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5 Places To Volunteer This Holiday Season

Growing up my parents would regularly make me say what I was thankful for as a reminder to appreciate even the tiny things in life. Sometimes this meant saying prayers or even just writing thank you letters to friends, family members, teachers, coaches, etc. One of my favorite things though was volunteering because it made me thankful in other ways. Here are 5 places to volunteer in the month of thanks and giving:


1. Food Banks

Food banks offer multiple ways to give back including donating food, money and time. Donating cans and non-perishables is only a third of what can be done. Find a local food bank in your area and ask if you can volunteer. You have product recovery, which is a more hands-on approach and good for groups as well as individuals. This allows you to sort, inspect and package food and groceries that are donated. If you prefer a more low-impact approach then ask to work in the office and give the staff administrative support. Either way, you will be giving back!


2. Soup Kitchens

During the holiday time and colder months, I feel like there is no better place to volunteer than a soup kitchen. Preparing and serving meals to those who need it most will truly make you thankful. Most soup kitchens during this time of month go out of their way to prepare special meals and may even decorate their facilities to make it a little more relaxing for the men, women, and children who come through their doors. Many areas may not have one, but if you do not mind making a trip take the opportunity to give just a little bit of your time.


3. Nursing Homes

Out of all my volunteering experiences, I believe nursing homes are the most gratifying but also take the most time to familiarize yourself. If you can get past the unusually clean smell that most nursing homes have to offer then everything else comes easily. You can participate in exercise classes, the salon, bingo and so much more. On top of that, during Thanksgiving, the elderly sometimes are left out and having volunteers who genuinely enjoy helping is a good way to lighten the mood. Nursing homes also need help in the administration departments sometimes just in case bingo is not your strong point.


4. Animal Shelters

Does this even need an explanation? Who wouldn’t want to play with dogs all day? Volunteering in an animal shelter comes with some grunt work, such as grooming the animals and even cleaning out cages, but it’s worth it. Most places have local animal shelters that need help and who knows, you might even find a fur friend to take home.


5. Polling Places

Elections do not happen every year, but this year they are important. Polling places sometimes need volunteers to help pass out papers of some sort and answer a couple questions for voters. This is also a learning experience and something that you may be able to use when it comes time for you to vote as well.  


It’s the season of thanks and giving so do you best to contribute! You may find that you really enjoy volunteering and want to make it a monthly habit and even take friends and family along. 


Rineta is a Speech Communication major at Valdosta State University, with an emphasis in public relations. She aspires to have a career in sports media relations one day. In her free time she enjoys binge watching shows written by Shonda Rimes on Netflix, reading professional athlete autobiographies and being the friend who laughs too much. Follow her- IG/Twitter: _rrainey
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