Helping During the Holidays

With the COVID-19 pandemic gearing into its second year, those around Central Florida are still feeling its effects. From those who work in the service industry to the entertainment industry, job security has been a heavy worry on their shoulders.

The United Way of Florida distinguishes those who are within the Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed threshold (ALICE) as “households with income above the official Federal Poverty Level but below a newly defined basic survival income level.”

According to a 2020 study conducted by the United Way of Florida, 6,210 people were living below the ALICE threshold. Of those, 56% of them felt like they would not be able to provide enough food for their families.

There are many organizations that are local to the Orlando area that are looking for volunteers to help with a variety of outreach programs. As the holidays are approaching, you may be looking for a way to incorporate giving back to your community to bonding with your family.

Hands On Orlando Director of Programs and Development Kyle Trager says, “Our area has unique challenges and the pandemic showed that all of us can pitch in to help lift our neighbors in difficult times.”

The Hands On Orlando group helps match people with volunteer opportunities that will be a good fit. They have volunteer opportunities for families with children of all ages and some opportunities for teens to volunteer on their own. 

“They can sign up for family friendly volunteer projects and invite their teens to join them. They can also help their teens find opportunities. We recommend parents ask their teens what they care about in the community. A lot of teens like to help animal shelters, participate in environmental activities and serve food in shelters for people experiencing homelessness,” Trager says.

As we go through our day-to-day lives, Trager says people can get swept up in their own bubble. He says that volunteering in your community can help broaden your view and help you get to know more people around you.

“Serving others, learning about the difficulties people face and meeting other like-minded people on volunteer projects helps provide a more realistic view of the world we live in. Volunteering also shows that we all can play a part in helping to solve these complex problems in our community,” Trager says.

Here is a list of volunteer opportunities and organizations for you to check out:

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Written by Kendall Beebe

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