With volunteering, some are able to give of their time freely and generously throughout a given year. Others cannot. But when they can, they invariably wait for a particular time to feel good about giving back.
That time has arrived.
“The need for volunteers is always there; it never goes away,” said Andrea Metzler, director of the United Way volunteer center. “But the need for an individual to want to give back skyrockets during the holiday season.”
Of course there are lots of reasons why some can volunteer fewer hours than others, familial or work obligations, busy work schedules or maybe during the holidays they’ll be without family. And what better time to stay busy and feel useful?
Regardless of the reason, the United Way offers plenty of choices to fulfill that need to reach out to others and give of one’s time.
“We have over 200 volunteer opportunities on our website,” Metzler said. “At the start of the season, we had 32 projects for the holidays, now there are about 20.”
The process is easy and the projects are many. Volunteers don’t even have to be registered with United Way but can do so if they choose.
Volunteers simply visit www.uwsummit.org, click on the purple volunteer tab on the homepage. The main menu on the left allows a quick overview of what’s available by category, such as faith-based, grant writing, holiday projects.
Or users may filter their search by providing their available days, hours and locations, along with the types of projects for which they’d like to volunteer.
Once they express an interest in a particular project, their phone number and email is forwarded to the hosting agency, who will then contact them. Age requirements may apply. And some of the holiday-themed projects carry through Christmas Eve and possibly Christmas day.
There’s still openings for projects including Adopt-A-Child for Christmas and Adopt-A-Family for the Holiday, found on the volunteer page’s main menu under “Special Event Calendar.” And the Polar Express may still need some elves.
If you have a talent for wrapping packages, the Cascade Locks Park Association is hosting a gift wrapping fundraiser December 19 – 21 at the Mustill Store, where folks can drop off their packages to be wrapped by volunteers for a fee.
With any project, the availability of openings can change daily, so be sure to check. Some folks aim for projects such as community Thanksgiving dinners, which so very many churches and organizations serve annually and already have a glut of volunteers.
Michael Gaffney, vice president of marketing and communications for United Way, offered a suggestion.
“Maybe give a one-time donation and try volunteering during the rest of the year when they’re not so overwhelmed,” Gaffney said. “Because it may be the rest of the year when they really need your help.”
Metzler said there’s a hidden perk for those who either are currently or considering giving of their time — and money — to a particular cause or organization.
“I think what’s nice about special events or these one-time, done-in-a-day kind of projects is that it’s a good way to put feelers out,” she said. “You can find out if you really do align with their mission and want to commit with time or money.”
And however one may choose to give of their time during the madness of the holidays, Metzler had a request.
“Don’t forget about us in January; may be make that your New Year’s resolution.”