Holiday Volunteer Opportunities

The holiday season is approaching, and that means many of us will be filled with the desire to give the gift of time by volunteering at local charities.

Did you know many charities find themselves with more volunteer requests than they can accommodate during the holiday season? This is a big change from the other 10 months of the year, when so many organizations rely on volunteer support to survive.

We collected a list of open opportunities, both through United Way and our partner agencies, to help you find the best way to help your community this holiday season.

Reading for Resilience with RVA Reads

What: United Way is teaming up with RVA Reads, a program of Richmond Public Library, to read at public preschools in the City of Richmond. Volunteers will read a story from United Way’s Fostering Resilience Reading List and a book from RVA Reads, which students can take home with them. By volunteering, you will help children build critical literacy skills and bring the joy of books and learning to more Richmond families this holiday season.

December 12th

Where: Blackwell Preschool Learning Center, 238 E. 14th Street, Richmond, VA 23224
When: 9:15 – 10:30 a.m.

Volunteers should arrive between 9:15 and 9:30 a.m. to sign-in with the school. All volunteers must present a valid Virginia State ID to the school and pass the school’s background check to participate. After a brief training, volunteers will be assigned to a classroom.

Can’t make it on December 11th or 12th? You can also volunteer throughout the year with RVA Reads at these and other preschool centers by emailing Barbara Crump at Barbara.Crump@richmondgov.com.

Support our Literacy Kit Drive

This holiday season, you can hold a literacy kit drive and collect books for children entering kindergarten. United Way has a toolkit to help you raise books or school supplies to help. Don’t have time to hold a drive? You can go as a family to your local bookstore and pick up some items from our suggested book list, or you can purchase books on our Amazon Wish List. Please be sure to fill out the gift receipt, so we know who sent them. By giving more books and early literacy tools to families, you can give a gift that improves lives.

Questions? Contact Aimee Selleck, Volunteer Coordinator, at SelleckA@yourunitedway.org or (804) 771-5833.

CrossOver Ministry

Medicaid Enrollment Facilitator

What: CrossOver Healthcare Ministry is a free health clinic with two locations in areas of identified need in the Richmond area. CrossOver Healthcare Ministry is seeking motivated volunteers to serve at least 3 four hour shifts in November and December to help patients complete the Medicaid application. Volunteers will help patients work through the steps of the application, but will not be responsible for determining eligibility.

Contact: For more information, contact Molly Smith at msmith@crossoverministry.org or (804) 655-2794 (extension 107).

St. Joseph’s Villa

2018 Season of Hope

What: St. Joseph’s Villa is dedicated to providing children with special needs and their families the opportunity to succeed through effective and innovative programs. The organization is looking for volunteers to participate in their 2018 Season of Hope program. Volunteers can help make sure children have the basic needs for the holiday season, providing coats and boots, non-perishable foods, household items or toiletries.

Contact: To discuss your participation in the Season of Hope program, please contact Kathy Perun at kperun@sjvmail.net or (804) 521-5577.

ChildSavers

Snack Drive

What: ChildSavers provides needed mental health services to children regardless of their family’s ability to pay. A majority of the children served by ChildSavers are from low-income, food insecure households. ChildSavers’ Snack Drive will collect food for the hundreds of children who come to ChildSavers for therapy every week, so they may focus on healing rather than hunger. Help ChildSavers by collecting individually wrapped Goldfish, popcorn, Pirate Booty, non-gelatin fruit snacks (e.g. Annie’s), granola bars, animal crackers, apple sauce pouches and cheese crackers.

Contact: If you would like to help ChildSavers in providing healthy snacks for children, have ideas for how to establish an ongoing supply or know of a group who might be able to help, please contact Sarah Konigsburg at skonigsburg@childsavers.org or (804) 591-3944.

Side by Side

Youth Center Clean Up

What: The Side by Side Youth Center houses The Virginia Anti-Violence Project and serves as regular meeting space for parent support groups PFLAG and He, She, Ze, & We. Side by Side is looking for volunteers to help organize the center this holiday season. Groups and individuals can volunteer for shifts ranging from two to five hours.

