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5 Places You Can Volunteer For During the Holidays

For some of us, the holidays are a happy and joyous time of year. For others, it’s the time of year that they dread the most. The traditional meals and giving of gifts can put a strain on families who might not have money to spare or are homeless and hungry. There are multiple places in Minneapolis that need volunteers over the holidays. You don’t have to donate money to make a difference. Donate your time.

Salvation Army: “When hard times hit, make us your first call. No matter what the need – physical, emotional or spiritual – we’re here to help.”

Salvation Army provides assistance in almost every county in Minnesota for things like housing, youth services, rehabilitation and counseling. Most people have heard of the Salvation Army or seen the bell ringers and red buckets outside department and grocery stores. That could be you! There are over 500 locations that need ringers. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, how about decorating the Harbor Light Center into a Winter Wonderland?

Meals on Wheels: “Serving Up Smiles.”

Volunteer by delivering fresh, hot meals to senior citizens and people with disabilities who aren’t able to get or afford food on their own. Not only do you get to provide them with a nutritious meal, but also a friendly face and conversation. Meals on Wheels has 32 programs in the Twin Cities alone. Anyone can deliver meals! Sign up by yourself or with a friend or family member. Delivering meals to eight to ten people in your community can make a huge difference.

People Serving People: “People Serving People helps homeless and at-risk children and their families manage crisis situations and build a strong foundation for their long-term success.”

Register to be a Holiday Helper and volunteer at the largest homeless shelter for families in the Midwest. Some opportunities include writing thank you cards, gift wrapping, helping set up the Winter Carnival, setting up a toy shop and many more. You can register with a group or by  yourself.

Love Your Neighbor: “Neighbors, Inc. strives to reduce poverty, promote self-sufficiency and build community.”

Join Neighbors Inc. for their holiday volunteer program Love your Neighbor. Neighbors Inc. is a non-profit organization that gives assistance to low income communities around Minnesota. You can donate ingredients for a holiday meal or items of clothing. If you don’t have any items to donate, you can donate your time volunteering at events not limited to Minnesota, but around the Midwest.

Second Harvest Heartland:  “Solving the problem of hunger is our passion. Our goal is to not only help the hungry today, but also to provide the means for everyone to be fed tomorrow. ”

Second Harvest Heartland is one of the nation’s largest hunger relief organizations and has been fighting hunger for 44 years. As a volunteer, you could sort and repack food, distribute fresh food or even help out at one of their many monthly events.

If none of those options appeal to you, try looking up some non-profits in your area. There are also multiple different religious organizations that you can get involved with. If you have a place of worship, ask if you can donate your time this holiday season.

Get a group of friends or some family members together and go out and volunteer. You can make a difference. Make someone’s holiday season a little brighter and volunteer.

Robin is a junior at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities studying Professional Journalism, Studies of Cinema and Media Culture and Communications. She is a huge film, TV and musical theater buff (needless to say she spends too much time binge watching). She is an avid Couponer and money saver with hopes of becoming a Film Critic one day. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/robinrose44 or find her pieces on http://www.hercampus.com/school/minnesota
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