The holidays are a time of happiness and joy meant to be spent around the fireplace with family and exchanging thoughtfully selected presents. For many in the Springfield area, however, this kind of holiday is far from reality. Instead, they may be wondering if they’ll be able to afford toys for their children this year or if they’ll have a place to stay when the weather gets bitterly cold. As we enjoy our safe, happy holiday, the need of our less-fortunate neighbors persists.
This time of year is perfect for giving back to the community by volunteering or donating funds. Many of us are taking time off and removed from other responsibilities during the holiday season, making it easier than ever to spend a day or two helping out a local nonprofit. Find out how you can get involved by browsing our list of volunteer opportunities near you.
Volunteer Opportunities In The Ozarks
Looking for a place to give back? This list only includes a small sampling of the nonprofits in the Springfield area that need volunteer assistance. For more opportunities near you, check out the list of agencies at Community Foundation of the Ozarks, browse The Library’s Directory of nonprofits or explore Volunteer Ozarks.
Victory Mission is one of the largest homeless outreach programs in the city, working to provide personal, vocational and spiritual growth opportunities for those who need it most. To maintain their level of outreach, they need as many volunteers helping out as possible, especially during the holiday season. Positions are available with their food pantry, donation center, senior luncheon and voucher program through the months of November and December. Have a special skill you’d like to share? You can sign up for a longer commitment and serve as a course teacher, providing education on key subjects like finances or professional development.
The Salvation Army
Over the holiday season, the Springfield chapter of The Salvation Army sends more than 20,000 ringing bells across the area to solicit donations for emergency social services, emergency weather centers and more. If you were to convert that amount into days, it would be 833 days straight of bell ringing. If you want to help Salvation Army reach its goal, you can sign up to be a bell ringer at Register to Ring.
Volunteers are also needed at this time of year to assist with toy drives, family distribution events, the extreme cold weather shelter and in the administrative offices. Don’t have the time to help out? No need to worry—you can drop your donation in their online Red Kettle.
A branch of the Council of Churches of the Ozarks, Crosslines has been providing for area families for more than 40 years now to ensure everyone has a happy holiday. This wouldn’t be possible without devoted volunteers who carry groceries, work the table at the toy store and clean the facility after donation services. Each year, there’s a big push for volunteers during their Thanksgiving and Christmas preparation week, where you can help by distributing food and toys to families in need. Can’t make those dates? Crosslines always needs hands on deck to assist year-round at their food pantry.
Habitat for Humanity
Everyone wants a warm place to call home, and Habitat for Humanity helps that dream come true for hundreds in the Ozarks. Volunteers are always needed to help build homes, clean up neighborhoods and serve as coordinators at the Habitat ReStore. Fewer volunteers are likely to show up during the cold winter months, making your donation of time especially important. You can volunteer as an individual or bring in your whole family to spend a day working together and make a home for someone in need.
For survivors of domestic abuse, the holidays can be an especially painful time. Thankfully, Harmony House provides a safe place for those in the Ozarks seeking refuge. No matter your interest, there’s sure to be something you’ll enjoy doing to help out, whether it’s meal preparation, administration, cleaning, landscaping or sorting donations. If you aren’t sure where to start, their volunteer coordinator can help you find an opportunity that best suits your interests and skills. Before volunteering, you must attend an orientation held the second Tuesday of each month.
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