8 short-term volunteer opportunities to put your holiday cheer to good use in Vancouver
Beware! Short-term, feel-good volunteering can tempt you into a long-term commitment to give back
It's that time of year again: drinking eggnog, crying at old reruns of Miracle on 34th Street and grappling with the overwhelming desire to give.
For those looking to put that holiday spirit of giving to good use, short-term volunteering can be a perfect opportunity to do so.
"Let's face it, we want to give back, we all know that it's needed ... but life is busy," said Cathryn France, director of fund development at the YMCA of Greater Vancouver.
France points out that short-term volunteering can also be a good way to get to know an organization and start thinking about contributing in the long-term.
"One of the things I would encourage people to think about this time of year is how to take those short-term volunteer opportunities and leverage them into year-long commitments," she said.
So if you're looking to dip your toes into the feel-good waters, here are some short-term volunteer gigs for you to explore.
1. Salvation Army toy drive
The community and family services branch of the Salvation Army in Vancouver is looking for volunteers to sort and pack toys from its toy drives. Volunteers can contribute for a half or a full day.
It is also looking for volunteers to solicit donations at its Christmas kettles for a day, or to help out during the registration process for its Christmas assistance program by translating for Cantonese, Mandarin or Vietnamese speakers.
How to sign up: call 604-872-7676 or email email@example.com
2. Ignite the Warmth blanket drive
Ignite the Warmth is a student-led initiative that hands out blankets to people on the Downtown Eastside with personal messages of hope for the recipients. It is looking for people to donate blankets, make hand-made cards, and help hand out donations.
How to sign up: email firstname.lastname@example.org
3. WISH Drop-in Centre holiday meal prep
WISH aims to improve the health, safety and well-being of women involved in Vancouver's street-based sex trade.
It is looking for women 19 years old and over to help prepare and serve food between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2, particularly on Christmas Eve, Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
It is also looking for volunteers to sort through donations and help with administrative tasks.
How to sign up: email email@example.com
4. Project HELLO Christmas card donations
It is looking for volunteers to make handmade cards or donate materials and help track down friends and family.
How to sign up: email firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Beauty Night holiday-themed aesthetic services
The Beauty Night Society provides wellness and beauty services to help build self-esteem for impoverished women and youth.
It is looking for wellness and beauty professionals to offer services like manicures, massages and haircuts at shelters in Metro Vancouver over the holidays.
How to sign up: fill out a volunteer application form
6. AIDS Vancouver holiday grocery
AIDS Vancouver's annual holiday grocery event supports more than 700 HIV-positive people with food security issues.
The event takes place Dec. 13 from 9 a.m. PT to 4 p.m. PT on the Downtown Eastside and it is looking for volunteers to distribute food, make merry and hand out treats. Volunteers can also help with set up on Dec. 9 and 12.
7. Union Gospel Mission turkey carving and Christmas hampers
The Union Gospel Mission provides shelter, food and services for those in need.
It is looking for volunteers to deliver Christmas hampers to families and seniors on Dec. 14 and 15.
People with culinary skills who are over the age of 18 can contribute on the mornings of Dec. 5 to 8 to carve turkeys in preparation for its Christmas dinner on Dec. 10.
8. Be a Santa to a Senior
Be a Santa to a Senior partners with non-profit organizations to identify seniors who might not otherwise receive gifts over the holiday season.
It needs volunteers to collect, wrap and deliver gifts to seniors at homes and service agencies across B.C.
How to sign up: submit your postal code to find an agency near you that is looking for help.