In the midst of holiday rituals like trimming the tree, shopping for gifts and checking out festive light displays, it can be all too easy this season to forget about those less fortunate. But striving to make a difference can not only be an impactful lesson for children, it can bring families closer together. Here are some organizations who welcome family volunteers (note that some roles have a minimum age requirements and are better suited for families with teenagers).
The organization’s Caring at the Holidays page has opportunities about DIY projects, the Secret Santa Program and the Bring a Neighbor Holiday Joy programs, all of which are suitable for families.
The community organization has compiled a Holiday Ten Weeks of Service Guide filled with timely suggestions for holiday volunteering and giving. In addition, their nonprofit partners maintain an updated list of their holiday needs on their website.
There are several opportunities for families through this nonprofit, which gives people the essential building blocks for financial, emotional and physical well-being. Shelter Meals Providers (ages 16 and up, great for families up to 6 to 8 people) bring home-cooked meals to the homeless or provide, prepare and serve meals at the Family Shelter on weekends and holidays (groups can choose to prepare the meals offsite and deliver, too). Families can assemble individual toiletry kits for men, women, children and babies at the SERVE Shelter, or make DIY masks for COVID-19 protection.
ACTS (Action in Community Through Service) needs volunteers in several capacities. For its Adopt-a-Day program, volunteers provide breakfast, lunch or dinner and after-school snacks for children staying at the Beverly Warren Shelter; the meals are dropped off at their facility and the staff will serve them. At the Hunger Prevention Center in Dumfries, volunteers receive donations, stock and replenish shelves, work the floor, pack food bags, and distribute groceries; those aged 15 and below must be accompanied by an adult and the center can accommodate groups of up to eight volunteers. The Thrift Store Donation center needs help sorting through donated clothing and preparing them for sale; volunteers age 15 and below must be accompanied by an adult and the center can accommodate groups of up to seven volunteers.
Volunteers are needed to deliver food to homebound clients, shelters and food pantries; those driving must be at least 16 years of age and hold a valid driver’s license. Home food deliveries are no contact and follow social distancing guidelines. PWFR is an app-based program enabling volunteers to pick up viable, close to expiration food from supermarkets, restaurants, food pantries, etc., and then deliver it to a program that can immediately use the food. Just an hour of your time will do much to provide relief for food insecure families in our community!
Volunteers are needed to build food boxes in the warehouse in Manassas during the hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center can accommodate individual volunteers as well as groups; those aged 15 and below must be accompanied by an adult.
The organization is holding a Virtual Food Drive through Nov. 30 to benefit Manassas Mobile Home Park, whose residents have been severely impacted by the loss of jobs and income due to COVID-19. Donations will help to replenish their community food pantry.
House of Mercy is a nonprofit food pantry, donation center and thrift store located in Manassas that runs primarily on hard-working volunteers during its hours of Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can apply on their website; applicants are subject to a background check and minors (who must be at least 12 years of age) must also fill out a minor agreement.
Build a Passion Kit themed around a hobby or interest you are passionate about to be distributed to a child in your community, which is a project collaboration with PASTA (Peers and Students Taking Action). Tree of Life is looking for help filling their food pantry. And tutors aged 16 years and older are needed at Embark Center for Self-Directed Education.
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