Now that Thanksgiving is behind us our attention turns to the next holidays. While we are still basking in the theme of giving, why not explore ways to give back to your community? Here are a few organizations that are always looking for help.
- Food Banks – They are always looking for donated food and funds. The local food bank not only is a resource for providing food assistance to those who need help but also provides assistance in helping people apply for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), which is a nutrition program that gives money for food based on income and household size. They are connected to community food pantries in your area. By starting here, you can connect to a local pantry to then see how you can best help them. My church works with the food pantry in our town, and we are provided wish lists of various needed food. At Christmas time, we collect brand new blankets for them, and they gift these to community families.
- Local Animal Shelters – Besides donating money, you can volunteer your time in various ways such as fostering a pet, attending an event, creating a fundraiser, and donating supplies such as cat and dog beds, or toys. As I am working with clients and they have gently used towels or sheets they no longer want, I will take them to a local animal shelter or vet office. I always call ahead as sometimes they do not have the space to store these items. I know what they are looking for, so I do not just dump unwanted items on them.
- Council on Aging/Senior Centers – Call your local center to see how you can best serve your community seniors. My local center has two collection bins that accept books in one and clothing in the other. Funds generated by these bins help support the center.
- United Service Organizations (USO) – The government does not fund this organization, so they depend on donors. To volunteer, you can go to their website to see if there is a location near you.
- Toys for Tots – Who doesn’t love watching a child open a gift? Help by donating a toy to a drop site near you. In my county we can donate from our homes by going to a specific website and all the items ordered get delivered to the local warehouse.
There are many other local organizations that can benefit from any assistance you have to offer. I wanted to focus on national organizations as my readers are from all areas of the United States and beyond.