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END-OF-THE-YEAR VOLUNTEER IDEAS

It’s that time of year when we look at the calendar with a bit of astonishment. How did the year go by so quickly? And if you didn’t quite make your volunteering resolutions a reality this year, don’t worry. There’s still time to give back. Here are eight acts of volunteerism you can fit in before the end of the year.

Do a drive 

There is so much need now. With a little outreach and planning, you can help organizations meet that need. From food and clothing to diapers and books, spreading the word among your family, friends and community members may result in a stockpile of items that local organizations can put to good use. Check Create the Good’s do-it-yourself guides to find out how to organize a coat or food drive. And get ideas to promote your event here.

Read to the room

Reading to children has been shown to boost brain development. Plus, it’s just fun. Contact your local library and volunteer to read during their children’s story time. Or, if you have a young child in your family or friend circle, volunteer to read their class. Be sure to check the facility’s health and safety requirements. Some may offer opportunities to read virtually.

Help a neighbor in need

Whether it’s a senior citizen who needs help with lawn mowing or with snow removal or a sick friend who could use a meal or a ride to the grocery store, put your do-good powers to use by offering a helping hand to someone who needs it. They’ll appreciate the help, and you’ll feel great. If the need is ongoing, consider whether you can help the individual access benefits to which they’re entitled.

Give of yourself

Every two seconds in the U.S., someone needs a blood transfusion. And the need for blood donors is especially acute during the holiday season. Sign up to donate blood, register to become an organ donor, or join the life-saving list of bone marrow registry volunteers.

Offer respite to a caregiver

More than three in 10 households in the U.S. has an unpaid caregiver. Research shows that caregivers are at risk for burnout and stress-related issues. You can help by giving them a break. Offer to watch children or elderly family members to let caregivers have some time to themselves.

Make a difference in minutes 

Volunteering doesn’t have to take a lot of time. In fact, you can give your time in short intervals and still make a difference. Crowd4U is a website that uses the power of crowdsourcing to make a difference. Use it to draw attention to causes that are important to you or get involved with the tasks that are already on the site. Websites like Create the Good® and Do Something have myriad ideas and opportunities to get involved.

Gift your gifts

The holidays are a time when people express their love through generosity and gifts. But do we really need more stuff? Why not ask family and friends to donate to your favorite cause in lieu of a gift for the holidays? The money they would have spent on a gift goes to help someone else, plus it’s always the perfect fit.

Find a cause close to your heart

Now is a great time to set yourself up for successful volunteering next year. Spend some time researching causes with which you’d like to get involved and contact them to find out what they need. Do your homework and vet the organization so you can dive in after the new year begins.

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