10 Great Places to Volunteer This Season - MetroFamily Magazine
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10 Great Places to Volunteer This Season

Reading Time: 6 minutes 

There’s no better time to give back to your community than the holiday season. Teach your kids the value of giving back to others by volunteering as a family at one of these local non-profits.

Here are additional organizations that you and your family can serve regardless of the time of year.

Opportunities divided by age

Toddlers & Preschoolers

Spread the love of reading through Booksgiving! In partnership with Little Read Wagon, every Friday in November families can hide new or gently used books in area parks for other children to find. Books are packaged with a note explaining the book is free to the finder. Get more information at littlereadwagonok.com.

While not as many organized opportunities exist for this age group, there are plenty of developmentally appropriate ways to introduce the idea of volunteerism. Plan a day to pick up trash at your favorite local park (and invite friends and neighbors to join you), gather gently used toys to deliver to Infant Crisis Services or host a drive to collect items for a nonprofit with a mission that resonates with your little one (collect pet food donations for Pet Food Pantry of Oklahoma or items for the individuals served by Homeless Alliance).

Elementary Kids

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma offers high-energy, high-reward opportunities for kids ages 8 and up to sort and pack food for those in need in our community. Join a shift as a family, or sign up with a group. Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Find opportunities for families, individuals and groups at regionalfoodbank.org/volunteer.

Every second Saturday, February through November, families can join Restore OKC for a community workday. Projects include gardening, basic home repairs and making deliveries to seniors. Children ages 5 and up are welcome to participate. Shifts are from 8:30 a.m. to noon and include breakfast and lunch. Find out more at volunteer.restoreokc.org.

Tweens & Teens

Prepare a hot meal as a family for the youth served by Sisu Youth Services. Sisu is a low-barrier, identity-affirming space in Oklahoma City where unhoused, transition-age youth can access shelter and support. Volunteers prepare and drop off meals for 30 to 35 youth once daily and twice daily on Saturdays. Email volunteer@sisuyouth.org to sign up.

Make Thanksgiving memorable for the homebound. Other Options, Inc. provides food, resources, services and education to at-risk individuals and families affected by HIV and AIDS. Kids ages 10 and up (with direct adult supervision) can help prepare Cookie’s Thanksgiving meals during 2-hour shifts in November. Families can also sign up to deliver meals on Thanksgiving Day and/or help by donating frozen turkeys. Learn more at otheroptionsokc.org.

Kids have a unique opportunity to work directly with the patrons they are serving at Skyline’s Food Resource Center. Volunteers welcome patrons, assist them in shopping and bag their groceries. This interactive process helps dispel myths about individuals who need help in our community. Kids under 10 can volunteer with direct adult supervision, ages 10 to 13 should have one adult volunteer with them and ages 14 and up can volunteer without an adult leader. Find out more at okcskyline.org/volunteer.

 

More opportunities for the whole family

1. Bless a child with special needs at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital

6800 N.W. 39th Expressway, Bethany

405-789-6711

The nonprofit pediatric hospital specializes in 24-hour complex care and pediatric rehabilitation. Be a holiday helper and collect items the hospital uses the most, like baby shampoo or the 5,000 diapers used a week as well as books, music and toys to support patients in special education and therapy sessions. Families can also adopt a patient this holiday season and shop from a wish list of individualized needs like therapeutic items, bedside entertainment and gifts.

2. Help Oklahoma teachers by volunteering in Feed the Children’s Teacher Store

333 N. Meridian Ave.

1-800-627-4556

Feed the Children’s Teacher Store provides books and supplies to teachers in Title 1 schools across our state free of charge. Your family can help sort and stock shelves with essentials teachers need for their classroom or spend time in the warehouse filling boxes with food and essentials that will be delivered to families in need and backpacks full of school supplies for homeless kids across the U.S. There are volunteer shifts available mostly Monday through Friday but some evening and Saturday opportunities are available.

3. Serve those in need at City Rescue Mission

800 W. California Ave.

405-232-2709

Families can serve during the Mission’s annual Christmas Banquet on Christmas Day, help in the toy store where homeless parents shop for Christmas presents for their kids, work in the Food Resource Center or organize a neighborhood collection for food, toys, gifts or year-round needs like new socks and underwear. Register online to browse opportunities and sign up to help at www.cityrescue.org.

