Thanksgiving and the winter holiday season is a time of year when people feel gratitude for what they have and might be thinking about ways they can give back to their communities.
In Las Vegas, there’s no shortage of nonprofit organizations looking for help. Here are some places you can volunteer this holiday season, and year-round:
1. Local food banks
Volunteers can assemble meals for children, pack produce for families and seniors, help clients apply for programs or deliver groceries to seniors.
While not a food bank, Moonridge Foundation offers a food delivery program called Delivering with Dignity for vulnerable members of the community. You can help pick up food packages from restaurants and deliver them to families in need.
2. Children’s organizations
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Nevada connects children with a volunteer mentor to spend time with and receive guidance. If you volunteer with this group, you’ll be matched with a child to take on outings, such as taking a walk in the park and going to a museum. This is a long-term commitment as you will serve as a role model for your younger brother or sister.
As a volunteer for Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada, you could greet a wish family at the airport, deliver gifts or help a child determine a wish.
Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth helps children move into stable housing and provides the support they need. As a volunteer, you can help with a variety of tasks, such as restocking and organizing its Drop-In Center or teaching a class on fitness, art, cooking, etc.
You could volunteer as a tutor for Communities in Schools of Nevada, a judge for FIRST Nevada, which promotes robotics and STEAM education, which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, initiatives in Nevada. The Goodie Two Shoes Foundation, which holds shoe distribution events for children in need, is also looking for help.
3. Animal shelters and organizations
What’s better than giving back while also spending time with cute animals? The Animal Foundation is looking for volunteers in a variety of departments, including adoptions, animal care and enrichment. You could also volunteer for special events they host.
There’s also Connor & Millie’s Dog Rescue, which seeks out and accepts senior and special needs dogs to give them a home. As a volunteer, you could foster a dog as they wait to be adopted. If fostering is a little too much commitment, you could volunteer with Paw Partners Unleashed, which provides supportive services to animal rescue and community organizations.
4. Veteran organizations
The Kline Veterans Fund provides emergency housing assistance to homeless and at-risk veterans and their families in Southern Nevada. In addition to donations, the organization is looking for volunteers to assist with their events.
You could volunteer with The VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System as an information desk ambassador at its VA clinics around Southern Nevada. The VA’s Center for Development and Civic Engagement is looking for volunteers for its Fisher House, Infusion Clinic and Mail Room as well as volunteers who are musicians and Disabled American Veterans drivers.
5. Environmental groups
Friends of Nevada Wilderness is looking for volunteers to keep public lands and wilderness areas clean. As a volunteer, you can help pick up trash, pull fences, plant seedlings and yank out invasive plants.
Warm Springs Natural Area is seeking people to help with local events, restoration projects and preservation efforts. The Springs Preserve is also looking for long-term volunteers to help educate visitors.
These are just a few of the places you can volunteer with. If you want to find more volunteer opportunities, you can check out organizations such as United Way of Southern Nevada, which works with more than a dozen smaller organizations in Southern Nevada and can connect you with upcoming volunteer opportunities. You can also check JustServe, which shows local volunteer opportunities.