The holidays are a great time to donate to local charities, and charities volunteer at non-profit organizations. Volunteering benefits everyone involved and contributes to the holiday spirit. But when the decorations come down and the holidays are over, charities and nonprofits struggle; they lose a number of volunteers and donations after New Year’s Day. It’s important to help out these charities because they do great work for their communities. Volunteering is a perfect example of a bucket-filling activity. When you volunteer, your bucket gets filled, and you fill so many other buckets! There are a lot of great opportunities to give back to your community. Take a look at some examples below!

Food Banks or Soup Kitchens
Check out the food banks and soup kitchens near you. They are great places to volunteer. People need food year-round, so they heavily rely on volunteers. Soup kitchens need people to serve food or clean dishes, and food banks need help packing boxes. If you aren’t able to volunteer your time, look into donating food items. Food banks usually accept donations of non-perishable items: peanut butter, soup cans, cereals, pasta, etc. If food banks or soup kitchens don’t need food, you could contribute a monetary donation. You should reach out to your food bank and soup kitchen to see what they need!

Donate to a Shelter
You can go through shelves and closets in your house to look for items to donate. Rather than throwing old clothes away, you can donate to your local homeless shelter. Or you could donate old children’s books to a women’s and children’s shelter. You’ll need to contact the shelters to see which items they will accept.

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School Events
Maybe your child has an event at school that needs chaperones or volunteers! Schools often have events like these year-round and need all the help they can get. They may have events like movie nights, ice cream socials, or book fairs! It’s a great way to get involved with your child’s school and to volunteer your time.

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Make Blankets for Animal Shelters
Another way to volunteer is to make fleece-tie blankets for animal shelters. The shelters use these fleece blankets for pet bedding. It keeps the animals warm during the winter and provides them with the comfort they need. Making the blankets can be a fun activity to do with friends or family. Check with your local animal shelters to see if they have preferred sizes or blanket patterns.

Make cards
It can be lonely in the hospital or an elderly home. Consider making homemade cards for the elderly. You can write a nice message and decorate cards with drawings or stickers. They would really appreciate the gesture, and it would make their rooms look brighter.

There are so many different charities and nonprofits near you that need your help! Take a look at their websites and see how you can help, especially after the holidays come to a close.

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Natalie Pritula is an upcoming junior at Oakland University studying political science and public relations. In her free time, she likes to listen to music, go on bike rides, and bake sweet treats!