Volunteer to Improve Your Community

The holiday season is a great time to help make a difference in your community. More people volunteer during this time of the year than during any other time. So why not jump on that bandwagon?
There are many ways you can improve the lives of members of your community. And of course, if you like volunteering during the holiday season, some of these nice practices can be continued throughout the year.
1. Get in the kitchen. Most communities have a local soup kitchen that serves meals to underprivileged members of the community. Sign up to serve breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You don’t have to commit to doing it every Friday morning at 7:00a.m., but you might find you really like it. I volunteered at a soup kitchen in my hometown for over a year, and it was very powerful knowing that my efforts insured that those people would not go hungry.
2. Buy a toy. There are so many organizations that collect unwrapped toys for children during the holiday season. Some of these organizations give these donated toys to the parents of underprivileged children, who then use the toys to brighten their kids’ holidays. The oldest program to promote this practice is Toys for Tots, which was created in 1947 and is still going strong today.
3. Put on a food drive. Many food pantries need more food donated during the holiday season than they usually receive. Take it upon yourself to organize a canned food drive in your community. You can be as creative as you want with this: host a marathon with the entry fee being a non-perishable food item; get a group of friends together and ring doorbells in your neighborhood, asking for donations; ask your high school principal to allow a competition between the classes to see who can collect the most canned food items. Your options are endless and you can make this a very fun activity.
4. Ring a bell. The Salvation Army started collecting money in order to provide meals for the homeless in 1891. If you want to help with this charity, all you have to do is stand outside a grocery store, college building, or any street corner downtown, and ring-a-ding-ding your little bell. Soon people will drop some change in your bucket, and you will be helping the homeless enjoy a nice holiday meal.
There are many specific ways to volunteer within each community. These four ways are just to get your mind churning. Do you have any other ideas? Please let me know in the comment box below.