Close
Please rotate your device to portrait mode to sign up.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Close
Please rotate your device to portrait mode to login
Welcome Back!
  Show Password
Forgot My Password
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Philanthropy
November 8, 2021

Guide to Giving Back This Holiday Season: 2021 Edition

Post By:
Abigail Axelrod-Wunderman
Founder and Chief Insight Officer
Useful Views Philanthropy
Guest Contributor:

The holiday season is quickly approaching. While you are thinking about the many gifts to buy for family and friends and the list of celebrations to attend, something else to add to your holiday "to-do" list could be a volunteer day or a special holiday donation to your favorite charity. Often, the holiday season brings additional needs to the community, and with the current pandemic, this has never been more true. Volunteering or donation collections create a great opportunity to engage with your family and friends in a meaningful way and support your local community at the same time. I've rounded up a list of South Florida organizations and events to help you and your family give the greatest gift this holiday season: your time and compassion.

Join our community for member-exclusive content

Learn more about our community

Why is volunteering important?

In short, volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. You are provided a direct learning opportunity about how other citizens live in your city, county, or even neighborhood. Volunteering could open new social networks for you and get you to explore new places. Not to mention, stepping away from the stresses of your day-to-day life and promoting the well-being and care of others could lower your stress levels, make you happier, and benefit you and your family's sense of purpose.

While volunteering offers many positive benefits, there is also a real piece to it. Some people are not fully prepared for the reality that sinks in when working at a homeless shelter, an assisted living facility, or children's hospital. Make sure to spend time, either for yourself or your family, considering the type of volunteer opportunities you choose. Spend time discussing with family and friends why this area of work is essential to you and how you are helping your community. This exercise will help reinforce your commitment and help you with the reality of what you will experience while volunteering. And who knows? Maybe you will inspire others to join you!

There are a myriad of places to volunteer or donate items. Some of the highlights below include large and small charities throughout Palm Beach County looking for help. Not local to Palm Beach County? No problem – many larger organizations have chapters across the tri-county area and the country and offer similar opportunities for volunteering and donating during the holiday season.

Adopt-A-Family

  • Mission: To strengthen families with children in their efforts to achieve stability and self-sufficiency by providing access to all-encompassing services.
  • Each year this organization puts on a holiday-themed fundraising opportunity called Holiday Adopter program. Holiday Adopters support families during the holiday season as they work towards stability. You can provide tangible support to families who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford holiday gifts in two ways: 1. Donate money to purchase gift cards to give parents the joy of selecting holiday gifts for their children or 2. Purchase gifts for each family member directly from their wish list. Learn more by visiting their website here or email Maria Evangelista at mevangelista@aafpbc.org.

Boca Helping Hands

  • Mission: Boca Helping Hands provides food, medical and financial assistance to meet basic human needs as well as education, job training, and guidance to create self-sufficiency.
  • Thanksgiving Box Brigade program provides community members with a turkey and a box filled with everything a family needs to prepare Thanksgiving Dinner. With adding the fifth distribution in Delray Beach, the organization needs your help to prepare 3,000-holiday meal boxes this year for local families. Check out their website to get involved.

ChildNet

  • Mission: To protect abused, abandoned, and neglected children in the communities we serve.
  • There are volunteer opportunities in Palm Beach and Broward Counties to help sort, organize and distribute toys/gift cards to the kids/families. They have a Thanksgiving Basket Drive as well as a Holiday Toy Drive.

Children's Foundation of Palm Beach County

  • Mission: To identify and fund projects to assist at-risk children and their families in Palm Beach County.
  • The annual Holiday Shopping Event to benefit the kids from Boys and Girls Club of Palm Beach county takes place on December 18. Learn more about getting involved here

Children's Home Society of Florida (CHS)

  • Mission: To build bridges to success for children.
  • As you make your holiday lists to Santa, Chanukah Charlie, or the like, consider granting a few Wishlist items to CHS. There are also several ways to volunteer.

Feeding South Florida

  • Mission: To end hunger in South Florida by providing immediate access to nutritious food, leading hunger and poverty advocacy efforts, and transforming lives through innovative programming and education
  • While they may not have a holiday-themed event, they do have a year-round "Kids Corner," helping to promote the importance of introducing kids to philanthropy at a young age. For kids aged 5+, there are food drives, youth ambassador programs, and ways to bring the whole family together for "family philanthropy days."

