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Where To Volunteer on Thanksgiving and Christmas

Valley Organizations Need Your Help On Holidays and All Year Long

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Where To Volunteer on Thanksgiving and Christmas
© Melissa Axman, The Salvation Army, Southwest Division

Organizations all over the Phoenix area depend on volunteers to help them provide the services for our communities. There are health organizations, educational organizations, arts organizations, recreational groups, and, of course, those that serve the less fortunate members of our communities.

Many of us may not be able to volunteer during our busy work-and-family lives, and our monetary donations are just as critical to those organizations whose budgets are always too tight. During the holidays, though, I am often contacted by people who want to actually volunteer to help.

Phoenix Needs Volunteers During the Holidays

Are you here all by yourself on Thanksgiving and Christmas? Does your family want to do something worthwhile during their time off from work and school? Do the people at work want to get together and so something nice for others? Here are some places that can always use your time and effort during the holidays and all year long. Note: If you intend to bring children, make sure you check with them first.

Salvation Army
"Each Holiday Season, The Salvation Army provides thousands of meals for needy families across the Valley of the Sun. With the help of hundreds of volunteers, traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners are served to all who attend and are home-delivered to home-bound individuals." Volunteers are always needed to set up, serve, clean and usher at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and to deliver holiday meals to families and shut-ins. Children under 18 may volunteer if accompanied by an adult.

St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance
"Raising awareness of the realities of hunger and poverty, [volunteers] are essential to St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance operations, assisting in the sorting, boxing and bagging of food, providing administrative and fundraising support and acting as advocates to bring about positive change." This food bank is closed on Christmas Day, but their biggest need for volunteers is immediately after the holiday and in January, when all the food collected from the food drives must be sorted and packed.

United Food Bank Mesa
"Established in 1983, United Food Bank began operation in Mesa, Arizona. Our mission is to provide access to nutritious food for those who are without, serving as a community bridge between those who want to help and those who are in need. United Food Bank defines its work as 'Neighbors Helping Neighbors.'" United Food Bank has numerous volunteer opportunities, and is always looking for volunteers or volunteer groups, either on a one time basis or on a regular basis.

St. Vincent de Paul
"Each year, St. Vincent de Paul moves over 10 million pounds of food through its food bank, helps thousands of homeless people get off the street, and prepares over 1 million hot meals for the hungry." On holidays, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul uses many short term volunteers to prepare meals, serve meals, and work on clean up after the meals.

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More volunteer opportunities may be listed at the HandsOn Greater Phoenix (formerly known as Make a Difference). You can search for volunteer opportunities by region, date or community impact. Youth volunteer opportunities are also included.

There are other ways in which you can help. If you are fortunate enough to be able to provide monetary assistance, you can always adopt a needy family, provide toys for children who otherwise might not receive any, or organize a food drive and donate non-perishable items or turkeys. Any of the above organizations can point you in the right direction for those activities.

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