Offering helpful hands during the holidays

Elizabeth Alexander, Trending Editor

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The holiday of Thanksgiving is an opportunity for friends and family to come together, catch up and eat to their hearts content. This is the case for many holidays if anything. However, some families find themselves at a disadvantage due to finances, and privileged individuals will probably want to go out of their way to help. Volunteering is effective, but only if one plans it just right and does their research.

Plan ahead of time. Some people will assume they can simply ask the day before the holiday when they can come in. Rather than doing that, it is deemed smarter to call ahead of time and volunteer before the holidays to prove that you are a reliable individual to help those in need during the holidays. Calling and working two weeks ahead of time is advised. This is encouraged by the fact that sometimes organizations can grow overwhelmed with the sheer number of people volunteering, especially during the holidays.

Become experienced. Having experience in volunteer work in general is a great asset to have. Training and orienting a new volunteer when it comes to the environment and materials they are working with can actually take up quite a bit of time and actually costs the organization money to do that.

Check your calendar for other holidays. Several charities serve during Thanksgiving, yes, but it is actually often the minor holidays where organizations need the most help. Other holidays such as Veterans Day and Independence Day is where charities request more volunteers. Hunger is not a problem that only takes place during the holidays, either: families in need always appreciate a helping a hand all year round.

Expand your horizon. Volunteering at soup kitchens is just the tip of the iceberg. An organization often overlooked during the holidays is emergency shelters that house individuals running from problematic families or relationships, and these are still incredibly active during the holidays. If anything, activity flares for youth hostels and underage runaway facilities for kids escaping abusive families during the holidays. Allow yourself to branch out and find various charities and organizations to volunteer for. If one organization says they’re fun, don’t just give up and say you tried. Call several charities and show that you are flexible and truly willing to help those in need.

Be sensitive. Understand that those around you are those who are at a disadvantage. Allow your outer shell to soften when it comes to understanding that the people around you are struggling, and allow yourself to be that smiling face and helping hand that those individuals need in their lives at that moment. Some have lost houses, families, possessions and money, and what they need is a kind soul and maybe even an ear to listen to them.

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Offering helpful hands during the holidays