When: November 26th and 27th, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Where: Side by Side Youth Center, 2311 Westwood Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230

Contact: For more information and to sign up, email Lacette Cross at lacette.cross@sidebysideva.org.

Peter Paul Development Center

Peter Paul Development Center is an outreach and community center serving Church Hill and neighboring communities in Richmond’s East End. The holidays can be one of the most stressful times for families served by Peter Paul. To help manage this busy time, Peter Paul is looking for volunteers at multiple events.

Contact: For more information about all of Peter Paul Development Center’s holiday volunteer opportunities, contact Rosemary Jones, Director of Volunteer Services, at (804) 780-1195 or rjones@peterpauldevcenter.org.

Thanksgiving Meal Distribution

What: Through the generosity of many donors, Peter Paul Development Center provides a Thanksgiving box for each family they serve so that they may celebrate this national feast day within their homes as a family. Peter Paul Development Center staff are recruiting volunteers to assist with delivery and pick up of Thanksgiving boxes to more than 220 families in the community.

When: Tuesday, November 20, 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. & 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Where: Peter Paul Development Center, 1708 N. 22nd Street, Richmond, VA 23223

Birthday Celebration

What: Each month, Peter Paul Development Center celebrates children’s birthdays with the gift of a book, cake and ice cream. Help Peter Paul celebrate the students who have birthdays during the holiday season.

When: Friday, November 30, 4:30-5:00 p.m.
Where: Peter Paul Development Center, 1708 N. 22nd Street, Richmond, VA 23223

Circle Center Adult Day Services

Circle Center Adult Day Services provides comprehensive and individualized quality care for older adults during the day, enabling them to live at home and providing assurance and respite for family caregivers. They are looking for volunteers to help staff a series of holiday events.

Contact: For more information about all of Circle Center’s holiday volunteer opportunities, contact Mary Branzelle (804) 517-2217 or mbranzelle@circlecenterva.org.

Social Turkey Trot

What: Volunteers will engage with participants by assisting with games like apple bowling, pumpkin punch, turkey bean bag toss and more!

When: November 15 (3:00 p.m.) and November 16 (11:00 a.m. & 3:00 p.m.)
Where: Circle Center Adult Day Services, 4900 W Marshall St, Richmond, VA 23230

Jingle Jamz

What: Volunteers will participate in a Karaoke Social by singing along with participants to familiar holiday songs.

When: December 13 (3:00 p.m.) and December 14 (11:00 a.m. & 3:00 p.m.)
Where: Circle Center Adult Day Services, 4900 W Marshall St, Richmond, VA 23230

Other Ways to Help

Here are some ways you can put your holiday spirit to good use this year:

  • Make a Resolution. Remember: The same agencies that may not have an opening for volunteers this month would LOVE to have you volunteer in the spring. Instead of volunteering this holiday season, make a resolution to do so in 2019. Some organizations may even let you sign up for 2019 opportunities now!
    • Friendly Reminder: United Way always has great volunteer opportunities on the horizon. Email volunteer@yourunitedway.org to express interest in future events.
  • Create Your Own Activity. There are plenty of ways to put your holiday spirit to good use, even if you aren’t volunteering through an organization. Ideas include:
    • Sort through closets to collect clothes to donate. You will get organized and collect a pile of clothes to give to those in need.
    • Lend a hand and share your time with those in need. Maybe you have an elderly neighbor who could use some help with chores? Or maybe you could offer free tutoring to students?
    • Go beyond toy drives and turkey trots and consider projects that you can do at home with your family. You can decorate and assemble United Way Literacy Kits with your children. You will not only brighten a child’s holiday season, you will help empower families to continue the learning at home.
  • Express Appreciation. Take the time to thank the people who are working every day to make our community a better place. Maybe it’s the nurses that helped ensure your child was born healthy or the teacher who helped you read on grade level. Your local school’s PTA may already have a teacher appreciation program that you can support, or you can find your own program to thank dedicated public servants with healthy treats, care packages or cards.
  • Check in on Older Adults. Studies have found that social isolation negatively impacts a person’s health equal in consequence to smoking, high blood pressure and obesity. The holidays are the perfect reason to chat with your neighbor or maybe your great-aunt who lives alone to provide some social connection and check if they may need more help throughout the year.