Ways To Make A Difference And Give Back

by | December 25, 2014

When most people think of the holidays, they think of people getting together and celebrating family traditions. Maybe it’s lighting the menorah on the first night of Hanukkah or opening gifts in front of the tree on Christmas Day. In a world where many of us are thankful for so much, we often forget that there are people who could use a little bit of help.

An estimated 1.75 million Americans are thought to be homeless. Homelessness can happen to almost anyone at any time for a variety of reasons.

Luckily, there are many organizations out there where you can volunteer your time and give back to your community this holiday season – and beyond!

Volunteers of America is an organization that aims to help end homelessness by providing emergency shelter, drop-in centers, and transitional and permanent supportive housing. They also assist people in obtaining disability benefits, provide transportation, offer intensive job training assistance to homeless veterans, and offer a number of other programs to get those in need back on their feet. They offer many volunteering opportunities to those with the time to give.

StandUp For Kids is a national non-profit charity whose mission is to end the cycle of youth homelessness throughout the United States. They provide life-saving and outreach services to homeless, street kids, and at-risk youth. Volunteers primarily work at night, distributing food, clothing, hygiene products, resource information, referrals, and offering a phone number where the children can reach a counselor from the organization. They have numerous programs all over the country that could use more volunteers, and if you don’t have one near you, they are always accepting donations of whatever you are able to give.

The National Coalition for the Homeless is a national network of people ranging from those who are currently struggling or have struggled with homelessness to activists, advocates, community-based and faith-based service providers, and others who are committed to preventing and ending homelessness and ensuring that the needs of the homeless are met and their civil rights are protected. Their programs are centered around public education, policy advocacy, grassroots organizing, and they are focused on housing, economic, and health care justice as well as civil rights. They also provide volunteer opportunities all over the country.

In addition to the organizations above, consider volunteering to help soup kitchens or food pantries in your area, as homelessness and hunger usually go hand-in-hand. Start with the holiday, and maybe fit in a little bit of time every week or every month to give time to some of the organizations near you.

Every minute and every dollar that a person is able to volunteer can help bring us one step closer to ending homelessness in America and will help build a better future for the next generation.