Volunteer opportunities abundant during holidays

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Volunteers gather together for Sub for Santa, a project which allows groups or individuals to sponsor a local family around Christmas time. (United Way of Utah County)

Some people begin to recognize how fortunate they are and decide to share their time, resources and talents with others throughout the season of giving. Utah is the No. 1 state for volunteer rates and volunteer hours per resident, according to a ranking supplied by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Claire Warnick, volunteer coordinator for the United Way of Utah County, acknowledged the influx of volunteers during the holidays. She said the holidays remind people that their own needs are being met and they can instead give to people in their community.

“The holidays are a great time for people to appreciate what they have. I think it’s definitely a time for introspection and to enjoy abundance,” Warnick said. “It’s a motivator I think for them to give back.”

Warnick also said students who begin volunteering over the holidays can continue their service after festivities end.

Honestly the longer that you volunteer, the more time that you give to a volunteer opportunity, the bigger impact you’re going to have,” Warnick said. “You’re going to build relationships with people and see long-term the impact that your service is giving.” 

BYU business strategies student Robby Peckham has taken time in the past to play Christmas carols at an assisted living facility. Peckham, a Y-Wishes volunteer, said “there is nothing more fulfilling” than volunteer work.

“You can choose to do whatever you want with your time,” Peckham said. “Choosing to make a difference will make the biggest difference in your own life. If you think you need it then do it, but remember the people you serve need it even more.”

Volunteering gives people “a better sense of the community at large,” according to Warnick.

“Volunteering helps you break out of that mindset and to help you see the strengths in the community, the opportunities in the community, and get to know people that you wouldn’t necessarily meet normally in your classes,” Warnick said. 

Brent Crane, executive director of the Food and Care Coalition in Provo, Utah, emphasized the essential nature of volunteers at the Coalition whose volunteer work “equates to (that of) 24 full-time equivalent employees.”

“Without the help of our student, corporate, church, and families, our agency could not offer the full complement of services needed by our homeless community,” Crane said in an email. “Volunteers help us minimize budgetary demands, enhance the quality of services offered, and sharpen our vision for the future.”

Listed below are local volunteer opportunities, both holiday-oriented and ongoing, as provided by the United Way of Utah County:

Food and Care Coalition

Christmas bags are being put together for clients who are enduring hardships. Bags can include holiday treats, winter clothing, cards, tissues, journals and more. Call Courtney at (801) 373-1825 to donate items or for more information.

Habitat for Humanity

Volunteers will help wrap presents for a gift-wrapping fundraiser at Provo Towne Center Mall from Dec. 17 – Dec. 24. Contact LeAnn at (801) 344-8527 or info@habitatuc.com to get involved.

Angel Tree

Volunteer as one of “Santa’s elves” by sorting and delivering donations to different local family groups. Visit volunteer.unitedwayuc.org and click on “Angel Tree” for more information.

Sub for Santa volunteers organize gifts for children throughout Utah County. (United Way of Utah County)

Sub for Santa

Sign up to Sub for Santa by providing books, clothing, and gifts to local Utah families.  BYU Y-Serve needs volunteers for 10 workshops throughout November and December. They are usually from 4:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays. If interested, email subforsanta@byu.edu.

Now I Can

Create gift packages or wrap gifts for families whose children are in physical therapy. Contact Tracey at (801) 376-4588 for more information.

South Franklin Community Center

Strengthen the local community by sponsoring a holiday party for local families. If interested, call Sandra at (801) 695-5319.

Centro Hispano

Spanish-language children’s books and hygiene items are being accepted. Call (801) 655-0258 for more information.

 

 

Click for locations of volunteer opportunities in Utah County. (Karenna Meredith)

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