The holiday season is a time of gratitude and generosity– what better way to channel this than volunteering and giving back to those in your very own community. Volunteering is a great way to act as a role model, encourage good works, and build memories with your entire family.
Orange County offers a wide range of opportunity for volunteer work during the holidays. Get to know your neighbors, and truly give back to the community this year! Here are a few places to start:
Build Futures – Huntington Beach, CA – https://buildfutures.org/
Build Futures focuses on taking young adults age 18-24 off of the streets, and providing them with the tools to stay off the streets. This year, they are asking for hygiene kits and grocery bags of food. This is a good one to do from home, and even as a part of a holiday gathering. Make an assembly line, blast the Christmas music, and ask guests to contribute some of the following items:
Build Futures asks for: “hygiene items (full size not travel) for the homeless youth we serve. Items needed include deodorant (male or female), lip balm, disposable razors (male or female), comb/brush (male or female), shampoo, conditioner, tissue (small packs), toothpaste, toothbrush, Soap (bar or body wash, Male or female), Toothbrush holder or caps (optional)”.
And for grocery bags: “Non-perishable grocery items for newly housed individuals are needed so they have food when housed. Re-usable fabric bags are preferred but can be paper. Suggested items (please keep in mind nutritional needs, these are full sizes): 2 to 4 cans or packs of tuna or chicken, peanut butter, strawberry or raspberry jam, whole grain crackers, soups, protein or granola bars (box), oatmeal, whole grain cereal, nuts of some type, whole grain pasta, brown rice, can of black beans, 2 cans chili/ravioli type meals, fruit cups or applesauce (6 pack)”.
Friendly Center – Orange, CA – http://www.friendlycenter.org/
The Friendly Center helps keep children and their families safe, stable, and secure. In the holiday season, this means providing shelter, clothing, and gifts for the kids of families who are focusing solely on getting food on the table. Contribute to the turkey basket drive, give toys, host a craft table for kids at holiday events at the center– there are countless ways to help!
Christmas Toy Drive (Giving Children Hope Facility) – Buena Park, CA – http://gchope.org/
Giving Children Hope provides for the welfare, health and self-esteem of Orange County Unified School District students who the McKinney-Vento act identifies as homeless. Contribute toys, sponsor a child’s wishlist, or participate in the organization’s wrapping parties.
Orangewood Children’s Foundation – Santa Ana, CA – http://www.orangewoodfoundation.org/
As a 24 hour emergency shelter for children up to 18 years, the Orangewood Children’s Foundation is at work 24/7. Help them provide these children with a little holiday spirit. Sponsor their wishlist program, and pick an item or items requested specifically by a little one.
Adopt-a-Park – Santa Ana, CA – www.ocgov.com
Take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and get outdoors. Do park clean up, landscaping, greet visitors, or work in the office. Adopt-a-block can be a one time experience, or become a regular tradition in the family. Volunteers of all ages are welcome.