The holiday season is a time for giving, but not only to friends and families.
Food pantries fill up and some families seek out charities to find gifts they cannot afford to buy their children. Spread the holiday cheer and give back to the community this season by volunteering at pantries and food and clothing drives near campus.
Capital Area Food Bank
Capital Area Food Bank is always in need of volunteers to package food at its warehouse in Northeast D.C. and deliver food to families in need. You can sign up for shifts on its website calendar or attend the organization’s “Face Hunger” workshop to learn more about the hardships of food insecurity.
4900 Puerto Rico Ave. NE, Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Foods & Friends
This food-bank works to provide groceries, meals and nutrition counseling to people in the DMV who suffer from life-threatening illnesses like HIV, AIDS, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, ALS and congestive heart failure.
Volunteers prepare meals, package groceries and deliver food to those in need. You could also take up a more administrative opportunity and volunteer to make phone calls, stuff envelopes and keep track of clients and food distribution. Volunteers are required to complete a background check and attend an hour-long orientation.
219 Riggs Road NE, Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots collects and distributes new toys to needy children for the holidays. The organization was founded by former Marine Corps reservist Major Bill Hendricks and works out of the Marine Corps Reserve Unit to provide toys to children around D.C.
The organization is always looking for volunteers to work in the warehouse, sort through toys or collect items at weekly collections events. You can also register to create your own toy drop-off sight to collect items for the organization. Apply to volunteer by filling out a form on their website.
If you are unable to volunteer, you can look for one of the group’s nearest toy drop-off sites and deliver a toy as your donation.
3330 New York Ave. NE, volunteer hours vary.
Thrive DC works to prevent and end homelessness in D.C. by providing free meals, access to computer labs, job application workshops and group therapy to people experiencing homelessness. Thrive DC works with more than 250 clients each day and relies on more than 1,000 volunteers.
Workers could complete administrative work, prepare and serve meals, distribute groceries, assist in its free farmers’ markets or work with clients to help write resumes and prepare for job interviews. Interested volunteers are required to complete an hour-long orientation session. Monetary donations are also important to keep the organization running and funding its many programs.
1525 Newton St. NW, Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m.to 5:00 p.m.
Miriam’s Kitchen provides meals, housing and case management to people experiencing homelessness. Founded in 1983 by the Western Presbyterian Church, Unity Church and GW Hillel, Miriam’s Kitchen serves breakfast and dinner Monday through Friday all year.
Volunteers can donate their time in the kitchen by serving or prepping meals, or by volunteering in guest services by distributing toiletries and fulfilling clothing orders or in Miriam’s Studio by assisting the art therapist in the studio.
2401 Virginia Ave. NW, volunteer hours vary.