It’s better to give than to receive: that familiar saying is repeated often and with good intention, especially during the holidays, but how many of us actually take that adage to heart? No matter which holiday you celebrate, this time of year is often a virtual shopping frenzy, more materialistic than meaningful, and while everyone likes to receive presents, perhaps you’re hoping to dig a little deeper this year and add some extra significance to the season. If that’s the case, volunteering in the community might be the best gift you don’t have to buy.
There are so many excellent reasons to consider volunteer opportunities, either for you alone, or with friends, your kids, or your entire family. Teaching children the importance of giving time instead of money is an intensely rewarding experience that will last a lifetime.
Daily life is busier than ever now, with full-time jobs, school and extracurricular activities, numerous family responsibilities and stresses of all kinds. One good thing about volunteering during the holidays is that you may have a little extra time on your hands. If your kids are out of school and looking for something to do, volunteering is a great way to spend some quality time together, doing something valuable and rewarding.
If your kids are too young to volunteer, why not suggest that they sort through clothes and toys they no longer use or play with, and then donate them to local shelters and charity drives. Food banks are always in dire need of donations during the holiday season, and it’s something kids are happy to get involved in. Practising simple and random acts of kindness such as shoveling for neighbours or making kits for the homeless can make a huge impact.
If you are interested in volunteering in the community, there are a few steps you need to take first. Do a search online to see what’s available in the community. Once you find something you’re interested in, you may have to fill out an application form, then possibly participate in an interview. Many volunteer positions require you to fill out a registration form, provide character references and be willing to undergo a police check, followed by orientation and training. But, the most important part of volunteering is enjoying the experience for what it brings to others, and what it brings to you and your family.
And don’t forget, volunteers are needed year-round. Once the holidays are over, make volunteering a year-round habit for you and your family. It’s truly a gift that keeps on giving.
Where to Volunteer in Halton Region this Holiday Season?
There are so many opportunities to give back, but here are a few examples to peak your interest:
Volunteers are needed to assist with the Christmas Toy Depot, setting up pre-assembled shelving and organizing donated toys. Begins Monday December 11 and ends Friday December 15.
Times are flexible. Contact: Shannon_Robinson@can.salvationarmy.org
Big Brothers and Sisters of Halton
Volunteers help Ikea Burlington customers select their Christmas tree and also sell tree bags to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Responsibilities include greeting Tree Lot customers, helping customers pick out Christmas trees and transporting trees to vehicles, tree bag sales and money handling, tree lot tidy up, including fallen/blown over trees and sweeping needles. Must be 16 years or older, or accompanied by an adult.
Enthusiastic volunteers needed to stand at Christmas Kettle locations across Oakville. Shifts are three hours, so donate as much or as little time as you like. Individuals, Students, Families ALL welcome!
November 18 to December 23, 14 year(s) and up.
Contact: Emma Wong at 647-534-0611, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Kerr Street Mission
Help bring comfort and joy to an Oakville family in need this Christmas, with a goal to provide Christmas to more than 1,000 individuals in the area. The “Christmas Wonders and Beyond” program ensures families in need can celebrate Christmas. Your financial gift not only offers help for the present, but also hope for tomorrow. We offer gift and food cards to families, giving them the chance to choose the gifts and food that their families will enjoy.
Contact: Agnes Stassen at 905-845-7485 or email@example.com
by Allison Dempsey