The Heart of a Volunteer


As the holiday season approaches and my child has moments of disrespect, I think to myself, “I should teach my daughter respect by teaching her volunteerism.” My daughter does not get everything she wants, nor does she get something every time we go into a store. We are blessed to have friends and family that are very generous on special occasions. In such a way, that she has more than she needs. Children still want more, or at least mine does. We talk to her about respect and try to act in a way that she sees what it means. However, respect is something that is best learned through action.

Be a servant first

Put others first and volunteer even when you think you don’t have the time. Serving others always becomes a hot topic around the holidays as we turn our focus to give. There is always a need to serve others in food banks or volunteering in some fashion.

Ways you can help this holiday or any time of the year:

Holiday meals (donated time or food):

  1. Churches – many churches offer free meals. Check with churches in and around your area to see if they offer free meals. Offer your time, your cooking skills, or food.
  2. Food Banks (Gleaners, Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank, etc.) – have your own food drive, sign up to volunteer, or donate.
  3. Soup Kitchens – donate your time or items (check with the business first)
  4. Good Samaritan Network – this group has multiple Christmas related volunteer opportunities. Whether it’s prepping or delivering a meal or being a greeter there are lots of opportunities to volunteer as an individual or a group.  

All year around assistance needed (those above are included):

  1. Animal Shelters – donate your time or items (check with the business first). Volunteer to walk the dogs or donate needed supplies.
  2. Homeless shelters – donate your time or items (check with the business first).
  3. Schools – many schools have food pantries that need food and volunteers.
  4. Battered persons’ shelters – families may flee their homes without the basic necessities of life. Donate items, especially toiletry items.
  5. Boys & Girls Clubs – many opportunities to volunteer your time
  6. Local parks – park clean up days, etc.
  7. Habitat for Humanity – donate your time or items to ReStore
  8. Local nursing homes – make a craft or card to take to individuals
  9. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis – volunteers are needed for various activities
  10. Wheeler Mission – multiple opportunities to volunteer or donate
  11. Deployed Servicemembers – send homemade cards or crafts
  12. Run or walk a 5K – runs are usually organized as a fundraising effort. Run, walk, or just volunteer.

For any of the organizations that are in your area, check to see if they have a Facebook page. If so, follow it so you will be aware of opportunities that arise for volunteerism.

Christmas gift opportunities:

Salvation Army – Angel Tree

Samaritan’s Purse – Operation Christmas Child

There are so many opportunities. Find the one(s) that speak to your heart. Involve your children and talk to them about why you are giving of your time and money. They will learn to have the heart of a volunteer. Continue this every year. Pick the time of the year that works best for your family and make it a tradition.

When I picked up my daughter from school today, she said she had learned about how to be a good citizen. She also stated the following: I asked my friend if he cared about his family and others. He said he didn’t! I told him, he will learn to be a good citizen and care about others!”. How on point was her understanding of being a good citizen? I challenge you today… be a good citizen! Or my 6-year-old will school you on it!