The season of giving is upon us. Ways to give back during the holiday season are plentiful with the most popular being monetary donations, adopting a Christmas tree angel, toy drives and donations of cold weather items.
Giving back is on our minds during the holidays, but it is important to remember that we have opportunities throughout the year to serve those in need.
Family volunteering can make a difference all the time – not just in your community but within your family as well.
Finding time for extra activities and adding events to busy schedules is challenging, especially when you’re trying to make time for the whole family to be involved.
Discovering the right opportunity for the entire family is also quite a task. This is where Helping Hands Can comes in.
Helping Hands Can, which serves the Central Kentucky region, is a volunteer resource tailored to family volunteering opportunities.
HHC works with local organizations in Central Kentucky such as The Hope Center and the Saint Joseph Foundation.
As a mother of a 6-year-old, I was looking for a way to get my son involved in giving and also looking for ways to have our family together.
Instead, I discovered a need for a family volunteering resource in my community.
But I didn’t want it to stop there – I wanted all families to get involved, and that is how Helping Hands Can was born.
Helping Hands Can has a goal to create meaningful volunteer opportunities for the entire family.
In November, we hosted groups of family volunteers that filled sunshine bags for chemo patients and helped prepare sandwiches for the homeless served by The Hope Center.
This month, our volunteers are scheduled to sing Christmas carols and help create crafts at local Central Kentucky nursing homes, as well as preparing more sandwiches for use at The Hope Center.
Family volunteer events provide more than just the opportunity for families to give back.
Each event is an opportunity for families to spend quality time together, provides an opportunity to reach out to those in need around us, teaches children the meaning of generosity and compassion, but most importantly each opportunity encourages a lifetime of giving back.
Research shows children that are engaged in volunteering at a young age are much more likely to continue to support causes as an adult and carry on the tradition of giving back with their own children.
The benefits of family volunteering are far reaching and touch more than those in need.
For more information on Helping Hands Can and ways your family can volunteer this holiday season and throughout the year visit www.helpinghandscan.org.
Mission of Hope
P.O. Box 51824, Knoxville, Tenn.
(865) 584-7571 or (877) 627-1909
MOH’s goal is to provide more than 18,000 Appalachian school children with new toys, food and clothes. The Christmas drive runs through Dec. 7.
Contributions can be dropped off at Monkey Joe’s, Premier Athletics, Kids Place, Legacy All Sports, Lexington Family Magazine and Chick-fil-A and Curves locations.
Financial contributions are also accepted in care of Mission of Hope at the address above.
God’s Pantry & Food Bank
1685 Jaggie Fox Way
God’s Pantry provides emergency food baskets for families year-round and needs volunteers and donations.
614 E. Seventh Street
The Catholic Action Center will host its 20th annual Christmas Store, Dec. 16-18, 8 a.m.- 8 p.m. at the Southland Christian Church Richmond Road Campus. The store serves more than 15,000 needy children. Volunteers are needed beginning Dec. 11 – to set up and work the store.
To donate new or pre-loved toys through Dec 14, look for the drop-off bins at various churches and retail locations.
Lexington Humane Society
1600 Old Frankfort Pike
The Humane Society needs canned wet cat and dog food, soft dog training treats, exotic pet food, pet toys, pee pads, HE laundry detergent and bleach. Donations are accepted seven days a week.
During the holidays, shop for gifts at the Pawlidays Gift Shop, Monday-Thursday and Saturday, noon-6 p.m., Friday, noon-8 p.m., and Sunday, 1-5 p.m.
Choose a “Sponsor a Pet Ornament” from the Christmas tree for $20 to make a donation in a loved one’s name.
530 N. Limestone Street
259-1974, ext. 29
Reindeer Express is The Nest’s gift giveaway that will provide Christmas presents for children 5 and under.
Donations such as new toys, coats, and cash should be brought to The Nest by Dec. 10. Community groups are welcome to participate. Donations accepted Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.
The Salvation Army
736 W. Main Street
Choose a name from the Angel Gift Tree at Fayette Mall through Dec. 13.
Hygiene items such as soap, deodorant, toothbrushes, socks, etc. can also be donated and will be given away during the Christmas season.
Choose a star off the Angel Food Tree at Kroger to purchase a $25 gift certificate to support families in need during the holidays beginning the day after Thanksgiving through Dec. 24.
Volunteers are needed to adopt a kettle and participate in bell ringing to raise money to help the homeless, hungry and disadvantaged. Bell Ringing takes place from Nov. 6-Dec. 24.
Volunteer at the Salvation Army distribution center to help match gifts from the Angel Gift Tree to the children.
YMCA of Central Kentucky
239 East High Street
Volunteers are needed for the 10th annual Reindeer Ramble, a holiday-themed 5K run to benefit the Annual Giving Campaign. Proceeds will benefit summer camps. The event is Saturday, Dec. 12, at 9 a.m. at Keeneland.
The Lighthouse Ministries
185 Elm Tree Lane
Volunteers are needed for the Christmas Dinner on Dec. 19 at Sayre school. There are two dinner times – 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Y
By Emily Porter