The holidays can get hectic, but it’s important to slow down and remind yourself (and your family) what truly matters. The winter season can be hard for many people, especially those who are sick, struggling financially, and feeling isolated or lonely due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Take this opportunity to teach your kids the importance of giving back. Research and explain what a few local organizations do to help others in the community, then ask your child which charity they would most like to help. Here’s a list of organizations in search of volunteers to help you get started.
Bessie’s Hope launched a “Staying Connected” initiative at the beginning of the lockdown on elder care facilities. Initially, thousands of letters, cards, kids’ drawings, and gifts were delivered, but now things have slowed down. “The isolation and depression has grown within the elder care facilities. This is heartbreaking for those of us at Bessie’s Hope who were already trying to make communities aware that 60% of nursing home elders had no personal visitors,” says Linda Holloway, co-founder and development director at Bessie’s Hope.
Now more than ever, Bessie’s Hope is in need of more letters, cards, and drawings. The cards should be written to one person (Dear Special Person) and can be mailed to Bessie’s Hope, P.O. Box 12675, Denver, CO 80212.
The cards should let the elders know the following:
- They are very valuable and important to the community.
- Their wisdom and life experiences are needed.
- They are appreciated for who they are.
- We are looking forward to spending time with them once it’s safe.
- We are thinking of them and sending them our love.
If you would like to purchase gifts for those who have no family involvement, Bessie’s Hope can provide a Santa’s Wish List. Contact Linda Holloway at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Mount Saint Vincent Home serves children in Denver, ages five to 14, who have experienced some sort of trauma, abuse, or neglect. While each child’s situation is different, some kids live on the property and some are offered in-home services. Aside from housing, therapy programs are offered to the kids, including occupational speech therapy, animal therapy, traditional therapy, and art therapy. The goal is to give each child the skills to better regulate their emotional needs so they can live a happy and successful life.
Volunteer opportunities for those under 18 include setting up clothing and supply drives, writing notes, or making videos to send to the kids. Families interested in supporting the organization can donate gifts for the children that live on the property. Drop unwrapped gifts off at Mount Saint Vincent.
Those over 18 can assist with meal prep in the kitchen, help tackle administrative work, or help with outdoor maintenance projects, like leaf raking or painting. There are typically opportunities to volunteer directly with the kids if you’re over 18, but those programs are on hold due to COVID-19.
Give back to kids who are sick by making something special for the patients at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Although in-person volunteer opportunities are limited, you can still assemble craft kits or make fleece blankets to donate to the hospital. The craft kits will be used for patients to make door decorations for the holidays. Call 720-777-1234 or visit childrenscolorado.org for more information on how you can help.
Provide books, toys, and other gifts to less fortunate kids in the community through Toys for Tots. Choose where to direct your donations (10 cities in Colorado) by visiting toysfortots.org/request_toys. You can also choose a specific age range and toy that you’d like to donate. Toys for Tots will share the gift with a child in need. Find more information here.
If animals have your heart, support MaxFund, a nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter in Denver. In-person volunteer opportunities with MaxFund are currently suspended, but you can still help dogs and cats in need by donating food, treats, toys, and other supplies listed on the rescue’s Amazon Wish List.
Another easy way to give back is by making your Amazon purchases through Amazon Smile. Visit smile.amazon.com and select “The Maxfund, Inc” as your charity of choice. If you remember to start from the www.smile.amazon.com link each time you shop at Amazon, 0.5% of your eligible purchases will be donated to MaxFund. It might sound small, but it doesn’t cost any more to you, and adds up over time.
Project Angel Heart delivers more than 10,000 medically tailored meals to around 1,300 Coloradans who are home-bound due to severe health conditions. The nonprofit has invited families to decorate their meal delivery bags, making for a very simple and safe way to give back from home. A no-contact bag pickup and drop-off location is available in Denver and Colorado Springs. Click here for more information.
Other opportunities include meal delivery, assisting in the kitchen, and helping with distribution.