4. Share in the giving spirit through the Center for Children and Families’ Holiday Wishes program

210 S. Cockrel, Norman

405-364-1420

Through the Holiday Wishes program, the Center for Children and Families provides the hundreds of children they serve with gifts and families in need with important essentials this holiday season. Your family can adopt a child’s wish list and shop for gifts, donate $25 gift cards that will be used to purchase kids’ clothing or conduct a drive for toys, books, gift cards and warm weather essentials that will help bring joy to those having difficulties this holiday season.

5. Share the joys of the season with families in need by helping Christmas Connection.

825 NW 24th St, Moore

405-634-2006

Christmas Connection is stocked with clothing, household items and basic necessities for Oklahoma children and families in need. Come Christmas, the shelves of the facility will be brimming with even more blessings. Laid out like a department store, families in need can enjoy a dignified shopping experience at no cost. But, they need the community’s help to pull it all off. Volunteers are needed to sort donations, stock shelves, hang coats and clothing and complete variety of other tasks in order to have it all ready in time. Families with kids as young as 13 can help with the holiday preparations and kids 15 and older can help during the Christmas shopping days.

6. Reach out to children around the world with Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child

For 23 years, Samaritan’s Purse has been on a mission they call Operation Christmas Child. Local families from across the nation fill shoeboxes with gifts, hygiene items, school supplies and a personal note and photo. Samaritan’s Purse then uses the treasures and personal letters inside to communicate with millions of children in more than 150 countries that someone cares for them. During National Collection Week, your family can assemble one or more boxes and drop them off at one of the local drop-off locations that can be found out www.samaritanspurse.org.

7. Help bring the holiday spirit to Oklahoma’s foster children with Citizens Caring for Children’s Joy 4 Kids Event

730 W. Wilshire Creek Blvd., Ste. 112

405-753-4099

Just before Christmas arrives Santa’s Helpers are hard at work preparing many wonderful surprises and your family can be one of those helpers. Through the Joy 4 Kids programs, thousands of gifts are collected for Oklahoma foster kids and volunteers are needed to help at the gift drop-off location. Families can help collect, sort and organize the donations to ensure the gifts make it to their important final destination by Christmas morning. Kids grade 9 and up can help without a parent present and younger kids are welcome on a case-by-case basis.

Families also are invited to help in the Resources Center. Open year-round, foster kids can shop for essentials like clothing, shoes, pajamas, coats and books. Volunteers are needed to sort clothing, help with inventory, stock shelves and assemble kits and duffel bags and more.

8. Serve the community with The Salvation Army

1001 N. Pennsylvania Ave.

405-246-1101

November and December are very active months for The Salvation Army which means there are plenty of opportunities for volunteers to get involved. Families can help with the Thanksgiving Day festivities at The Salvation Army Chesapeake Energy Center of Hope or donate a turkey for the community meal. Sign up to participate as a bell ringer, adopt an angel from an Angel Tree or organize a toy drive at your local school, business or church group.

Other volunteer opportunities include: providing, preparing and serving an evening meal in The Salvation Army Red Shield Diner, assisting clients with their groceries in the Client Choice Food pantry and spending time with seniors at one of their five senior centers. For more information regarding these volunteer opportunities, please contact Liz Banks at 246-1107 or liz.banks@uss.salvationarmy.org.

9. A Very Giving Christmas with Sunbeam Family Services and Catholic Charities

1232 NW Classen Blvd.

405-609-1755

Donors and volunteers can help create a festive, warm shopping experience for 450 families in the metro. The community is invited to help stock the shop by purchasing new gift items for children of all ages and their parents. Shop and deliver the unwrapped items with tags attached to one of the drop-off locations by Dec. 6. Volunteers can help decorate the store, sort donations, greet and guide the shoppers through St. Nick’s Shoppe and assist with gift-wrapping. Visit averygivingchristmas.org for a list of donation drop-off locations or call 609-1755 for more information about volunteering.

 

Again, find a full list of volunteer opportunities at https://www.metrofamilymagazine.com/family-volunteer-opportunities/.

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