Holiday Volunteer Opportunities for Students

As the weather begins to cool and people start preparing for the holidays, opportunities to help out in the community are everywhere.

The end of the year is when most people take the time to give thanks for what they have and help the less fortunate.

If students are in need of a couple of volunteer hours or they just want to help out and give back, here are some programs that could use some help this holiday season.

Meals-on-Wheels: Involves delivering meals to homebound older adults and persons with disabilities and spending a little time with them. There are also different options that involve delivering meals to children, buying groceries, making easy home repairs, or simply calling a client and chatting with them. Meals-on-Wheels is interactive, so volunteers get to help people directly and see first-hand the impact that it has on their lives.

Blue/Brown Santa: Both nonprofit organizations run mainly in December and collect donated toys, books and other gifts to low income families with children. Donations are made in either monetary form or new gifts, and are then wrapped by volunteers and delivered on different days throughout December. Since it is most popular during the winter months, it can be hard to secure a volunteer spot, but donations are always appreciated.

Capital Area Food Bank: As one of the largest hunger-relief charities in Central Texas, the CAFB needs help collecting and sorting donations year round. Basic volunteer opportunities involve inspecting and boxing food items and getting them ready for distribution. They also have a mobile food pantry called “Wheels of Sharing” that is similar to Meals-on-Wheels and involves unloading trucks and distributing food.

Austin Animal Center/ Austin Humane Society: For people who love animals and want a long term volunteering position, an animal shelter would be a great place to apply. Jobs include walking dogs, feeding animals and preparing pets for adoption by interacting with them regularly. More advanced tasks include training dogs, helping sick animals and acting as a customer greeter to convince customers to adopt. Most shelters require lengthy orientations and either a minimum number of hours or months that a volunteer must fulfill, so it’s not ideal for someone who just wants to help out a few times.