The holiday season is a time for many of us when our thoughts turn naturally to bringing joy to others, especially children, seniors, and families in need.
Many faiths include giving back as part of their holiday traditions. For Jews, performing a mitzvah means to do a good deed, or charitable act. Many Jewish people even have a tradition of volunteering on Christmas Day. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or are just reflecting on the end of another year, December presents many opportunities for volunteer service.
There’s a tremendous need for volunteers at this time of year. Organizations that count on regular volunteers find it harder to fill those important roles on the holiday. And social service providers see the demand for their services rise as they work to make the holidays joyful for families.
Many older adults find that, especially after retirement, volunteering brings new meaning to their lives – along with new friends and skills. If you’re looking to volunteer during the holidays – whether by yourself or with your family – here are some holiday volunteer ideas:
- Prepare or serve meals at a homeless shelter
- Bring food or thank you cards to first responders – like police officers and firefighters – especially those who have to work on holidays
- Sponsor a needy family by providing a holiday meal or gifts
- Visit a nursing home or assisted living facility and spend time with a senior who can’t be with family
- Check with your synagogue, church, or local religious group – many organize group volunteer activities during the holidays
I know one man who even dressed up as Santa to bring presents to children at a housing community for low-income families.
Every day – including during the holidays – there’s a need for volunteers at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center. Our volunteers transport residents to activities, events, and appointments throughout the building. Volunteers lead card games and discussion groups, help with meals, volunteer in our on-site gift shop, or are simply a friendly visitor for a resident looking to chat. I can assure you that our staff and residents will be incredibly grateful for your time. You can visit our website to view volunteer opportunities with seniors and to sign up to volunteer.
Giving back to our community is a way of life. Donate your time this year, and maybe you’ll start a holiday tradition of your own.
Volunteering at Hebrew SeniorLife
The Hebrew SeniorLife volunteer corps includes over 300 individuals, ranging in age from 16 to 90+. Our volunteers are retirees, professionals, students, family members, and others. We count on our volunteers to improve the quality of our residents' lives in a variety of ways. All of our volunteers receive thorough on-the-job training and supervision and are encouraged to set their own volunteer schedule. You may decide to volunteer days or evenings, an hour or two a week, or once a month - no matter how much time you give, you will make a difference!