different organizations that have immediate needs. A recent search found opportunities at Gracious Hands, a transitional housing program for homeless women with children, Friendship Trays, an organization that delivers meals to homebound adults, and Hospitality House, a place that offers lodging for patients and their caregivers traveling to Charlotte for medical treatment.
Whether it’s with one of the charities we’ve mentioned or another of your choosing, we encourage you to do what you can this holiday season. Having the time and resources to give to those less fortunate is truly a blessing.