Are you looking for some excellent holiday volunteer opportunities for families? We have some great ideas for you and your family this holiday season!
Holiday Volunteer Opportunities for Families
The holidays are quickly approaching! And it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of gift buying, decorating and traveling that we can send the message to our children that this is what the season is all about.
But what about making this season an opportunity to help our families cultivate a desire to help others?
The holidays are lonely for many people. My family has been in that boat in recent years. My oldest son was born with a chronic lung disease called Pulmonary Hypertension, or high blood pressure in the major artery between the heart and lungs, as well as several other heart and lung conditions.
Because of that, our family has been in the hospital many times, including almost every major holiday. One year, he was admitted for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. You can read more about our experiences here. It was a very difficult time for our family, but volunteers stepped in and made a huge difference for us.
Church groups serve meals and goodies for families staying in the hospital with their children. A Santa Claus delivers stuffed animals to the children in their rooms. And local volunteers organize a Christmas dinner, complete with turkey, mashed potatoes and pie, for the families.
These experiences truly changed my perspective on charity. I now have a special place in my heart for helping children and families during the holidays.
These are some great family-friendly volunteer opportunities to spread some love and make a difference this holiday season.
Support Your Local Food Bank
This one is perfect for small children. Rather than donating random canned items from your pantry, make it an event! Take them to the grocery store to pick out their favorite non-perishable food items. Explain that you are going to give it to other little children who may not have food.
You can find food banks in your area through Feeding America’s Food Bank Locator. If you’re interested in in-person family volunteer opportunities like sorting donations, stocking shelves or even running check out lines, give your local food bank a call. Most will welcome the help!
Send Our Troops Some Love
Many soldiers are apart from their families for the holidays. They would love to hear from you and yours. To send cards through the American Red Cross’s Holidays for Heroes program, contact your local Red Cross for details. Each local office does things a little differently, so it’s important to get in touch. Then, it’s time to get out the construction paper and glitter and let the kids get creative!
You can also ensure that military families and deployed troops are able to enjoy a real Christmas tree by donating to the Christmas Spirit Foundation’s Trees for Troops program. They accept monetary donations, as well as physical tree donations by purchasing a tree through their designated retail locations.
What a fun family outing! Your kiddos could choose a tree for your family and another for a military family.
Encourage Families with Sick Children
Many families, like ours, are spending this holiday season in the hospital with their children. It can be such a sad and scary time and seeing your smiling face could really make a difference. To find out how to help in your area, contact your local chapter of Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Volunteers are needed to provide and serve meals, visit with families, plan crafts and activities for children and much more. You can also donate items like toys, food, personal care items, gift cards and more.
And be sure to get the kids involved!
They can help pick out and package the items while you explain that your family is helping other families who are hurting. For a family volunteer outing, you can participate in Macy’s Believe program by helping your kids write and decorate a letter to Santa and drop them off at any Macy’s store, and the store will donate $1 per letter to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Give to Children in Need
Many children will spend their holidays apart from their parents or in situations where it is unlikely that they will receive gifts. The good news is that there are so many ways to help! You and your family can shop for gifts for these children and take them to a Toys for Tots drop-off location.
If you would like to help children around the world, you can pray for a child and pack a shoebox with gifts for Operation Christmas Child. Other children are experiencing shame and abandonment because their mom or dad is in prison. You can help by registering your church and organizing an Angel Tree drive.
Visit the Elderly and Those with Disabilities
Often the elderly and those with disabilities are especially lonely this time a year, so a visit from your family could really add some warmth to their holiday season. Your family can volunteer through Meals on Wheels to deliver hot meals to those in need in your community.
Through a quick search online, you can also find local nursing homes and care facilities where you can bring your family to visit or even participate in their holiday programs. Receiving a card or homemade gift from you and your children would really put a smile on their faces.
Comfort Those without Homes
Unfortunately, the fall and winter months are particularly hard for those experiencing homelessness. You can visit the National Coalition for the Homeless to find local opportunities to volunteer. You and your family can also create “homeless survival kits”. These kits should include items like cups, pots, pans, toiletries and personal care items, blankets, coats, hats, scarves, mittens, and socks.
You can distribute them through local outreach groups or keep them in your car to hand out when you see a person in need.
Be sure and let us know how it goes! We would love to hear how you volunteered with your family.
LOOKING FOR MORE HOLIDAY TIPS:
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Hi, I’m Erin, the mama behind Lullaby Lark. My crew includes my husband, Ben, two sons, Griffin and Caspian, and two fur babies, Ollie and Izzy. Griffin was born with pulmonary hypertension, a chronic lung disease, and we have spent the past three years trusting Jesus while growing together. My prayer is that my writing brings hope and healing, from my mama heart to yours.