Fall for volunteering!

Fall is officially here, and along with the change of seasons come new volunteer opportunities to make a difference in your community. Homeless shelters are preparing for upcoming cold weather. Food banks are stocking up to help hungry individuals and families during the holidays. Worthy causes are holding the last of the walk-a-thons and “turkey trots” to raise funds for their projects. Don’t have much time to give back, but still want to do something meaningful? Here are 7 easy ideas for community service:

1. Now that the weather is changing, it’s a great time to clean out your closets and give those gently used items you’ll never wear again to area homeless shelters or thrift shops. You have to clean out your closets anyway, right? So, why not give your clothes to a good cause?

2. Speaking of clothes, another idea is to set up a community clothing swap. You can help others get ready for winter weather by repurposing jackets, mittens, scarves, etc., that you no longer use – and you might just get some great items in return.

3. Have a community service project you’d like to implement in your community? Join in Make a Difference Day on October 24 and make it happen. Millions of individuals across the U.S. will be implementing volunteer projects on this largest day of service. By joining in, you, your council members, and family and friends can make a positive difference in your community.

4. Want to dedicate time to a worthy cause and also benefit your personal fitness? Fall is an excellent time to participate in runs/walks for causes. Make working out more meaningful by raising awareness – and funds – to support worthwhile causes like disease research, children’s programs, veteran’s support, and more.

5. October is the perfect time to start working on Thanksgiving food drives for hungry individuals and families. Team up with a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen to determine their needs for the holiday and how you can help. While you’re at it, start recruiting your council members, family and friends to volunteer to serve food on Thanksgiving Day. You might also partner with Meals on Wheels to help deliver Thanksgiving dinner to those who are alone or unable to leave their homes.

6. Demonstrate your thankfulness toward troops who may be away from family this Thanksgiving by creating and sending care packages. There are many veterans’ organizations that appreciate this kind of support. The best place to start to find out how you can help is by is contacting the American Legion or the Royal Canadian Legion, depending on where you live.

7.Fall=leaves. Lots of them! Engage a team of friends to spend some afternoons raking leaves for elderly and/or disabled community members. Volunteer to organize or help out at school Halloween parties, corn mazes, or haunted houses. Host a hot chocolate or cider stand and donate the proceeds to a community cause or charity.

The potential for volunteering opportunities is endless, and as you can see, you can put as much or as little time into it as you want. Need some help getting started? Contact Community Outreach Managers Jen Szymczak at jszymczak@uct.org or Keith Ward at kward@uct.org for ideas and assistance.

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