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Donate Your Time, Give Back Locally this Holiday Season

There are a countless number of ways to lend a helping hand throughout the holidays as well as all year long.

It's the holiday season, and for many, that means stopping to take a pause from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and counting one's blessings. What better way to do this than by volunteering? Many organizations see a surge in volunteers during this time of year as the request for need grows. Take a look at some ways you can get involved and give back to the community.

  • Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan: By donating money, time or food, you can help ensure that no person goes hungry this Christmas. Food can be donated at food drives throughout the area or at one of the five local Gleaners warehouses. Drop off foods such as canned meats and beans, proteins and cereals. Monetary donations are accepted online at www.gcfb.org. By visiting the website, you can also learn how to take part in an upcoming food drive or food distribution center event.
  • Michigan Humane Society: Help homeless pets feel loved and adored this holiday season as they wait to find their forever homes. MHS has many volunteer opportunities available with positions including dog walker, humane educator, adoption events worker and many more. There are even special ways for kids to help out including making kitty forts, rodent shoe boxes and even organizing a coin drive.
  • American Red Cross: Give the gift of life this holiday season by donating blood at a local drive. The organization distributes the donated blood to about 3,000 hospitals nationally. As the motto of the American Red Cross says, "Give something that means something." To find a blood drive in the area, visit the organization's website.
  • Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County: With volunteer opportunities close to home and across the country, it's easy to pitch in to help this nonprofit organization. Habitat’s mission is to eliminate poverty and ensure that those in need have a place to live, and assist by building decent and affordable homes. You can also help out by donating materials on Habitat’s Wish List. If you prefer to stay indoors, volunteer your time at Habitat’s ReStore, which sells furniture, tools and appliances at a greatly reduced cost. Tasks include floor organization, preparing merchandise and assisting customers.
  • Boys and Girls Club of South Oakland County: With four convenient locations across the area, the Boys and Girls Club serves as a safe place for youth to learn and grow. Work alongside the leaders of tomorrow when you volunteer for a short or long-term position in coaching, tutoring, programming, special events and many other areas. 
  • The Salvation Army: We've all seen the bell ringers accompanied by those bright red kettles each time we walk into a grocery store. Why not become a bell ringer too? There are plenty of shifts in local cities to choose from, just select one that works best for you. Furthermore, the Royal Oak Salvation Army branch at 13 Mile Road and Main Street is also looking for volunteers to assist with its annual Toy Shop distribution and tear-down. To register, contact Katherine Bruner at Katherine_Bruner@usc.salvationarmy.org.

To discover even more ways to donate your time throughout the year, visit volunteermatch.org. The site connects users with local and virtual volunteer opportunities.

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