Brighten up the Holidays by Volunteering
As the holiday season approaches, Omahans will be looking for a way to give back to their community.
United Way helps connect would-be volunteers with a myriad of service opportunities that best match a volunteer’s talents and interest. For instance, volunteers could deliver holiday goodies around Omaha, visit hospice patients, or even teach refugee women how to crochet. However you wish to serve this holiday season, United Way can provide a connection to a meaningful, rewarding volunteer opportunity.
Traveling around Omaha, it’s hard to miss the bell-ringers outside of retail stores. Those Salvation Army red kettles signify hope for countless Omahans.
“Our tree of lights campaign is in full swing,” said Susan Eustice, Divisional Director of PR & Communications for the Salvation Army. “Right now we mainly need volunteers to step up and man a kettle.”
Proceeds from the tree of lights campaign help support 25 social service programs in our community. The campaign will continue until Dec. 24 and has a goal of raising $3.1 million. Also, the Mutual of Omaha Foundation will donate $1 for every person up to 20,000 people who “likes” the Tree of Lights Facebook page. Citizens can also text “Good” to 27722 to make a $10 donation to the campaign.
A lesser-known volunteer opportunity can be found in Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, a nonprofit organization that pairs volunteers with elders in our community. Volunteers are matched with elders with whom they share something in common.
These elders often have no one to care for them and may suffer from loneliness and physical hardship, but spending time with volunteers can lift their spirits, alleviate their loneliness and improve their health. Volunteers are especially needed during the holiday season. Visit the Little Brothers website or call (402)-884-6641 to volunteer.
For those that would like to turn their holiday volunteering gig into something more permanent, there are ample opportunities to do so. There is a pressing need for skilled, long-term and diverse volunteers in our community. No matter where they serve, volunteers can speak with their volunteer coordinator to craft an ongoing opportunity that matches their talents and interests. As with any job, prospective long-term volunteers may have to pass a background check.
“The simplest gesture that you can do to let someone know you care is to give them the greatest gift that you have, which is your time,” said Jamie Moore, vice president of Volunteer and Community Services for United Way of the Midlands.
Plus, volunteering is “a part of who we are as a country,” Moore added.
Salvation Army Volunteer Coordinator Ginger Noel concurred, citing endless service opportunities in Omaha.
“When people in the community reach out to share their talents, skills and experiences, it speaks volumes,” Noel said.