Volunteer and Make It a Happy Holiday For Those Less Fortunate
Today is #GivingTuesday – we thought it would be appropriate to list out some of our favorite local charities. If you live in Northern New Jersey and want to volunteer with your family this holiday season, here are some organizations to look into.
Center for Hope and Safety
Formerly called Shelter Our Sisters, the Center for Hope and Safety provides food, shelter and clothing for women and their children escaping domestic violence. Every year, volunteers donate more than 5,000 hours of service.
Want to help out? There are many ways your family can get involved. Organize donations, help women and their children move to a new home, donate household items, or prepare meals for emergency shelter families.
Toys for Tots
The mission of Toys for Tots is to collect new toys and distribute them to less fortunate children. One new toy at Christmas could be all a child needs to give them hope. It’s easy to participate. Simply shop at your local store and pick out a toy you think a little boy or girl would love. Then play Santa and drop off the toy at the drop off location nearest you. You can take your efforts one step further by volunteering at the Toys for Tots warehouse location in Picatinny Arsenal.
Food Bank of New Jersey
The Food Bank needs help all year round, but the holidays are a great time to volunteer. This is the time of year when having very little money hits less fortunate members of the community the hardest.
When you volunteer with your family at the Food Bank, you can help in many ways. Sort and pack food, assemble outfits for needy children in the community, collect food at community food drives, or help with fundraisers. Volunteers work in two-hour shifts and can schedule their time any day Monday through Saturday. All volunteers must be 12 years or older, and all children must be accompanied by an adult.
Volunteer Center of Bergen County
With a goal of strengthening the community with service, this volunteer center has tons of resources to enrich your family and improve quality of life for the less fortunate living in Bergen County. The whole family can participate in community service, adopting a family in need, helping with after school programs, running errands for people with mobility problems and much more.
The goal of this organization is to bridge the gap between the housed and the homeless for more togetherness in the New York, Newark and Irvington communities. More than 2,000 people each year volunteer with Bridges Outreach, and this year your family can join in. Choose to volunteer your time once or twice during the holidays or become a “Core Volunteer” by participating in the program at least once a month all year round.
The organization’s primary function is to make “runs” to homeless shelters, delivering lunches, clothing, toiletries, backpacks and school supplies. Volunteers are encouraged to have conversations with the people they serve to really bridge the gap between the housed and the homeless.
The Connection for Women & Families
This nonprofit, women-led organization strives to enhance the lives of everyone in the community. Services here bring people together from diverse backgrounds to develop respect for others and eliminate prejudice.
Volunteering at The Connection is a life-changing opportunity. Anyone ages 15 and up can help out in special needs classes. English speakers can act as tutors for newcomers to the US with no experience necessary. Drivers can volunteer to deliver healthy meals to women undergoing chemotherapy.
Color a Smile
There’s nothing like a cheerful drawing to brighten the day of senior citizens, troops overseas and anyone else in need of smile. This organization asks children, scout troops, religious groups and families to color happy pictures and help spread smiles.
The website has hundreds of coloring pages to choose from. Simply print them out, color the picture, sign it with your first and last name, and mail the drawing to Color a Smile located in Morristown. You’re encouraged to enclose a donation with your drawing, but it’s not required.
Do you know of another place? Recently volunteered?