By Mariah West and Casey Sudzina
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 60 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.
Make a resolution to get involved with Besa now or in the new year! Since 2012, they help make giving back easy and transformative to power a wave of civic engagement that lifts us all.
Support the work of the Columbus Urban League to advance racial equity and social justice by getting involved with the Columbus Urban League Young Professionals or attending one of their upcoming fundraiser events, including the annual New Year’s Eve Soiree.
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
Support the Asian American Community Services‘ Support a Survivor program with a gift card donation now until January 31. You can show your support for AAPI survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, and sexual assault by donating gift cards to culturally appropriate restaurants and grocery stores! Some great examples are Tensuke Market, Sunrise Market, and Saraga International Grocery. Gift cards can be dropped off or mailed to 4700 Reed Rd., Suite B, Columbus, Ohio 43220.
The Center for Healthy Families is hosting a holiday event to bring cheer to vulnerable families on December 18 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. They’re requesting people attend the event and at the Jewish Community Center. Should you want to make a donation of nonperishable food, gift cards or toys, donation drop is located at 500 S. Front St., Suite 930, Columbus, OH 43215 and is open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
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.
Local Matters has compiled an Amazon wish list for those they serve in our community, requesting culinary kits and educational program supplies to continue to build up their education, access and advocacy work to build a healthier Columbus. All items can be ordered from Amazon and shipped to the address on file until December 31. Gift cards can be mailed to the following address: Local Matters c/o Nicky Hall, 633 Parsons Ave, Columbus, Ohio 48206. Please include your name and email with the gift.
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.
Riverview International Center is collecting blankets for newly arrived immigrants until January 2023. They have compiled an Amazon wish list where donations can be purchased here. All donations can be mailed to 552 Riverview Drive, Apt. B Columbus, OH 43202.
Become a volunteer Bell Ringer or donate to a Red Kettle for the Salvation Army, who serves the homeless & others in need.
Make a donation to The Scatter Joy Project to help them raising money to launch a mental health care scholarship program with the goal to cover the cost of therapy and counseling for those in need.
We Amplify Voices is hosting their outdoor community caroling event Songs on Sullivant on Friday, December 16th at 5pm on the corner of Central and Sullivant Ave. Along with spreading holiday cheer there will be food, presents and Christmas activities provided to the community. They would love for you to attend or donate nonperishable food, toys, or gift cards.
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.
Give and volunteer to help provide clothes for kids through Charity Newsies, an organization that provides brand new clothing for kids from kindergarten through 12th grade who live in Franklin County to go to school.
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. In addition, they also just kicked off their Homage T-Shirt Campaign! 20% of proceeds from their “Kindness is Free” shirt will be donated back to Star House in honor of National Homeless Youth Awareness Month in November and will be sold on an ongoing basis here.
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.