By Mariah West
While this time of year is all about giving to our loved ones, we mustn’t forget the importance of spreading the holiday spirit to the community and to those who need it. In honor of the season, we’ve compiled 50 ways to volunteer, give back, and get involved in the community.
Foster or volunteer to work with homeless pets at the Capital Area Humane Society.
Answer phones, foster, or become a volunteer Cat or Dog Caretaker at the CHA Animal Shelter for homeless pets.
Volunteer at the adoption center or foster homeless animals with Colony Cats.
Donate kitty litter & food or volunteer to walk dogs, cuddle cats, and talk with potential adopters at Pets Without Parents animal shelter.
Garden & tend plants with the Horticulture Department or learn to become an on-site guide at the Franklin Park Conservatory.
Beautify & clean up local green spaces with Keep Columbus Beautiful.
Donate blood or volunteer at a donation center with the American Red Cross.
Buy a box of tampons from locally-based Aunt Flow. For every tampon purchased, one is donated to a person in need.
Volunteer as a counselor, peer advocate, hotline operator, and more for the HIV/AIDS community with Equitas Health.
Greet, escort, and support patients and their families at Mount Carmel hospitals.
Volunteer at Riverside or another hospital, hospice, or senior home through OhioHealth.
Provide assistance and comfort as a volunteer for patients and families of the OSU James Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Become an advocate, volunteer, or host your own Party With a Purpose fundraiser for Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio.
Bake cookies, prepare a meal, donate a blanket, or volunteer your time to seriously ill kids & their families at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio.
Volunteer with Susan G. Komen Columbus to help their mission of ending breast cancer and impacting those touched by the disease.
Mid-Ohio Foodbank via Facebook
Pick up food donations, work in a pantry, or assist senior citizens with the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resource Center, which provides an array of social services to promote quality of life for residents of the community.
Work on a variety of volunteer activities with the homeless, people with disabilities, and more with social volunteerism group Columbus Gives Back. Don’t forget to join them for drinks afterward!
Lead games & activities for kids or serve meals to families in need with Community Kitchen Inc.
Serve a meal or read a bedtime story to homeless kids & families at the Community Shelter Board.
Assist adults with developmental disabilities on fun outings to the bowling alley & swimming pool, group dances, the zoo, museums, festivals, and more with Franklin County Recreation.
Donate furniture or volunteer to assemble, sort, or unload furniture, provide woodworking, organize shelves, or assist clients at the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio.
Work in a pantry, deliver food, tutor children, and more at the Gladden Community House, a United Way affiliate which provides education, recreation, and other programs to kids & families in Franklinton.
Tutor or mentor children, provide adult education, or work in the library at the Godman Guild, an organization that empowers inner-city families with a variety of community programs.
Donate gently used clothing, sort items, or work with employees of Goodwill Columbus, who provides work opportunities to people with disabilities.
Provide companionship and assistance with everyday life skills to resident kids & adults with developmental disabilities at the Heinzerling Community.
Deliver nutritious Meals-on-Wheels from LifeCare Alliance to adults that are homebound due to age, disability, or medical reasons.
Serve a meal to the homeless, work at a food pantry, support domestic violence victims, assist senior citizens, and more with Lutheran Social Services.
Serve meals, stock shelves, and assist customers at one of the Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s community pantries & cafes.
Become a volunteer Bell Ringer or donate to a Red Kettle for the Salvation Army, who serves the homeless & others in need.
Set up/tear down and run activities or serve a meal to homeless families at the YMCA Van Buren Shelter.
Organize a donation drive, prepare & serve a meal, or assist with a class, program, or event for homeless women & families at the YWCA Family Center.
Become a school or community-based child mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio.
Mentor, coach, chaperone, or tutor kids at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus.
Volunteer with Columbus Early Learning Centers to help provide high-quality affordable education to kids in the community.
Help kids & teens do homework and build reading skills at Columbus Metropolitan Libraries.
Help children develop life skills as a volunteer Kid Coach with Future Possibilities.
Lead/assist with a local troop or become a volunteer mentor with Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland.
Become a reading mentor, assist with in-classroom projects & activities, or play chess with children at the Homeless Families Foundation.
Serve as a Crisis Intervention Aide, cook meals, work with kids, and other duties with Huckleberry House, an organization that supports youth & families facing issues like abuse, poverty, neglect, and homelessness.
Donate your unused airline miles or help grant wishes of kids with life-threatening illnesses with Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
Craft a no-sew blanket for My Very Own Blanket, who will donate them to local children in the foster care system.
Donate gently used kids’ books or read aloud to young patients of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital with the facility’s Reach Out and Read program.
Sort, store, and organize food & personal item donations, serve meals, host art activities, or spend quality time with homeless youth at the Star House.
Worthington Christian Village via Facebook
Provide care, companionship, and bereavement support to hospice patients and their families at Hospice of Central Ohio.
Give clerical support or work one-on-one with hospice patients & families with Ohio Living Home Health & Hospice.
Support Village Connections’ efforts to keep elderly neighbors of the community active and involved by volunteering for tasks like driving, light home maintenance, technology assistance, friendly visits, and more.
Play games, entertain, teach, serve meals, and assist elderly residents of the Worthington Christian Village assisted living facility.