How to Spread Holiday Cheer & Give Back This Season

‘Tis the season for holiday cheer and a great way to spread it is by giving back to your community or others in general There are so many ways to give back this season—from toy drives, supply drives, food drives, and volunteering at shelters. Here are a few ways to give back this season around the Amherst area:

1. Sigma Kappa Maine Seacoast Foundation Toy/ Supply Drive

Sigma Kappa is one of the eight sororities on the UMass Amherst campus. One of their philanthropies is the Maine Seacoast Mission. Sigma Kappa was founded in Maine, so in honor of that, one of their philanthropies involves the islands off the coast of Maine. These islands tend to have trouble getting supplies in the winter, so UMass Sigma Kappa is holding a toy & supply drive. They are collecting supplies and clothing for the Maine Seacoast Mission Christmas Program for the holidays. The donations will be collected at the Sigma Kappa House, on 19 Allen St. in Amherst.There are also pick-up services. 

Join the Facebook Event here!

2. Volunteer at Amherst Survival Center

The Amherst Survival Center offers free breakfast, lunch, food distribution, and a free medical clinic. They also feature a Community Center/ Volunteer Program. There is an opportunity to become an Amherst Survival volunteer. The next volunteer orientation takes place December 14th. Their Food Pantry is also open on Saturday, December 17th from 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Sign up to volunteer with a group of friends, or just solo! Get more information about helping out here. You may also contact Carleen Basley, the Volunteer Coordinator, by email at [email protected] or by phone at 549-3968 ext. 111.

3.  The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts

At the Western Massachusetts Food Bank, you can donate food, or volunteer as well! Volunteers perform tasks including anything from food processing, special event support, program support, administrative support. They work through food processing on the weekdays from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. or 1-4 p.m. If volunteering isn’t your thing, you can still help out by donating. According to their website, “For every $1 you donate, we are able to provide 3 meals.”

Donate here!

4. UMass For The Kids (FTK) Bracelets & Cocoa Events

UMass FTK is an organization at UMass that plans many events which aid the Baystate Children’s Hospital. This winter, they are selling $5 bracelets to cut the line at several bars in the town of Amherst, including Olde Town Tavern and the Pub, on December 6th. Join the Facebook event here! All the proceeds go to the Baystate Children’s Hospital. There will be tabling at the Campus Center for purchases. Cash or Venmo (@umassFTK) is accepted. The bracelets can be bought and delivered by FTK members. Here is more information. 

They are also giving away free hot cocoa on Thursday, December 8th in the UMass Campus Center. All donations will also go to the Baystate Children’s Hospital. Join the Facebook event here!

Happy Holidays, Collegiettes! Don't forget to give back and be thankful this season.

Sources:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5