Many families enjoy spending quality time together by finding ways to serve others. This is a great way to get everyone in the Christmas mood during this season of gift-giving, especially to those less fortunate. And with how hard this year has been on so many of us, there’s never been a more important time to give to those who need it most.
Of course, it can be difficult to find opportunities to serve, you may be looking for more organization, or you don’t have much to give yourself. Whether it’s a Christmas tradition or your first time, and whether you want to donate time or money, we’ve got a quality list of the best places to serve, donate, and volunteer in Houston for Christmas this year.
The Salvation Army
This is usually a given during every holiday season, but they have a special effort this year to Brighten The Holidays. The Salvation Army has both its Red Kettles and Angel Tree programs going on right now. Donations are used to provide a homeless individual or family with shelter, food, educational and vocational support, and various other reentry help, and they also have efforts to provide clothing and toys for kids at Christmas time so they can enjoy the holiday season. This is a great way to donate if you don’t have much time, but still want to donate something, no matter how much or how little.
Jingle Bells Express
The Christian Community Service Center has been hosting the Jingle Bells Express since its creation in 1980. Last year, they served almost 3,000 children, providing them with a memorable Christmas. They do this by collecting donated toys that they turn into a store where parents can shop for free toys for their children’s Christmas. You can be involved in any part of the volunteer process, ranging from helping clients register, organizing the toys in the store, and helping parents shop.
Houston Food Bank
You can volunteer at the Houston Food Bank by working on food preparation and packing, sanitizing, or serving food. You must RSVP for the days and hours they have listed on their site, so be sure to prepare in advance for this service opportunity. They also ask that you wear long pants, a shirt with sleeves, closed toe shoes, and no jewelry. You also need to bring your own mask or face covering due to the pandemic. There they will provide you with a hairnet, apron, and gloves. You can then sign in and go right to helping! This is a fun one for families, as it’s not difficult work, and kids as young as six years old can participate.
Look into their programs and register on their website.
Meals on Wheels
They need volunteers year-round, but this is an option to spend your Christmas holidays in the spirit of giving. It may be especially fun to volunteer to deliver Christmas dinners to the thousands of seniors and those with disabilities that they serve.
Learn more about volunteering on their website.
City Wide Club
The City Wide Club hosts annual holiday events in addition to their efforts and generosity the rest of the year. They will be hosting a Christmas Eve Super Feast, which you can volunteer to lend some assistance. You can register as a volunteer for the event for shifts that include 5:30-7 am, 12:30-4 pm, 12:30-2 pm, and 3-5 pm. Additionally, they take all donations, monetary or not, have a toy drive, and encourage you to host your own.
You can register and learn more about the organization on their site.
Books Between Kids
Since 2012, Books Between Kids has been striving to provide all of Houston’s children with books of their own. Their concern comes from the 85% of Houston ISD’s elementary children living below the poverty line, often meaning books are a luxury not afforded. You can always donate books or money, but you can also volunteer for organizing your own book fair or putting in time to get the books already to go to their new homes. Children as young as five years old are welcome to assist, and they’re looking for help year-round.
Check out their website for more information about how you can help.
Kids Meals Inc
This organization is dedicated to providing pre-school age children with the meals they need. You can volunteer in numerous ways, including delivering food, hosting a gift card drive, decorating lunch bags, and more. Learn more about how you can volunteer and further their missing to feed hungry kids on their website.
Star of Hope
Star of Hope provides services for the homeless ranging from three meals all 365 days, games, craft projects, sweet treats, distributing donations, teen activities, and notes of encouragements. Younger children may particularly enjoy sorting donations into kits to give to individuals, or writing letters for fellow children or even adults looking for a little Christmas Cheer.
Find out more about their services on their website.
Take some time this Christmas to give back to those who need it, no matter how big or small. If none of these options work for you, come up with simple ways that you can help the people in your own lives. It doesn’t take much to brighten someone’s day, especially during the holiday season!