National Family Volunteer Day is held the Saturday before Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday season with giving and service. It is a great day to enjoy the benefits of family volunteering! Volunteering is a wonderful way for families to spend quality time together and expand their horizons by volunteering with and serving others. Volunteering is filled with “teachable moments,” and also provides a way for children to fulfill school community service requirements and develop leadership skills. Volunteering as a family can help inspire a lifetime of service and to being an active member of the community.
United Ways and other organizations provide special opportunities just for families to volunteer together to help create a better life for all. United Way of Greater Portland in Maine has about 50 family volunteers coming to its office to create literacy game kits, personal greeting cards for Meals on Wheels, meal bags for the local food pantry and centerpieces for the Wayside Food Programs Community Thanksgiving meal, which serves over 300 each year on Thanksgiving. United Way of Greater Chattanooga is hosting its second annual Family Volunteer Day at a busy local shopping mall. Family-friendly volunteer projects include transforming soup cans into flower pots that will be donated to local elderly care facilities, making pine cone bird feeders, writing and decorating Holiday Mail for Heroes that will go to deployed service men and women, and packing kits for the homeless community. Last year 250-300 families attended, and the projects have been expanded to accommodate more family volunteers this year.
Family volunteering seems like a good holiday tradition to start or continue. Your local United Way can connect you to family-oriented opportunities, or you can plan your own. Contact your local place of worship, shelter or other organization serving the needy, to see if your family can organize a collection of food or clothing or prepare meals. Learn more about family volunteering, and let us know how your family is volunteering this holiday season!