In Jacob's Shoes

  • Mission: To provide new and gently used shoes, school supplies, and athletic gear to local children in need.
  • While this organization does not have anything holiday-specific, they offer year-round opportunities to volunteer and donate items. Likewise, this organization grants to camps, aftercare, sports, and enrichment programs for under-resourced children.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center

  • Mission: To promote conservation of ocean ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles.
  • Kid-friendly and adorable – this sea turtle adoption package could make the perfect gift for those hard-to-please family members. Options include basic, enhanced, and deluxe adoption packages. Shoppers can consider "adopting a nest" and "name a hatchling" containers, as well as purchasing a giant sea turtle adoption. Learn more here.

Meals on Wheels

  • Mission: Nourish and enrich the lives of homebound seniors by delivering fresh food daily with compassion and love.
  • If you are looking for a way to volunteer during the holiday season and then sustain the commitment, Meals on Wheels programs could be a perfect fit. They provide training for all volunteers, and there are several areas to assist, including food prep, meal delivery, office/admin work, special events, and more. Learn more here.
  • A fun event right around the corner is "Pie it Forward," the organization's Fall fundraiser and a great way to get those Thanksgiving pies!

Quantum House

  • Mission: Quantum House is a caring and supportive home that lessens the burden for families whose children are receiving treatment in Palm Beach County for a serious medical condition.
  • Quantum House encourages volunteering around all sorts of holidays. So, if the winter holidays are too busy for you, consider getting on their list for Valentine's Day! Learn more here.

The Lord's Place

  • Mission: To breaking the cycle of homelessness by providing innovative, compassionate and effective services to men, women and children in our community.
  • The organization's annual Ending Homelessness Breakfast every November is an emotional storytelling journey into the lives of community residents who have fallen on hard times and have or are currently being supported by TLP.

The Salvation Army

  • Mission: To preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
  • Multiple sites operate an Angel Tree Christmas program as well as regional Toys Shops. This allows a community member, whether in Palm Beach or St. Lucie County, to buy a gift for a child. The case managers at the Salvation Army will ensure the free present gets to a needy family. Help is offered in Spanish too. They also have Turkeys at Thanksgiving, thrift shops to buy games, and more. Various social services are run.

Temple - Israel

  • Mission: To be a community mindful of the idea that each and every individual is created in the image of God, and believe that welcoming all Jews and their families strengthens the Jewish people.
  • The organization has a year-round food pantry and volunteer program. Volunteers assist with unpacking delivered cartons of food, organizing and stocking the shelves, preparing the grocery bags for distribution, greeting and registering clients, and managing data entry of recipients. Learn more and get involved here.

Toys for Tots Palm Beach County

  • Mission: To collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November, and December each year and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.
  • Championed by the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve, this annual toy drive is a fun way to engage children in giving back during the holiday season. As they make out their holiday "wish list," ask them to make a wish list for a child in need and then go shopping together for the items. The main center for PBC is in West Palm Beach. Toys, ranging from dolls, trucks, cars, games, books, video games, tablets, and more, can be provided to children under 13. Learn more about the needs here.

Urban Youth Impact

  • Mission: To love, equip and empower inner-city youth to fulfill their God-given purpose.
  • Help run the Family Christmas Celebration. While this year's event is said to be fully committed for volunteers, you can keep this on your radar for next year. This is a massive event in West Palm Beach and one where you can include your kiddos too.

Not seeing something that is of interest to you? Check out this fantastic resource, Community Angel Network (CAN), a college student at UF founded. You can review her volunteer directory by selecting your focus area of interest. A list of nonprofits providing volunteer opportunities is generated. Click on the "Ways to Help" button, and you are navigated directly to the nonprofit's volunteer opportunities/open positions.

Volunteering and even gathering donation items can take time. As you organize your time to do more for your community, remember a little generosity goes a long way. Saying hello to people as you pass by or smiling at others can brighten someone's day. Holding the door or helping someone cross the street is also a basic kindness that is priceless. As the holiday season approaches, look for different ways to spread the cheer and the compassion.