First thing’s first: when it comes to volunteering, the more the merrier.
Though there are plenty of soup kitchens that will be happy to have you lending a hand, volunteering around Christmastime opens up even more ways to give your time.
If you haven’t already figured out how you want to make a difference this holiday season, we have nine suggestions just waiting for you to step up:
Lookout Emergency Aid Society
Lookout Emergency Aid Society is a major downtown caregiver during the holidays to those who find themselves without shelter. They are seeking volunteers specifically for Christmas Day celebrations where you can help give out gifts, assist Santa, actually be Santa if you like (make sure you practice your ho ho ho), as well as help to prepare and serve up delicious holiday meals.
Greater Vancouver Food Bank
Experiencing an increase in donations during the month of December, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank is looking for volunteers to donate their time. Positions include individual and group opportunities, meaning you can make it a fun way to give back with some friends or co-workers.
Vancouver Friends For Life Society
Friends For Life offers complementary and alternative health support to people living with life-threatening illness. Volunteering with Friends For Life Society includes a ‘host’ position where duties include greeting guests, managing appointment bookings, and making sure everyone’s having a great time.
Canadian Cancer Society
If you’re naturally skilled with bows and wrap, the Canadian Cancer Society brings on cheerful volunteers this holiday season to wrap gifts at shopping centres around the city. Those who sign up for gig will also be acting as ambassadors for the organization.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is always looking for a helping hand. Positions vary from answering phones, sorting clothes, and – you’ve seen this before – ringing Christmas kettles. The Salvation Army kicks of the holiday season with a fun event for volunteers, donors, and the community, and continues on with festivities throughout the season.
Oppenheimer Park Christmas Dinner
Taking place on Saturday December 20th, the annual Christmas Dinner at Oppenheimer Park is in its 26th year (NBD). Volunteers gather to serve turkey dinner to over 3,500 people in the Downtown Eastside – that’s a lot of turkey. Many in need will also receive clothing and toiletries.
Christmas Inside And Out Vancouver
Christmas Inside And Out Vancouver is looking for donations and volunteers to hand out stockings in the Downtown Eastside. There’s a wish list with items that are most needed and volunteers are encouraged to get involved as a group. You can even fill your own stockings to be given out. Every fire hall in the city will also have a CIAO Van drop off bin to make giving even easier.
Aunt Leah’s Christmas Tree Lot
Aunt Leah’s Independent Lifeskills Society has a variety of volunteer opportunities but during the Christmas season, they specifically look for volunteers with strong physical health to help with the sales of Christmas trees at their four lots throughout the Lower Mainland. Aunt Leah’s Place helps prevent children in foster care from becoming homeless, and mothers in need from losing custody of their children.
Union Gospel Mission
From their 365 Days of Meals program served at 2pm and 6:30pm daily to the Mobile Mission program that offers support to those facing extreme challenges, Union Gospel is always interested in those who want to take action and help those who are struggling with addiction and living on the streets.