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Give Thanks by Giving Back

November 18th is National Family Volunteer Day and we can’t think of a better way to kick off the holiday season than giving back to your local community! Even better, make it a family affair. Volunteering as a family teaches children the importance of giving back and reminds everyone what the holiday season is all about. Here are some ways you can get your entire family involved this holiday season.

Get Involved in your Local Community During the Holidays:

Make a Meal

If you and your family enjoy time together in the kitchen, volunteer to prepare meals at your local church or homeless shelter. If you want a break from the holiday cooking, offer to deliver meals instead! Call to inquire if any local organizations and agencies need drivers. Some organizations to check out include:

Spread Holiday Cheer

Call your local hospital, USO, or VFW and ask to speak to the volunteer coordinator. Whether you sing Christmas songs, deliver gifts to pediatric units, or pass out homemade holiday cards to veterans, there are many family-friendly ways you can bring a little extra cheer to those who need it most. 

Start a Collection

Collect canned goods for Feeding America, start a book drive for your local hospital or library, donate clothing to your local shelter, or bake up some sweet treats for the local police station or the firehouse.

Sponsor a Family

Whether you decide to donate a big holiday meal, purchase Christmas gifts, or go all out, consider sponsoring a family for the holidays. Have your whole family help with the shopping and preparation and, if you can, drop off the food and gifts in person so your children can see the positive impact their efforts have on others. Most churches or faith-based organizations run these types of programs. 

Looking for something smaller yet just as impactful? You and your family can fill shoeboxes for Operation Shoebox. Pack a shoebox with goodies like coffee, candy, warm socks, or puzzles to send to all of our heroes at home or abroad.

Don’t Forget your Furry Friends

If you and your family like spending time with animals, volunteer at your local animal shelter! Cats, dogs, and other critters need care and attention too. Whether you volunteer to walk dogs, clean up after the kitties, or donate pet supplies, get involved. 


When you’re done, be sure to talk about your experience as a family. Share how it made you feel to help others. And remember, it doesn’t matter how you give back. What matters most is that you make an effort to give back all year long!

Check out more ideas on how you and your family can volunteer this holiday season.