Looking to volunteer for the holidays? One of the best gifts you can give this Christmas is your time and help. Here's where to find local Minneapolis/St. Paul and Twin Cities non-profit organizations and charities who will greatly appreciate you volunteering your time to help local people and animals in need this Christmas.
Popular holiday volunteer opportunities fill up fast, so if what you want to do is already taken, remember that there's all of the rest of the year to volunteer too.
The Salvation Army is one of the most visible non-profit organizations during the holidays, and they need plenty of people to help out at Christmas time. Many of the opportunities don't need any experience except the willingness to help out. The Salvation Army needs people to prepare and serve holiday meals, help get toys to needy children, be a bell-ringer, sing carols, and many other tasks.
Little Brothers needs volunteers to prepare and serve holiday meals at their Minneapolis and the St. Paul location, and to deliver holiday meals to seniors who can't get to either of the two Little Brother's centers.
During the year, the organization can use drivers to get elders to appointments and friendly visitors to go to the homes of the elderly.
Catholic Charities provides a range of social services to Twin Cities residents. Volunteer distributing gifts to children and adults, shop for Christmas gifts and holiday meals or take on one of the many other volunteer opportunities. Volunteers are of all faiths as are the clients.
People Serving People is a homeless shelter in Minneapolis. Serving holiday meals is a popular volunteer activity at this time of year, but if all the volunteer positions are full, consider signing up and volunteering some time in the new year.
The charity also maintains an online holiday wish list on behalf of their clients.
Delivering meals to homebound disabled and elderly people in the Twin Cities is the classic Meals on Wheels volunteer position, but did you know that as well as drivers, Meals on Wheels also needs people to help with many other tasks if you can't, or prefer not to drive?
Kaposia helps seniors and disabled individuals find and keep employment and to be active in the community. During the holidays, volunteers are needed to help make greetings cards, assist with holiday parties, bring a gentle pet to visit with Kaposia's clients, and many other activities.
VocalEssence's choral shows are some of the most popular holiday concerts in the Twin Cities. They need volunteers to make the shows run smoothly, and are looking for volunteer ushers for their holiday shows. A perk of volunteering for VocalEssence is that volunteers can receive VocalEssence show tickets or VocalEssence merchandise.
Neighbors, Inc, is a South St. Paul community organization helping low-income families. They have a large wish list of food items and gifts you can donate that will be distributed to needy families, and also need volunteers for several holiday-related tasks.
One of the best ways to help a homeless shelter like Simpson is to organize a donation drive. Rally co-workers, family or group members to put together holiday food baskets, baby supply baskets, buy gifts or winter clothes. Your group can also buy, cook and serve a meal at the Simpson shelter.
Another way to help at this time of year is at the annual Homeless Memorial Service, held on December 20, 2018. Volunteers are needed to help set up the event, or simply be there and join in the march to remember the large numbers of homeless people, and also homelessness advocates, who died during the year.
Vail Place is an organization helping adults with mental illness lead independent lives. For the holidays, volunteer to bake pies and other holiday treats, serve a holiday meal, and other tasks at Vail Place shelters in Minneapolis and Hopkins.
The Good Samaritan Society provides shelter and support services for seniors. Help out by putting up holiday decorations, baking, bringing a pet to visit seniors, accompanying seniors on holiday shopping trips, and simply spending time with people, many of whom don't have family near.
Lyngblomsten, a senior residential home and support services non-profit in St. Paul, welcomes volunteers to help seniors make holiday gifts, tree ornaments and cards, wrap gifts, bake cookies, and generally spread seasonal cheer. There are opportunities for individuals, families, and groups.
Donating food, helping to sort and pack food donations, making phone calls, delivering food, and many other opportunities are all ways to help out with Second Harvest Heartland.
You can volunteer at the community-oriented Holidazzle by being an attendant in the Kid's Zone, a sleigh ride assistant, entertainment assistant, and more.
Holidazzle is located this year in Loring Park. Holidazzle provides family-friendly programming and is free and open to the public.
More Ways to Volunteers During the Holidays
If you want to serve a holiday dinner, check with your local churches and community organizations to see if they are serving a holiday meal.
If you'd like to donate food for a holiday dinner, food banks across the metro area will be glad to accept non-perishable holiday foods, but in good time, to ensure that they can be given to needy families in time for Christmas.
How about donating a toy which will go to a child who may otherwise not have a gift to open on Christmas morning? Toys for Tots has over 100 toy drop-off locations in the Twin Cities for new, unwrapped toys.
Commit to Volunteering Next Year
The holidays are the most popular time of year to volunteer. In fact, many volunteer opportunities fill almost as soon as they are announced.
How about making a commitment to volunteer your time next year, when there's just as much demand for social services, but far fewer volunteers? Committing a few hours a month for the next year will be just as helpful to our community, there's a much wider range of opportunities available, and searching for a volunteer placement will be one fewer thing to do during this busy holiday season.
Volunteer Match is a great place to start looking for an organization that would love the skills and enthusiasm you have to offer.