Volunteering as a family is an excellent way to spend time together, benefit the community and teach kids about the importance of giving to others and lending a hand. As we approach Thanksgiving and are mindful of our own blessings, this time of year is also the perfect time to teach our kids about the joy and impact of serving our community. Check out these socially-distant opportunities to volunteer with kids in the metro this season.
- Host a food drive for families in need. Filling Tummies provides food, formula and basic necessities to kids, families and seniors living in food deserts. The organization’s mobile food pantry bus typically visits schools for students to enjoy shopping for their own fresh produce and packaged snacks, but during COVID-19 the organization has been offering drive-through food distribution for community members. Families can organize their own food drive to collect items to donate to Filling Tummies or volunteer to package donations or assist with food giveaways. Visit fillingtummies.com for more information.
- 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. Cookie’s Thanksgiving, a program of Other Options, Inc., has in years past fed more than 1,000 in-need individuals affected by HIV and AIDS on Thanksgiving Day. Families can help by signing up to make deliveries to homebound individuals (with PPE provided), provide Thanksgiving menu items (with a list available at otheroptionsokc.org/events) or donate just $7 to provide a full Thanksgiving meal. The organization’s food pantry serves more than 1,200 adults and children every month. Learn more at otheroptionsokc.org.
- Support teachers and students. Restore OKC is a relationship-based, community-driven redevelopment organization focused in Northeast Oklahoma City. Community members can support teachers through serving on classroom care teams, help provide and pack snacks and food for students over the weekends and holidays or assist in maintaining, weeding and harvesting in school gardens. Learn more at restoreokc.org.
- Wrap a family in warmth. Each holiday season, Upward Transitions creates a Calendar of Sharing to invite families and individuals to collect a different item each day for the clients the organization serves who are facing homelessness. Items requested include things like socks, gloves, hand warmers and travel-size toiletries. Families can grab a box, each day put the designated item in the box and then supply everything collected to the organization to distribute through the winter months. Find out more at upwardtransitions.org.
- Make a meal (or grab take out!) for at-risk youth. Sisu is a low-barrier, affirming shelter for at-risk youth to receive a place to stay, clothing, access to resources and case management and warm meals. The organization relies on community members to provide meals for the youth. Meals can be homemade or take out and can be dropped off at the shelter socially-distant style to limit contact. Find out more about signing up on Sisu’s meal train at sisuyouth.org/donate.
Looking for even more socially-distant volunteer opportunities to give back? Here is our extensive guide to volunteer opportunities available for families in the Oklahoma City metro.