Volunteer Opportunities For Christmas

Want to spread the true meaning of love and hope this Christmas? Gather your family together and volunteer.

Christmas is a time of hope and merriment for millions of families across the world. Kids wait eagerly for Christmas day to rip open their gifts while their parents sit huddled on the sofa, warmed by the fire and sipping on hot chocolate. Christmas means family and love, but for many people, Christmas does not offer such hope. Children lie sick in hospitals suffering from illnesses we can not even imagine. The elderly wait eagerly in their homes for friends and family who will never visit, and the homeless pray for a meal and a warm place to sleep for the night. The true meaning of Christmas is not in the giving and receiving of expensive gifts; it is in the giving and receiving of love. Show your true Christmas spirit this year and take time out to volunteer for those who are less fortunate than you.

* Organizations like the Salvation Army often sponsor programs whereby a family or individual can "adopt" an angel. The angel is usually a small child from a low-income family who needs basic essentials like clothes and shoes. The angel creates a wish list that their adoptive families or individuals do their best to fulfill. This is a way to bring some Christmas joy to a child who may never have had a real Christmas before.

* Many organizations and churches offer services where one family can adopt an entire family for Christmas. The adoptive family can buy gifts or a Christmas dinner for the less fortunate family. In the same thread, many families can adopt a soldier for Christmas, as well. Many soldiers are stationed in various parts of the country far from their homes and have no chance to fly home for Christmas. Your family can invite one of these "stranded" soldiers over for Christmas dinner. Talk to a local military branch to see if any of these programs are allowed or sponsored in your area.

* Have a Girl or Boy Scout Troop or a family that loves to sing? Get out the Christmas music sheets and belt out carols for local retirement homes or hospital wards. On that same note, have your troop or family create homemade Christmas cards for the sick or elderly (or to the troops) to distribute on Christmas day.

* Some organizations make a call for volunteers to help wrap donated gifts to be distributed to needy families over the Christmas holidays. You can choose to donate your wrapping skills or your car to help transport gifts to different families.

* Help the local hospice or meal-on-wheels organization distribute the Christmas dinners this year. You can help prepare the actual meals or donate your time and car to transport the meals to the elderly or sick.

* During the Christmas holidays, local shelters usually sponsor a Christmas dinner for the homeless. After having your own Christmas dinner, round up your family to help serve the less fortunate on this special day.

* Scour through Martha Stewart magazines or old craft books for Christmas-inspired crafts and buy enough supplies to have a hospital ward of children or a retirement home ward make crafts or ornaments with you and your family.

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