For many families, teaching children is an everyday occurrence, and parents know children need to give of themselves and their time. There are a number of ways to show them how to be appreciative and grateful for what they have. These volunteer opportunities promise to teach them compassion, empathy and perseverance. When looking for a group or association to volunteer with, keep in mind your family’s interests. Issues to think about involve the homeless, the abused and the hungry; those living with cancer, disabilities and special needs; veterans and individuals in assisted living centers and hospitals. These are the best volunteer opportunities for the whole family this holiday season.
618 North College St.
Charlotte, NC 28278
Serve Charlotte’s Homeless is a local nonprofit that assists the street homeless who reside in the Queen City. The organization has a weekly meal service for the homeless every Thursday evening, in addition to a street outreach opportunity every other weekend. For Thanksgiving this year, the organization is hosting a volunteer opportunity on Wednesday November 21st, 2012, at 6:30pm. Volunteers will assist with passing out turkey sandwiches and supplies to those in need — on the streets of Uptown Charlotte. For more information, please fill out the contact form on their website.
PO Box 5366
Charlotte, NC 28299
This organization provides adoption and foster family services for the Charlotte community. Foster families typically go out of town for the holidays, but are financially unable to afford kennel services. Thus, volunteers provide a much-needed break to the foster families. Taking in a dog, even if for short term, is not a decision that that should be made lightly, without carefully weighing the options. Volunteering to write grants, hold fundraisers or gain sponsorship’s for events are alternatives the whole family can get in on as well.
1200 East Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28203-5708
Poverty and homelessness, although temporary for some, has been a way of life for many people. With generous food donors in the Charlotte area, First Christian Church is just one of the soup kitchens that offers nutritious lunches and holiday meals. The volunteers’ genuine concern and compassion for treating patrons as valued customers and creating an inviting atmosphere is what keeps people coming back. Individuals and families may participate as long as an adult accompanies children ages 8 to 13. There are always needs throughout the holiday season beginning in November, as well as year round for volunteering.
1300 Blythe Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28203
This non-profit organization provides the necessary medical, prenatal, health and educational needs for single mothers and their children. It also offers support services for the intervention and prevention of substance abuse. With the ongoing and holiday volunteer opportunities, the possibilities can include preparing and serving a meal, organizing a fun event, bringing in holiday treat bags, favors, building and delivering baskets, sending cards, giving a baby shower, hosting a holiday party, or creating an arts and crafts holiday decoration. Opportunities are endless, and the organization welcomes all creative minds to plan, organize or help at annual events and fundraisers.
A Child’s Place
601 E. 5th St., Suite 230
Charlotte, NC 28202
Privately funded, this organization ensures that each homeless child or those at risk not only attend school in the Charlotte Mecklenburg area, but also receive appropriate educational, health and emotional assistance. At Thanksgiving, purchasing a grocery-store gift card assists the family in providing a nutritious holiday meal. For the holidays, two gifts for each family member (wish list item and outfit) and a grocery store gift certificate are required. Finally, the last opportunity of mention is “adopting” a child and buying a gift on his or her wish list.
1420 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC 28204
Patients who choose to live at home with their families for the last six months of their life have neither the physical nor the financial resources to prepare a special Thanksgiving or holiday meal. Volunteers purchase the ingredients, prepare and deliver the meal on the holiday to the family’s home. For many families, this takes both the stress out of preparation and gives the family memorable moments with their loved ones. Volunteers may prepare meals for up to eight people within a chosen radius from their zip code. Patients and volunteers collaborate on the menu.
Related: Alma’s Simple Homemade Holiday Gifts
Julie Callicutt is a freelance writer covering all things Charlotte. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.