If you’ve been seized by the holiday spirit and are looking for a place to offer your time and energy, we’ve got your back, checking with several local charities to see where extra hands are needed (and where they aren’t).
If your altruistic attention this season is focused on the homeless, you should check in with Episcopal Community Services, one of the city’s most prolific assistance organizations. Their shelter Sanctuary is located on 8th and Howard streets, but they have several other sites throughout the city where there is a need for volunteers in the days just before and after Christmas. Volunteers are mostly needed to help serve meals throughout the following week. Meal shifts run from about 4 to 6:30 p.m. You can sign up to volunteer here.
Dinner servers are also in demand at the St. Vincent De Paul society. The dinner shift there is from 3 to 6 p.m., and volunteers are needed for the 24th, 25th, 28th, 30th, 31st and 1st. For the earlybirds among you, St Vincent also needs breakfast assistants on the 27th, 28th 30th to the 1st — that shift goes from 6 to 8 a.m. You can check additional shifts and other opportunities here.
Wrapping up the dinner list, La Casa de Las Madres will host a dinner on Dec. 23rd at one of their housing facilities with a small number of remaining volunteer positions. You can inquire about those shifts by emailing their community education and volunteer program manager Laia Gasa at email@example.com.
The holidays are a popular time to volunteer, however, and several local charities are already well taken care of in terms of volunteers. Martin de Porres House of Hospitality, for example, is fully staffed for the holidays and usually only accepts year-round volunteers for those special occasions anyhow. Pets Are Wonderful Support is also full up on volunteers, and most holiday positions at the SPCA filled up in October.
Nonetheless, several charities are looking for donations during the holidays.
Laia Gasa, the volunteer manager at La Casa, said the organization encourages people to donate food for their Christmas dinners at the housing facility at 1040 Bush street, where food donations are accepted at reception.
PAWS, too, is in need of pet food donations — in particular canned and dry cat food, dog kibble, and cat litter. A flyer with preferred brands can be downloaded here. Much the same for the SPCA, which is always in need of towels, leashes, blankets, chewies, and other basic pet necessities. Specific needs are listed on its site as well as updated on an Amazon wishlist, whence generous buyers can have the items shipped directly to the SPCA’s Alabama and 16th street site.
If it’s the arts you’re looking to support, Dance Mission Theater is looking for donations to help it weather a $20,000 rent increase. The Bay Bridged, an independent music blog that also organizes the annual Phono Del Sol music festival, has had a rough year and is looking for donations, offering a variety of perks in exchange.
If you know of another group that needs some extra helping hands during the holidays, or an organization in dire need of a Christmas miracle, let us know!