Make a Difference
By Kamilah Tadlock
Volunteering during the holidays is a great way to show the community and your loved ones how much you care. Every year, there are hundreds of people in Maryland who are not able to give presents to their children on Hanukkah or cook a turkey for a Christmas meal. This is not limited to the homeless population. It affects many ordinary working families in different ways. Volunteering and giving back to the community is a way to help families to have the opportunity to not worry and enjoy the holidays.
One way to provide these opportunities is to volunteer at your local church or shelter that offer holiday meals or join a local drive to collect presents for children. These activities are not confined to the holidays. Helping throughout the Winter season can make a huge difference in the lives of thousands of people.
If your schedule do not allow time for volunteering during the holidays, make a donation to fulfill this need. This also makes for a great holiday gift. You can make a charitable donation in the name of your loved ones or friends.
If you don’t have disposable income available to donate money or buy food and toys, there are options for alternative holiday volunteering like “no-cost gifts.” One would be to provide holiday entertainment to residents in assisted living homes, group homes or to people who are not able to leave their own homes due to illness. Another possibility is to create a clothing, food, or toy drive that you will donate to the less fortunate. The possibilities are endless.
On the bright side, holidays are the most popular time to volunteer every year. On the downside, people may feel volunteering isn’t needed the rest of the year. Truth is, the needs continue and organizations operate year-round and will continue to need volunteers throughtou the year. So, from the Volunteer Center, we wish you happy holidays and we wish that you jumpstart your volunteering campaign this Winter season and make it your New Year’s resolution to continue giving back to the community yhear-round. A holiday volunteer guide will be posted on www.VolunteerAnneArundel.org/Resources
Sarah’s House www.catholiccharities-md.org/sarahs-house The mission at Sarah’s House is to provide safe shelter, daily meals and personal, as well as professional, casework support for those in need. Sarah’s House is one of three shelters in the United States supported by the U.S. Army.
Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic www.midatlantic.wish.org This nonprofit grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. The foundation serves children who live in Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia.
Happy Helpers for the Homeless http://happyhelpersforthehomeless.webs.com/Happy Helpers is a nonprofit organization that provides food, toiletries and clothing to the hungry and homeless. Volunteers, as young as 6 are needed Saturdays and Sundays to assist in distributing items and bag lunches in downtown Baltimore and Glen Burnie.
Arundel Medical Center www.aahs.org/volunteer/ The AAMC Auxiliary was established as a volunteer group to serve the hospital. Auxiliary volunteers are an integral part of AAMC’s mission of providing patient-centered, high-quality health care services to our community.
Holiday Sharing Program http://dhr.maryland.gov/county/ann/pdf/holid.pdf
This Anne Arundel Department of Social Services program matches donors with recipients, making it possible to serve families and seniors during the holidays each year. Become a donor for seniors and families in need by making a cash donation which is used to purchase food, clothing and toy gift certificates, sorting toys or by matching donors with needy families and seniors. Donors can contribute Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners, plus toys or clothing. You deliver them in person.
Anne Arundel County Food Bank http://aafoodbank.org/ Founded in 1988 its mission is to fight hunger by assuring that all county citizens in need have access to food and other necessities. Plan your own food drive. Especially needed are volunteers with pick-up trucks to get and deliver food donations during the day.
Light House Shelter www.annapolislighthouse.org/ Both a facility and a program, Light House is located in a new 24,000-square-foot facility in Annapolis, providing emergency shelter and transitional housing for individuals and families who are homeless as well as permanent supportive housing for women. Volunteers 18 and over are needed for a variety of duties.
H.O.P.E., Inc. www.hopeforall.us/ This is an all-volunteer nonprofit Christian ministry serving families in need in northern Anne Arundel County and Baltimore and also the Appalachian region by collecting and distributing donated school supplies, household goods, furniture and clothing.