The holidays are a time of joy when families gather together and share in memories new and old. Gifts are given, meals are shared, and memories are made with those who mean the most to us. While the holiday season is joyful for many of us, some are not as lucky. Cold nights spent on the streets of this city without a warm meal or the comfort of family is the fate of many people not only during the holidays but every day. Giving back to those who are less fortunate is something we should strive to do all the time, but the holidays are a particularly special time to give back.
Your office volunteer program can make the holidays a better time for those who would otherwise have nothing. Although volunteer opportunities are abundant throughout the year, the holiday season offers more than your usual go-to, perennial sources of volunteer work, i.e. picking up trashing alongside the road or walking dogs at the local animal shelter.
Doing holiday-oriented volunteer work is greatly appreciated by those who organize these seasonal programs – as well as those who benefit from them. Whether you stick with your office’s usual volunteer opportunities through the holidays or opt for something more seasonal, the work you do will be appreciated by more people than you can imagine. Finding the right volunteer opportunity that suits your team isn’t difficult when you know where to look.
Holiday Volunteer Opportunities in Baltimore
The holidays seem to approach sooner each and every year, and preparing for them can become a bit stressful. Shopping, cooking, and decorating are your holiday traditions; being thankful for all that you have should be a part of your traditions too. Volunteering is an excellent way to give back, lift others’ spirits, and get valuable perspective.
Cold weather can be downright brutal. Organize an in-office coat drive for those who may be on the streets during the cold winter months. Charm City Warmth Drive collects gently used winter coats, scarves, hats, and gloves and donates them to local shelters. Items that we take for granted can go further that you could ever imagine.
Many of us do not know what it’s like to be hungry and go without meals. For some, this is a part of daily life. Schedule a time to volunteer at a local Baltimore soup kitchen or food pantry, like Our Daily Bread, Paul’s Place, or the Maryland Food Bank. You could also organize a food drive in the office and encourage employees to donate dry goods, canned goods, and other non-perishables. Either way, it ensures that those who are food insecure will have a warm meal during the holidays and throughout the rest of winter.
Another generous, heartfelt way to make a difference is to organize a toy drive. Collect and donate toys to Toys for Tots or Santa Claus Anonymous. Your gifts will light up the faces of children who may not have a Christmas otherwise, and you’ll be reminded of how lucky you are to be able to give Christmas gifts to your loved ones.
This holiday season, your team has the opportunity to make a difference. You’ll be serving those who benefit from local programs and services in more ways than you could imagine, and it’s also a great way to promote team-building. And while the holidays are a great time to volunteer, don’t forget that it’s not the only time to volunteer. Regular volunteer work should become a part of your office’s routine.
*Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in 2014. However, it has since been updated to reflect the most current information.
photo credit: Official U.S. Navy Page