The holidays are a fun time of year when kids everywhere look forward to giving and receiving gifts. They are also a great opportunity to give back to the community and help those in need. Are you looking to volunteer with your family this holiday season? We’ve made it easy by compiling ten ways to help the Austin community:
Operation Blue Santa from the Austin Police Department. Each year, the Austin Police Department provides each family they serve with a full holiday meal and wrapped Christmas gifts for kids under 14. They take donations year-round, so consider bringing new, unwrapped toys for families in need.
Central Texas Food Bank. Beginning in December, Capital Metro and Whole Foods Market helps families in need to receive a full holiday meal through the Stuff the Bus campaign. Donate non-perishable foods to Cap Metro busses that are parked in front of Austin Whole Foods locations, or make a cash donation when checking out in the store.
Orange Santa. Orange Santa was originally created to help University of Texas families in need during the holidays. You can donate new and unwrapped gifts and wrapping supplies to various drop-off boxes that are stationed around the campus. Orange Santa then creates a pop-up store from the gifts they’ve received and allows families to shop (for free!) for their family members.
Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program. Throughout the month of December, malls all across Austin are decorated with paper angels. Each one contains a child’s wish list, and you are able to choose an angel and purchase the items. You then drop them off at the Christmas Cheer Center on South Congress Avenue.
Meals on Wheels. This meal delivery service drops off holiday dishes to seniors and other adults with disabilities. Consider volunteering to be a driver or making a financial contribution.
SafePlace Austin. SafePlace is a haven for families who have experienced sexual or domestic abuse. They are accepting donations for toys and gift cards, as well as other items that are in need from the Austin Children’s Center. Check their website for drop-off locations and other information.
Volunteer with Generation Serve. Formerly Little Helping Hands, Generation Serve has a mission to engage children in volunteerism and empower them to make a difference in their communities. Consider volunteering as a family this holiday season to help those in need.
Partnerships for Children Holiday Wishes. There are several ways you can help this holiday season with Partnerships for Children. You can sponsor a child and purchase gifts from his or her wish list. You can also become an ambassador, donate general gifts, or volunteer your time!
Donate Winter Gear. The Junior League of Austin’s Coats for Kids drive helps give coats and winter gear to kids in need around Austin. Even though our summers are hot, the winters can get chilly – especially without the proper gear!
Blessing Bags for the Homeless. Though this isn’t an official organization, consider creating Ziploc bags with your kids to pass out to the homeless when you happen to drive by one. Go to Target or Dollar General and and fill them with mini toothpastes, toothbrushes, soap, protein bars, and other portable items that can help those in need.
What do you think, Austin parents? Are you looking forward to volunteering this holiday season?