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December 5 is International Volunteer Day! It’s a day that celebrates the impact volunteers make across the globe. Founded by United Nations Volunteers in 1985, it’s an inspiring reminder of the billions of volunteers who actively make the world a better place every day.
If volunteering is already a part of your life, take a moment or two to enjoy the fact that you are part of a global movement of people who have found a cause or organization they are passionate about. Take to the street (or to social media) and share what has SPARKed you in volunteering. Even better, share your story with us!
If you haven’t yet made the decision to volunteer, let this international celebration of volunteering motivate you to take the next step.
During the month of December, you may want to volunteer as a way to express your gratitude or to give back to an organization that helped you when you were in need. Many people think of holiday volunteering as helping to serve a hot meal to people who would otherwise not have one on Christmas Day.
These kinds of opportunities, however, may not be as available in smaller communities where the capacity to offer them is limited. The good news is that there are many other ways to give and feel good around the holidays.
Here are some other ways to contribute that are often overlooked.
Many communities provide food hampers for families in need. Some also offer an ‘adopt-a-family’ program where donors buy gifts for families who are unable to afford them. Consider making a donation to one of these programs near you.
Consider assembling a gift bag or two for people in your community who rely on Shelters and Drop-In Centres. The shelter collects these and can provide you with a list of much-needed toiletries and small personal items their clients often live without such as toothpaste or a warm winter hat and gloves.
Many shopping malls partner with local nonprofits that offer gift wrapping for a donation, with many volunteers needed to wrap gifts up to December 24th. Search SPARK, or visit the social media site of a mall near you to find out how you can connect and help out.
If none of these ideas SPARK you, don’t worry. Nonprofits need volunteers every day of the year. The holidays are often a busy time for them too. If you connect with them afterwards, they’re likely to have more time to discuss ways you can help that suit your interests, skills and schedule.
Whether you choose to help out actively by volunteering or by donating food, gifts or money to a cause you care about, know that you are making a difference with your efforts. You are part of the goodwill that is celebrated throughout the month of December.
Thank you for your caring!
If you’ve found other ways to give back in December, share it with us @SparkOntario on Facebook or Twitter!