Local organizations provide holiday volunteer opportunities for students


Photo courtesy of MCT Campus.

Through giving programs like Giving Tuesday, children get to enjoy toys for the holidays.

     The winter season is often associated with giving, and many local Hamilton County organizations allow students and their families an opportunity to give back to their community.

     Each year the Good Samaritan Network, a collaborative network of nonprofit organizations in Hamilton County, puts together a program called Holiday Assistance which allows volunteers to give back to their communities by volunteering their time or money. The two large programs they sponsor are Christmas Assistance Distribution and Christmas Eve Meal Shut-In Delivery. The Christmas Eve Meal Shut-In Delivery pairs volunteers with an elderly, disabled or shut-in resident of Hamilton County, providing them with a home-cooked meal on Christmas Eve. Senior Audrey Blanner is planning on delivering a meal this year.

     “I think that some people under-estimate the power of a good home-cooked meal,” Blanner said. “It can really bring some people a lot of comfort and familiarity.”

     Other organizations sponsor specific children and provide volunteers with a child’s wishlist. This year, the class officers of each grade have decided to opt in to “adopt an angel” from the Salvation Army Angel Tree Organization.

     “I think it’s really cool that students in our school, especially class officers, are trying to give back,” Blanner said. “Having people encouraging each other to do good deeds, especially during the holiday season, creates a really nice feeling of community.”

     On each class’ Instagram page, there are informational posts about where the money is going and how to become involved. The goal is to raise $400 to fulfill each angel’s wishlist.

     “The class officers had a table outside of lunch and we could just put our donations into a bucket, which made it really easy,” Blanner said.

     Students’ churches often also have a similar “giving tree” holiday program where parishioners are encouraged to sponsor a family or individual. This provides some students the opportunity to work with their family in order to give back to their community.

     “My church always has an adopt a family or an angel tree program each winter,” Blanner said. “My family always tries to do one of the two because even if the holiday season isn’t about gifts, it’s important to give to those who might not be able to receive gifts otherwise.”

     Closer to the FHS community is the Celebration of Giving, which is a program designed to collect donations and gifts for FHS students and families in need. The Celebration of Giving is a tradition long-organized by the FHS Tiger S.T.R.I.P.E.S. and is currently in its fourteenth year.

     “I would encourage people to sponsor a child if they are able to because there are families within our school who are truly facing tough situations and/or struggling financially who won’t be able to purchase gifts for their kids this holiday season,” PTO member Niki Barrett said. “It’s a great and feel-good way to give back to the community and bring some happiness to those in need.”

     According to Barrett, the program supports around 22 families every year, which is around 60 kids. Even if someone does not have time to do the shopping necessary to sponsor a child, donations help pay for holiday meals, wrapping materials, and small items to fill treat bags.

     Those looking for more holiday and year-round volunteer opportunities can click here.