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Spread Some Joy This Holiday Season By Volunteering At These 5 Local Spots

Dec 04, 2020 02:32PM ● By Kaitlyn Malone
During the holidays, we often reflect more on how we can give back to our communities. Volunteering your time is an excellent way to support your community, help those in need, and bring joy to those around you. It is important to feel grateful for the little things every day, and serving our communities is a wonderful way to connect and share our gifts and talents with those who can benefit from them.

Here are 5 places to volunteer during the holidays:

The Thompson Senior Center

The Thompson Center is located at 99 Senior Lane, Woodstock, VT 0509 and services the senior community with events, meals, transportation, and resources in the Upper Valley. There are numerous opportunities to volunteer and provide services that are matched with your unique interests and schedule. Many services can only be provided through the time and effort donated by volunteers willing to dedicate their energy to serving the center and their community. It is an excellent place to give back, and volunteers are welcomed and appreciated.

There are a variety of different positions to fill here. There is a “Bingo Caller” where you get to help facilitate a fun bingo game, call out the Bingo numbers, and interact with participants. There is a volunteer opportunity for “Meal-on-Wheels” drivers where volunteers deliver meals to individuals needing to stay home and act as liaisons between them and the Thompson Senior Center. Volunteer receptionists are also needed to greet guests, collect donations, provide information about upcoming events, and answer phones. Wait Staff is needed at the center to serve meals at lunch, which is a great way to get to know people. There are also other clerical work opportunities if that is better suited for you! Call their number at 802-457-3277 or email them at [email protected] to see what would be the best fit for you. Do be sure to check out their website for any updates regarding Covid-19 and how that affects volunteer opportunities.


The Woodstock Community Food Shelf

The Woodstock Community Food Shelf is dedicated to providing food to those in need. It was founded in 1984 by Martha Lussier and has continued to provide support and basic nutrition to the community. In 2008 it incorporated as a non-profit and was run completely through volunteer work. The Woodstock Community Food Shelf seeks to diminish hunger in its communities by maintaining full, well-stocked, and accessible food shelves.

Here is a great opportunity to volunteer your time to this organization by staffing at the location at 217 Maxham Meadow Way in Woodstock during open hours and distributing food. They need assistance in stocking the shelves after food drives and packaging the food/ putting bags together. They also need help writing thank you notes to donors and setting up a database to store information and track aspects of the organization, which would be great if you had administrative skills or organizational skills handy. They are open Mondays from 4 pm to 6 pm, Wednesdays from 1 pm to 3 pm, and Saturdays from 10 am to 12 pm. Call their number at 802-457-1185 if you are interested in helping out. If you would like more information, you can check out their website here.

Billings Farm & Museum

Just a stroll from the center of Woodstock, the Billings Farm & Museum is a great place to volunteer, especially if your focus is on contributing to your community's educational experience. The farm is considered one of the best outdoor history museums in the US. It has many exhibits and interactive programs that take place all year long and is committed to providing an enjoyable educational experience for people of all ages.

 You can help in a variety of areas, including assisting in hands-on craft activities or leading different educational experiences for school kids. There are also many programs and special events that you can lend your support to! They provide training and mentors to give you all the support you need to serve, assist, and give back to your community. Some of the focused opportunities to volunteer include Arts and Crafts, Collections and Exhibitions, Education Garden, Education, Library, and Special Events. Opportunities to volunteer are available to adults and also children as young as 11. There are also fantastic perks that come with volunteering, which include free admission for yourself at any time, discounted admission to special programs, and a 10 % discount in the gift shop! For more information, check out their website and fill out their application.

The Upper Valley Haven

The Upper Valley Haven has supported its communities since 1980 and continues to provide shelter, food, clothing, education, and other resources today. They have successfully adapted to the Coronavirus pandemic and continue to provide community outreach in a safe way.

During this time of Coronavirus, so many of us have felt the increased level of stress and strain as we go from day today, and it has especially hit the more vulnerable members of our communities. You can volunteer your time as a part of the Dinner Team, which is part of a dinner program at Hixon House Adult Shelter seven nights a week and designed to bring the community together. If you are interested in volunteering with the dinner team program, check out their website, and be sure to fill out their application here.

Zack’s Place

Zack’s Place is a community enrichment center that seeks to create a safe, free, and enjoyable environment where individuals of all ages with special needs can develop friendships while participating in art, fitness, and educational programs. The intention is to engage participants with the broader community while creating an inner confidence and sense of citizenship. Volunteers are an essential part of this enrichment program and a great way to connect and support members of your community.

There are many different opportunities to volunteer that can fit with your specific skillset and schedule. Some possibilities for volunteering include garden maintenance and envelope/greeting card, stuffers. Depending on your talents and what you like to do, you can create your own special workshop, and you can participate in a dance party and swim with participants. You can also sing with/for the community, host a dining event, or help with their business program. For more information, please check out their website.

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