The holidays are about more than giving gifts to your loved ones. It is also a time to be thankful for what you have and give back to those in your community who are in need.
Some prefer to adopt a family, providing Christmas gifts and holiday meals to families in need, while others look for opportunities to serve meals to the homeless. These opportunities tend to fill up quickly as the holidays approach. You can also volunteer at these local nonprofits, which have volunteer opportunities throughout the year.
Orlando VA Medical Center
There are many ways you can give back to our nation’s veterans at the Orlando VA Medical Center. Volunteers can work at the information desk, be a patient escort, drive the shuttle cart or provide recreation or administrative support. Allow for plenty of time for the onboarding process, as it requires background checks and other testing. The center asks volunteers to make a six-month commitment of a four-hour shift once per week.
Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando
Give back to our furry friends by working with the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando to exercise, socialize and provide enrichment for the facility’s dogs and cats or by donating your time at one of the organization’s special events. There are also opportunities for your gift to last throughout the holiday season and beyond by fostering underage puppies and kittens before they are taken to their forever home.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida
Gather a group of family members or friends to provide lunch or dinner for families staying at one of the three Orlando houses. The kitchens at the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, Florida Hospital for Children or Nemours Children’s Hospital houses vary in size so check the website in advance for needs. Volunteers are responsible for providing the ingredients for a healthy meal, preparing and serving it, and cleaning up.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
There are plenty of ways you can volunteer at Second Harvest, whether you’re looking for individual or group opportunities. From sorting donations in the warehouse to putting together meals for a variety of Head Start programs in the production kitchen (age 16+ only), you can do your part to fight hunger in the community.
A more individualized opportunity to give back happens at Shepherd’s Hope, which relies on volunteer physicians, nurses and other licensed health care professionals to provide quality health care for uninsured and underinsured men, women and children in the community. Not a medical professional but want to help? There are also front desk and administrative positions. Volunteer shifts last three to four hours, one day per month.