Holiday Volunteering- Here’s How….

It’s the MOST  Wonderful Time of the Yeaaarrrr… wait, already?

Can you believe that November is here!

As we enter into the heart of the fall season and usher in the steady stream of holiday “hub-bub” and opportunities for rampant consumerism, we want to offer you a few ways to rejuvenate the soul by giving back.

Because, here at the Volunteer Center, we also know it is that wonderful time of year for the spirit of generosity and giving to take center stage.

We love that our phone lines always pick up this time of year with community members and businesses looking for new ways to connect and make their holiday celebrations more meaningful.

We’re ready to help you take action with the 2019 online Holiday Volunteer Guide. The guide is now available and you can register to volunteer directly online or you can download the guide.  Listed in the guide, are a variety of holiday related opportunities available throughout the County between now and New Year’s.

We regularly update the guide throughout the holiday season as new projects become available, so we encourage you to check back regularly or give us a call if you can’t find what you are looking for and we are happy to match you with an opportunity.

Included in the guide is our very own Adopt a Family Project. This project has been running for nearly 30 years and supports families struggling to make ends meet during the holidays. Each year we partner with 25 fellow non-profits on this project to meet the needs of 450 families.

Partner non-profits provide the project with a short bio about each family and a list of the items that each family member requests. Adopt a Family Project volunteers then set to work connecting these families with willing donors. Requests include basic necessities like sheets, towels, or shoes along with special gift requests for the children.

For many of us, the holidays are such a joyous time with family and friends, but for local families that are struggling, this is instead a stressful time of year. It is truly heartbreaking to read through our binder of family stories and to know that without this project these children might not have a warm jacket, let alone gifts or toys.

The project has been successfully maintained with the support of our local businesses, community members, and willing volunteers for so many years. Because we are confident that this generosity will shine through again, we’ve chosen to increase the number of families we serve and are also incorporating isolated seniors and independent teens into our list of adoptees this year.

There are a number of ways to support the project that include adopting a whole family, purchasing individual items, volunteering in the Adopt a Family warehouse to wrap and sort gifts, or donating funds to support the project.

Volunteers will be at the Adopt a Family Phone Line ready to take your call from Nov 1st until December 6th.

Adopt or learn more about the project by calling the Adopt a Family Hotline at 831-457- 9834.

Additionally, this year we are still looking for an empty building space that is 4000 square ft. or larger to host our warehouse for collecting, sorting and distributing donations. Every year we have been fortunate to have a space donated and we are confident that a local business owner or realty company will step up once again to provide the needed space during our open hours from Dec. 10th through the 20th.

 Aside from the Adopt a Family Project there are many deserving projects and programs in Santa Cruz County in need of volunteers or financial support this holiday season.

For those who want to give a meaningful donation, we recommend you hop over to www.santacruzgives.org where you’re guaranteed to find a cause you care about. Santa Cruz Gives spearheaded by Santa Cruz Good Times, is your one stop shop for holiday donations with over 30 nonprofits to choose from. You can give to one or give to many- all with one transaction.

One of our other favorite projects is serving as a Holiday Helper with the Family Service Agency program- I You Venture.

Through this project, individuals can become a holiday helper by giving to the often forgotten care facility residents in the community. Many residents don’t have family or friends visit them during the holidays, so they look forward to the gifts and cards provided by the Holiday Helpers.

Wrapped gifts of such items as socks, blankets, scarves, calendars etc. can be dropped off at Family Service Agency of the Central Coast (104 Walnut Ave, #208 Santa Cruz, CA) from 9 am to 12 pm until December 6th.

The Run For Pie 5K fundraiser for 2nd Harvest Food Bank is another best bet and a great way to kick off the long Thanksgiving weekend. If you’re not a runner, they are in need of volunteers to help set up the course, oversee aid stations and run the kid’s Turkey Chase at Skypark in Scott’s Valley on Thanksgiving morning.

Finally, the Homeless Garden Project Store in downtown Santa Cruz is always a great option to buy your holiday gifts, but you are also invited to support this volunteer-run shop.  The store is open from November 12th through December 6th.

Information about all of these opportunities and more can be found in the Volunteer Center 2019 Holiday Volunteer Guide.

There is something for everyone, no matter how much time or money you have to give. If you’re struggling to find just the right fit for giving back, reach out to us at 831- 427-5070 or email connect@scvolunteercenter.org and we will help you find the perfect match for your needs and interests.

 

 

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