‘Tis the season of giving, not just of gifts, but of time. We all feel the holiday spirit to give back and bless those around us. If you’re thinking about volunteering this holiday season but not sure how to begin I can show you how.

Start by considering these four questions –

  1. What are you good at? List all of your skills and talents. List ones you haven’t used in awhile too. If you used to make posters in high school but haven’t done it in a while, put it on the list it. If you used to sew but haven’t done it in a while, put it on the list. Some other skills are communication, critical thinking, mentoring or coaching, strong work ethic, dependable, creative, motivational, etc.
  2. What do you love to do? List the activities you really love to do not the ones you simply like to do. Take a moment to think this question through. Your answers will give you a direction into which area of service you would be most interested in.
  3. What does your community need? This question seems to have an obvious answer but really think about the specific needs of your community. Your answer to this question is important and you may have more than one answer. If you’re not sure, Facebook is one of the best social media sites to start searching because all community service groups will have either a non-profit page or group page. Check Facebook first followed by Twitter. If you’d rather not search social media, then start with the community section of your local newspaper. However, not all organizations will post regular notices in the newspaper.
  4. How much time are you willing to give? Decide whether you have time during the day, during the week or the month. Be honest with yourself about how much time you can truly dedicate towards volunteering. It’s very easy to over commit because most organizations are in desperate need of help. When you know your time availability this helps you keep your life balanced. Your time volunteering should feel rewarding and not a burden especially during the holidays.

Now look at your answers. Do you see a connection between your skills and what you love to do? Do you see where your skills and the needs of your community intersect?

Here are a few organizations in Stockton, CA looking for volunteers during the holiday season.

  • St. Mary’s Dining Room, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. They also provide health services, clothing and hygiene, and other social services.
  • Emergency Food Bank, food servers and handlers, truck drivers and warehouse workers. You can also help by organizing a Food Drive.
  • City of Stockton Animal Shelter, at the shelter or the pet adoption sites, they need help caring for the dogs and cats throughout the day.

Take a moment to reflect on your own blessings and find ways to help those around you. Jump into the holiday spirit! You’ll be so glad you did.

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