The calls for donations and volunteering become especially pronounced during the holiday season, when the needs of the community seem especially important during a time of celebration. Looking for ways to participate in local food banks and donation centers? Consider a few things first.
Do Some Research
So before you can start collecting goods or throwing on the apron, take some time to do some basic research. Depending on where you live, you might be able to volunteer at national volunteer organizations such as Habitat for Humanity or the Ronald McDonald House. Don’t just focus on the big organizations, though; do some investigations at local churches, food pantries, and other local organizations to see if they could use some volunteer help.
Feeding America, the U.S. hunger relief organization, recommends getting in contact with a local food bank and finding the best time you and your family can volunteer. This allows everyone to schedule when they want to work with the food bank, which can help since finding time constantly presents a challenge during the holiday season.
Keep in mind that volunteering at a food bank does not necessarily mean you’ll be regulated to loading pallets of food or working in a kitchen. The food bank might require volunteers to distribute food at the volunteer location, or possibly deliver goods to a family’s home. Or it could mean directing traffic at the food bank or sweeping up the loading dock.
Also, the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t mean the food bank can’t use virtual aid. Virtual volunteer jobs might include fundraising, working on a project, or just contacting donors to say thank you.
The term “donation” can cover a lot of ground, especially during the holiday season. A donation could be something small, like a tube of toothpaste or a travel bar of soap. It could also be something unexpected, like a pallet of lumber to be used to make personal transportation devices. It could mean the donation of a holiday meal, or a collection of canned goods.
So the first thing to do after finding a volunteer organization and scheduling your time would be to find out what the organization needs. Then, make a plan for the best way to collect and deliver the items.
The pandemic will present some challenge in collecting donations. While going door-to-door to collect canned food might have been a simple task a year ago, even people eager to help might be hesitant to meet you at the door. In that case, find a way to make contact with potential donors and set up a collection time. That way, the donors can prepare the items for donation and have them ready for pickup at a designated spot and time, minimizing the potential spread of the virus and allowing both parties to participate for a worthy cause.
Probably the simplest task one can perform, be it for the holidays or any other time during the year. Hold the door, give up a parking space, rake a neighbor’s leaves; anything that can be helpful, no matter how small.