Volunteering is a fun and rewarding way to connect with your kids and your community! My family and I try to volunteer when we can throughout the year, but the holidays are always an easy time to volunteer with many opportunities available. Here are ten ways you can volunteer with your family in Collin County throughout the holidays and beyond. Some are very simple while others are a little more detailed, but all are worthwhile and will bring a smile to someone in need!
Host a Toy or Gift Card Drive for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children)
You can host a gift card drive any time of the year to support CASA children. They suggest gift cards from places like Target, Wal-Mart, and Kohl’s. These gift cards can help provide needed supplies or celebrate special occasions for kids. You can also purchase an item from the online wish list for the toy drive. You and your kids can reach out to your church, your moms group, your kids’ school or sports team, or your neighborhood to collect these items for CASA.
Host a Food Drive for Frisco Fastpacs
Did you know that for some kids the meals they eat at school are the only ones they get every day? To ensure that no child has to go hungry when school is out, this wonderful organization provides individual pre-packed bags that includes enough food for seven meals for a qualifying child to eat at home. You can help by hosting a food drive and gathering to pack them in bags, or you can take your donations to the warehouse and help stock their shelves. Click here to see a list of food items that they collect.
Collect items to take to The Little Free Pantry
The Little Free Pantry is a grassroots solution to immediate and local needs. One is located in downtown McKinney, and it is an easy way to give back to the community. One fun idea is to put together Birthday Bags. These bags can include cake mix, icing, birthday candles, and maybe some party favors. A little Happy Birthday note would be fun, too!
Put together shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child
This is one of my family’s favorites! Every year we put together shoeboxes full of special items to send to children in need around the world. We let the kids pick out what items they want to include in their box, and then they get to make cards for each box. This is a great way for the little ones to get involved. Shoebox Collection Week is November 14-21. Click here to see drop off locations in Collin County.
Put together bedtime bags for homeless children through Project Night Night
We did something similar to this with my FIT4MOM mom’s group, and it was a huge success! The moms brought a white pillow case, a stuffed animal, a small blanket, and a children’s book. We then had the kids decorate the cases, and we stuffed the bags with the bedtime items. We donated them to the Samaritan Inn, and they went to the kids at the shelter. Some of the kids had never had their own comfort items for bedtime, so it put a smile on all their little faces! The Project Night Night organization is not based in Texas, but you can coordinate your own local Adopt a Night Night Package Program within Collin County. Here is more info on how to do that!
Adopt an Angel with the Love Life Foundation “Angels” Drive
The Love Life Foundation is an organization that helps at risk women and children help break the cycle of abuse. They have different charity events and ways you can donate. This November and December you can participate in their Adopt an Angel Drive. You can pick up your Angel at The Sanctuary in McKinney, November 29-December 17.
Volunteer with your local animal shelter
From fostering pets with the Plano Animal Shelter or the Legacy Humane Society to donating items to the Allen Animal Shelter, there are plenty of family friendly opportunities for the animal lovers out there!
The Samaritan Inn: Bagged Lunch Brigade or Sponsor and Serve a Meal
The Samaritan Inn provides thousands of meals every year to their residents. One of the ways they do this is provide bagged lunches for the residents to take to school and work. You can help put the bags together, or if you would rather contribute the items necessary to make the lunches, that’s even better! You can also sponsor a meal at the shelter and serve that sponsored meal with your family. Volunteers need to be 6 years old or over.
The Samaritan Inn: Work Day
Gather your family or a group that you are involved with and come to work on special, as-needed projects such as yard work, sorting donations, resident parties and crafts, kids’ activities, helping at Inn Style Resale or special events. Ages vary depending on project, but volunteers as young as 6 are encouraged for group projects. .
The Samaritan Inn: Gateway Apartment
This is my most favorite volunteer opportunity. When a resident graduates from The Samaritan Inn program, they can apply to live at the Gateway Apartments, the only transitional housing facility in Collin County. Last year my family and I had the honor of adopting an apartment that we completely stocked and furnished for a sweet mom and her three boys. We enlisted the help of our family and friends, and together we put together the cutest apartment for this deserving family. It was by far the best experience that I have ever been a part of, and the look in the eyes of those boys when they saw their room for the first time was priceless. I loved that my kids got to be a part of this experience that they will never forget.
*To volunteer at The Samaritan Inn you need to attend an informational session to get the process started. Please call or text the Volunteer Hotline at (214) 449-4433 or email: [email protected] for more information.