Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gifting, Part Three: Six Ways to Volunteer

How and where you can give your time this season.

By Allie Oosta December 13, 2011

Want to volunteer but can’t wrap a gift to save your life? YouTube will help.

’Tis the season for giving back—but where? Consult this list for Seattle-based nonprofits, charities, shelters, and more, that could benefit from your time this year.

If you’re good at talking on the phone…
Make Sure Seattle Residents Have Heat for the Holidays This volunteer opportunity involves four hours of calling citizens who are just a few steps away from receiving City of Seattle benefits, like help with their utilities and heat, but haven’t completed their applications. Help them finish the process; start by registering at the United Way of King County website. Dec 15 from 3 to 7. 18 and up, or 15 and up with an adult.

If you’re proud of your gift-wrapping skills…
Wrap Presents at the Northgate Mall All proceeds from this event benefit the Family Emergency Services fund, a program that helps families of children with cancer with food, utilities, and transportation. No gift-wrapping experience necessary (although, hey, try your best). Shifts from 9:30–7:30, thru Dec 24.

If you’re a whiz at packing a car…
Repack Food for Shelters and Food Banks Food Lifeline receives bulk food donations that need to be repackaged and labeled before they’re sent to over 300 shelters and food banks in Western Washington. To help, all you need are some solid, closed-toe shoes and a warm coat. Shoreline. Dec 27 from 6 to 8.

If you’re strong…
Retrieve and Organize Holiday Donations The YWCA of King County and Snohomish County will receive lots of donations this month for local families living in poverty. They need volunteers to carry 10–25 lb. packages throughout the day, organize them, and be a cheerful "ambassador" to people dropping off donations. Dec 15 & 16. Wear comfortable, close-toed shoes.

If you like to cook…
Cook for the Homeless FareStart delivers food to shelters and homeless programs across Seattle. Volunteer to chop or peel vegetables, and prepare meals like lasagna. Jan 8, 10:30–2:30.

If you’re crafty…
Be a Greeting Card Maker The Meals on Wheels folks need homemade thank you’s and get well cards for their amazing volunteers. Mail to Senior Services, Inc. Attnetion Leslie Smith 2895 Shorefair Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27105

Visit these websites for more volunteer opportunities:
Share Our Strength: Seattle Soup Kitchens
Volunteer in King County: Food Bank Volunteers Wanted
United Way of King County: Adopt-a-Family or Donate

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