Reach out and help those in need
For most families in Ohio, the holiday season is a time for enacting traditions, from gift-giving rituals to special seasonal meals. Now is a great time to add a new tradition to the list and find a way to give back to the community and help the less fortunate. There is no better way to get in the holiday spirit than by donating one’s time, money or effort to a local charitable organization. Here are five ways that families and individuals can get involved and help out the community this holiday season.
Each year, the Salvation Army in Columbus puts on Christmas Cheer, one of the state’s largest holiday toy and food distribution programs. Christmas Cheer provides thousands of less fortunate families with food and toys over a two-day period during the holiday season. Salvation Army relies on donations, as well as volunteers, who are needed to assemble boxes, fill food boxes, register families, give out toys and more. More information about volunteering for the Christmas Cheer program is located on the Salvation Army’s website at http://co.salvationarmy.org/CentralOhio/CHRISTMAS-CHEER.
The City Mission
The City Mission has been serving Cleveland’s homeless population since 1910. Today, the organization has two shelters, the Crossroads Men’s Crisis Center on Carnegie Avenue and Laura’s Home Women’s Crisis Center on Puritas Avenue. Every November and December, City Mission serves tens of thousands of special Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to those who are less fortunate. Families interested in volunteering to help out at the City Mission should fill out the volunteer form at https://www.volgistics.com/ex/portal.dll/ap?AP=1007694277.
Give Back Cincinnati Fall Feast
Civic-minded southwestern Ohioans should look into Give Back Cincinnati, a non-profit that offers over two dozen volunteer opportunities annually. On Thursday, Nov. 26, the downtown Duke Energy Convention Center will host the tenth consecutive Give Back Cincinnati Fall Feast, providing free food and fun to all guests in attendance, including the city’s homeless and underserved. Registration to volunteer for Fall Feast is open at http://fallfeast.org/get-involved/.
Toledo Christmas Baskets
Through thousands of human services programs, Volunteers of America helps nearly 2 million people in the U.S., over 20,000 of whom live in the Greater Ohio area. Each year, Volunteers of America helps feed Toledo’s most vulnerable citizens by providing them with free Christmas baskets filled with food. To find out more about contributing food items or volunteering, visit http://www.voago.org/christmas-cheer.
Athens County Children Services Santa Tree Project
Southeastern Ohioans have lots of opportunities to help the less fortunate this holiday season, including the 28th annual Santa Tree Project, which is being coordinated once again by the Athens County Children Services. Each year, the Santa Tree Project provides gifts to over 1,500 underprivileged children in Athens County. Community members are encouraged to donate and get involved, which they can do at http://athenscountysantaproject.blogspot.com/.
The holiday season provides Ohio families with many opportunities to give back. There is no better time to teach children that it is always more rewarding to give than to receive, and these service opportunities are a great way to do that.