Places to volunteer for the upcoming holiday season.
The holiday season is nearly upon us people! Soon enough many of us will be stuffing our faces with food made by the people we love. And let’s be honest we all have that one relative that makes the best (insert some sort of food here) and we can all try to argue about why it’s the best thing you’ll ever taste even though we all know the truth: my grandma makes the best cheesy potatoes in the world. End of story. Don’t @ me, don’t write me angry emails, just accept it.
We’ll be trimming a Christmas tree, lighting our manoras, and trying to pick out the perfect present for that special someone because hey, it’s also cuffing season. There’s even some wack-a-doos out there that think it’s okay to start playing Christmas music the minute that the final dish is washed after Thanksgiving dinner. However, when you’re sitting around campus just waiting to get to go home for a couple days to spend time with your family it’s important to remember that not everyone has a home during this time of thanks. If you have ever found yourself wanting to give back to your community and help those less fortunate than yourselves, but just don’t really know where to start here are some really great options.
Meals on Wheels with LifeCare Alliance
This is a great opportunity to deliver food to those who are homebound or experience accessibility issues. You can sign up to become a volunteer on a regular basis or get a group together and adopt a route. However, if you have a culinary touch, Meals on Wheels is always looking for extra hands in the kitchen to help prep and create the meals that are delivered.
Location: 1699 W. Mound St.
Ronald McDonald House
No one wants to spend time in the hospital being sick, especially not during the holidays. And with Ronald McDonald House there are plenty of ways to get involved to brighten the day of the families spending their holiday at the hospital. Good food is something families are always looking for while in a hospital and you can help provide that by volunteering with the meal team, or you could take a few hours out of your own time to create some snack pack bags and drop them off at your convenience. Whatever route you decide to take, just make sure you check out their website for the details and if there are any set times or dates for what you are looking to do.
Location: 711 E. Livingston Ave.
HandsOn Central Ohio
This organization gives its volunteer the chance to help prepare meals for the Salvation Army Food Pantry. Serving the hungry is a daunting task, so any help to this organization I am sure would be greatly appreciated. The work goes beyond just serving food as their calendar is chalked full of events for nearly every day of the week. If you can’t make it on a holiday, but still want to contribute your efforts, check out some of the days leading up where they will need help with stocking pantries that eventually become the meals that are served.
Location: 195 N. Grant Ave.
Columbus Shelter Board
For this opportunity you will help serve meals to homeless individuals. Food is such a focal point for the holidays, so this is a great chance to give those less fortunate the chance to enjoy a hot meal. Plus, you know how that walk to and from class gets worse and worse when the temperatures drop? That’s what many of the people you’ll be serving endure on a day-to-day basis, only they don’t have a cozy couch to crash on at the end of the day. It’s truly the least you could do to brighten a few people’s day.
Location: 111 Liberty St., Ste 150
Let’s not forget our furry friends during this season of giving. Animal shelters are always looking for donations. So even if you don’t have a lot of spare time to go out and volunteer you could think about stopping into the nearest shelter and donating some supplies. Many shelters post what they are in the greatest need of so check out their websites to get some ideas. A few local shelters to keep your eye out for include: Colony Cats, Pets without Parents, Franklin County Dog Shelter, and Columbus Humane.
Care packages to soldiers overseas
One more opportunity is to give to those who don’t get to be with their families for the holidays. Giving thanks to those who serve our country is a great way to give back. There are rules to what you can and cannot send, so make sure to read up on those before you fill your care package, but keep in mind the little things when it comes to this. If you know the person overseas, perhaps send them some old photos of you two together. Other popular requests include new towels for the shower, toiletries like baby wipes or foot powder (sweaty feet is a real problem), and some means of entertainment like frisbees or footballs. If you are looking for a local option, get ahold of Operation Buckeye for how you can get involved.