As the saying goes: ‘tis better to give than receive.
During the holidays, more people are looking to give back to the community, but it can be hard to find the right opportunity that lets you focus on a cause that’s close to your heart—and that works with your schedule.
Whether you’re looking to donate items, make a financial contribution or roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, we’ve got you covered. Here are just a few ways you can do good this holiday season.
Many holidays include big meals, often with those special dishes you only get once a year—Grandma’s stuffing, Uncle Joe’s pies. Yet for many, having a hot meal is a struggle each year. Franklin County residents miss 69 million meals, according to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. The Foodbank connects families with needed food via 650 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, after-school programs and senior housing sites, and connecting people with community services to help them become economically sufficient. Volunteers are always needed to help sort and pack food, donate food or donate funds.
Each year, more than 10,000 people in Franklin County experience homelessness, according to Lutheran Social Services (LSS). The organization provides shelter to those experiencing homelessness through its Faith Mission program. You can volunteer to serve meals, connect clients with resources, provide medical care and assist in the donation center.
The YWCA Family Center provides emergency shelter to families while they find permanent housing. You can volunteer to provide and serve dinner at the center, or babysit for parents while they attend training. You can also donate needed items or make a financial contribution.
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Domestic violence a ects women—and men—from all walks of life. According to LSS, one in three women and one in four men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Lutheran Social Services’ CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence provides shelter and other services to those who have experienced domestic violence. You can volunteer to provide and serve meals in the kitchen or sort donations in the donation center.
There’s nothing like the unconditional love of our four-legged friends. Last year, the Franklin County Dog Shelter and Adoption Center cared for more than 9,200 dogs in its shelter. The organization provides care for impounded animals, and adoption and lost dog services. It also educates the community about safe and responsible dog ownership. You can volunteer to provide care, training, exercise and enrichment for dogs. You can also donate funds or needed items.
Find Your Niche
Not sure what you want to do? Besa connects individuals and organizations with a variety of local charities including food pantries, arts and educational organizations, and animal shelters. To date, individuals and organizations have contributed more than $1.9 million in goods and services and nearly 62,000 volunteer hours to nonprofits through a connection from Besa. Not only is this a service available for volunteers, but also organizations looking to get the word out about adding helping hands to upcoming projects and events.
Similarly, LoveCbus was started by a local ministry after it received a networking database that was built out but unused. The team realized that with a little polishing, the database could connect those who want to show Columbus a little love with volunteer opportunities and connect people in need with local services. Once you complete a profile, you’re connected to volunteer opportunities matched to your interests and schedule.