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Spirit of the Season: 31 Ways to Give Back in 31 Days

11/20/2018 10:28AM

Andy Williams said it’s the most wonderful time of the year. But it’s not wonderful for everyone. Giving back to our community and helping those in need encourages a universal feeling of wonderful. Here’s 31 ways to put partridges in everyone’s pear trees and embrace the spirit of holiday giving for the rest of the season. 


1) Sponsor a needy family and fulfill their wish list or help out wrapping gifts for Adopt a Family of Northern California. adoptafamilynorcal.org/get-involved

2) Host a Mattress Firm Foster Kids Secret Santa Toy Drive through December 16 or a Pajama Drive starting December 17, and make the season a little merrier for foster kids in need. mattressfirmfosterkids.org

3) Start a “reverse advent calendar.” Add food or a household item to a box every day, and at the end of the month, donate it to a local food bank, shelter, or charity of your choice.  

4) Volunteers are needed for PowerHouse Ministries’ Christmas Around Towne event on December 8 at Lakeside Church in Folsom. The all-day celebration is a collaborative community program offering families in crisis or need the opportunity to receive assistance this season with a dignified approach via brunch, a shopping trip, and more. powerhouseministries.ivolunteer.com/cat18 

5) Give blood and then pay it forward and volunteer to help serve refreshments to other blood donors. bloodsource.org/volunteer

6) Go social. Choose a local charity that’s near and dear to your heart and set up a Facebook fundraiser. Encourage your friends and family to contribute whatever they can—every little bit counts!  facebook.com/fundraisers

7) Donate food, funds, or physical labor to Twin Lakes Food Bank, Food Bank of El Dorado County, or the Placer Food Bank and help them with their holiday outreach. foodbankedc.org, placerfoodbank.org/volunteer, twinlakesfoodbank.sustaininggood.com 

8) Bring some joy to Eskaton’s senior community by visiting, reading, and reminiscing with residents. eskaton.org/foundation/volunteer-opportunities.html 

9) Volunteers are needed for Homeless Assistance Resource Team (HART) of Folsom’s Winter Shelter running through March 2019. hartoffolsom.org 

10) Help keep the less fortunate warm this winter by donating to a coat drive. Folsom Car Stereo is accepting donations of new and gently used winter coats through December 31; new coats (infant to adult sizes) are needed for El Dorado County Office of Education’s Fall/Winter Coat Drive, and gently used coats and other items are being accepted for the Military Family Support Group of Placerville. facebook.com/folsomcarstereo, edcoe.org/for-parents/special-projects/coat-drive, mfsgonline.org

Project Linus

11) Sew some cheer! Help Project Linus wrap needy children in homemade blankets and quilts. projectlinus.org/volunteer, 916-804-9625

12) Volunteer at Fat Kitty City, foster a furry friend, or consider adopting a forever friend. fatkittycity.org

13) Donate to Rolling Hills Blue Star Moms and help active troops, veterans, and veterans’ families in need. Sponsor a box for $50 or donate items from the group’s needs list. rollinghillsbluestarmoms.org/care-packages-1.html

14) Buddy the Elf said “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear,” so gather some friends and go caroling!

15) Show your appreciation for your local first responders by bringing homemade treats to your nearest fire or police station. (Oh, and make a LOT—they have big appetites!)

16) NorCal Cocker Rescue in Cameron Park wants you! Volunteer today and surround yourself with cocker spaniels. norcalcockerrescue.org/volunteer

17) Volunteer to be a dog walker, photographer, or groomer, among other jobs, at El Dorado County German Shepherd Rescue. edcgsr.com/jobs

Meals on Wheels

18) Become a driver for your local Meals on Wheels or Senior Nutrition Services and bring good cheer and a warm meal to older adults. mowsac.org/volunteer, seniorsfirst.org/get-involved/volunteer, 530-621-6160

19) Make a difference in the community by donating your time to Marshall Medical Center (junior volunteers are also welcome). marshallmedical.org/volunteer

20) Feel the purr at Fieldhaven Feline Center and become a cat care volunteer, foster a cat in need of TLC, or donate food to their Pet Food pantry. fieldhaven.com/volunteers

21) Donate your elbow grease and volunteer at your local Habitat For Humanity. edchabitat.org/volunteer, foothillshabitat.org 

Deluxe Greeting Card: $4 each or 6 for $20

22) Purchase a gift with meaning from 4 Direction Farm’s Soul Filled Creations. Through the brand, young individuals with disabilities create handcrafted items from start to finish including bath bombs, lip balms, greeting cards, and more. 4directionsfarm.org/soul-filled-creations

23) Double up on compassion: Monetary donations to Rocklin’s Compassion Planet will be doubled through December 31. Help aged-out foster youth and youth from at-risk backgrounds meet their fullest potential. compassionplanet.org

24) Every time a bell rings, an angel gets it wings. Volunteer to be a bell ringer for your local Salvation Army. volunteer.usawest.org/home.aspx

25) Volunteer with St. Vincent de Paul of Roseville and help deliver bags of groceries to homebound seniors and disabled persons in the area. placersvdp.com/how-you-can-help/volunteer

26) Donate new or gently used toys and books to Baby Steps Therapy and help children with autism and developmental disorders. babystepstherapy.com/help-keep-us-going 

27) Volunteer as an adult literacy tutor for PALS (Placer Adult Literacy Service) at one of Placer County’s 11 libraries. placer.ca.gov/departments/library/placeradultliteracy

28) Hold a diaper drive for Lighthouse Counseling & Family Resource Center and help them continue to provide essential family wellness services. lighthousefrc.org/ways-to-help 

29) Start a curbside book exchange in your neighborhood through Little Free Library, or check online and see if there’s one in your area, and donate some books! littlefreelibrary.org

30) Hands4Hope provides holiday inspiration for kids ages 8-18. Volunteer at their annual Winter Boutique or community outreach programs. hands4hopeyouth.org

31) New Year’s Eve is a scary time for pets; consider fostering a dog from one of our local shelters and helping them adjust to a loving environment. foothilldogrescue.org, havendogrescue.org/foster-application, placerspca.org/volunteer-home/foster   


by Sharon Penny


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