By: Laura Zablit
United Way Bay Area needs your heart, your hands, and your willingness to help, all throughout the year in various volunteer opportunities. Join us as we consider this holiday season: what is our role in ensuring that our community and our residents who are struggling or living in fear can continue to get the help they need? How can each of us help?
If you want to feel fuzzy with your friends, galvanize your coworkers, support our crucial poverty-fighting initiatives and help change the lives of thousands of vulnerable Bay Area folks this holiday season, you can . . .
Blast some Bing Crosby and light up the fireplace to inspire you and your friends as you create personalized handmade cards with encouraging messages to give to Meals on Wheels clients. (Please contact us to receive a copy of the project instructions).
Our program, SparkPoint, provides low-income residents with financial coaching, career counseling and more at 15 family-friendly locations. Using a wishlist system, work with your team to purchase gifts for UWBA’s SparkPoint clients. Once you have assembled the gifts, volunteers decorate and program an interactive holiday event at their local SparkPoint center and distribute their gifts to the families in need.
Put that family from out-of-town to work! Buy large ziplock plastic bags (with a zipper closure, please) and fill them with any of the following items: glue sticks, erasable colored pencils, pens, pencils, rulers, scissors, washable markers, notebooks. Not only are you keeping the family busy while you handle your holiday to-do list, but you’re building capacity for local teachers to provide their utmost for disadvantaged students.
Team up with co-workers, friends, and family to assemble reading materials for local families. Requests for donations work best when paired with fresh gingerbread cookies.
Call everyone to the break room, break out the peppermint hot cocoa, and get down to business filling small plastic bags (with a zipper closure, please) with any of the following travel size items: body wash, comb, razor, shampoo and soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, washcloth, and band-aids.
Never enough backpacks. Collect backpacks and school supplies so every kid starts the school year with the supplies they need to succeed. We make use of these all year long, and are always in need.
Never enough socks! Socks of any style or color, from infant to adult sizes. A low-pressure way for everyone at the office to contribute to the giving spirit. New socks only, of course.
Organize your own drive as part of the Family Giving Tree’s Holiday Wish Drive. You choose the “wish cards” your organization would like to sponsor (each wish card represents the wishes and needs of a specific child in need in the Bay Area). When you receive them in the mail, post them by the water-cooler (or the eggnog fountain), and send out friendly reminders. Your thirsty co-workers look at the cards, choose one, and purchase a gift for the child in need.
Contact Lori Alkire (email@example.com or 415-808-4336) if you want to help with any of these volunteer opportunities, and check back on our volunteer page for opportunities all year long!