Beyond the soup kitchen: volunteer opportunities

If your local soup kitchen overflows with volunteers this time of year, why not try these alternatives?

The holidays are a time of giving, and volunteering in a soup kitchen is a popular activity. But if your local soup kitchen overflows with volunteers this time of year, why not try these alternatives? I’ve scoured the local volunteering sites to come up with some offbeat alternatives to the traditional bell-ringing and soup-ladling. Please chime in with your own ideas in the comments, too! The more opportunities the merrier.

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Help residents of The Virginia Home with writing and addressing holiday cards and wrapping gifts. I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite holiday activities is gathering together all the gifts I’ve squirreled away over the course of the year in order to wrap everything up. This is the perfect volunteer opportunity for someone who enjoys perfecting presentations and displays. Spots are limited, so sign up now!

Speaking of holiday cards, if you love crafting, then you might want to try this DIY-from-home activity. SupportOne, Heart Havens, and Richmond Residential are looking for people to donate batches of homemade holiday cards that can be given to residents with intellectual disabilities. So go find that tube of sparkly glitter glue and that box of stickers you or your kids have been saving and get crafting for a good cause.

Start 2015 with a clean slate….and clean trails! Volunteer to clean James River Park trails on Saturday January 10th. By this time, your NYE hangover should be gone, but if it’s not then some fresh air might do you some good while doing good for others in the process. Win-win!

Get ahead of your New Year’s resolution to do more by signing up now to volunteer for the February RVA Polar Plunge Winter Fest Special Olympics. The Polar Plunge is a fundraising event that involves a very chilly plunge into icy water, “and it plays a huge part ensuring that Virginians with intellectual disabilities continue to have the opportunity to shine.” All you jolly [CRAZY] winter lovers, this one’s for you! Yes, this is in February, but don’t let that squelch your holiday zeal for volunteering. If anything, this may be the best thing to do, because you’ll be volunteering to help when a lot of other people may be burned out from the holidays and pass.

Have an elderly neighbor? As the weather gets colder, it may be harder and more dangerous for the older people in your life to get out, especially when it comes to walking the dog. Icy sidewalks are slippery fall hazards, and the cold can be bitter and dangerous if one is in poor health. Why not volunteer to walk your favorite elderly person’s pet for the winter? It’s a bigger commitment than shoveling a sidewalk (which you should do too, preferably without being asked!) but it’s a gesture that can have a big impact on someone’s life. And a furry little guy’s too. Beyond the Soup Kitchen: Volunteer Opportunities

Photo by: alisonleighlilly

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Hayley DeRoche

Hayley DeRoche is a librarian with a penchant for cardigans and corduroys. Luckily, her professional life revolves more around technology & information than fashion.

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