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It’s the most wonderful time of the year

The holiday season is just around the corner and with it comes many volunteer opportunities in our community. Agencies across the Triangle area are working to bring holiday cheer to their clients, and you can help. Whether you’re looking to volunteer for a few hours, a place to donate toys, or to hold a food drive, you can make a difference in someone’s life this holiday season through one of these opportunities.

Durham County Opportunities

Genesis Home

  • Santa’s Elves: Genesis Home is in need of 5 Santa’s Elves to help sort and organize gifts for the families residing in their shelter on December 18, 2014, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Volunteers can contact Gillian Izlar, Volunteer Coordinator at or (919) 683-5878 ext. 22 to sign up. Please note, volunteers must be 18 years of age or older to participate in this opportunity.
  • Gift Wrappers: Volunteers with a knack for gift wrapping are needed to join Genesis Home to wrap gifts at Barnes & Noble this holiday season. Three volunteers per shift are needed for three hour shifts on the following dates:
    • Thursday, December 4, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
    • Tuesday, December 9, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
    • Wednesday, December 10, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
    • Wednesday, December 17, 2014, from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Volunteers can contact Gillian Izlar, Volunteer Coordinator at or (919) 683-5878 ext. 22 to sign up. Please note, volunteers must be 16 years of age or older to participate in this opportunity.

Salvation Army

  • Santa’s Bell Ringers: The Salvation Army needs Santa’s Bell Ringers at several Durham locations beginning Monday, November 17, 2014. Volunteers can sign up for four hour shifts between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. any day, except Sundays, November 17 and December 24. Bell Ringing locations include:
    • Harris Teeter – Hope Valley Commons, Meadowmont, & University Place
    • JC Penny – Southpoint Mall
    • Kroger – Patterson Place, Hillsborough Road, Hwy 54, Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, N. Roxboro St., & Northpoint Blvd.
    • Macy’s – Northgate Mall & Southpoint Mall
    • Sam’s Club
    • Sears – Southpoint Mall
    • Wal-Mart – Glen School Rd & New Hope Commons

To register, fill out this form and return to Tiffany Tyler at one week prior to your requested shift. Tiffany Tyler can be reached at (919) 688-7306 x. 110 with additional questions, or at to submit forms. Please note volunteers are asked to stand for four hour shifts with this opportunity.

  • Host a Food Drive: The Salvation Army’s food pantry has an ongoing need for non-perishable food items to feed the members of our community who do not have the means to keep themselves fed.  Here you will find a food drive toolkit with all of the information necessary for hosting a food drive.  You can have it at your office, within your organization, with your church or any other group who would like to host a food drive.  Some neighborhoods even host food drives.  When the food drive has ended, the Salvation Army will pick up collected items from you, or you can drop them off at 909 Liberty Street, Durham 27701.

For more information on opportunities with Salvation Army, please contact Tiffany Tyler at (919) 688-7306 x. 110 or

Threshold Clubhouse

  • Holiday Gifts Needed: Help Threshold Clubhouse make a gift box for 80 of their members to receive at the organization’s annual Holiday Party on December 18th. Please contact Irene Dwinnell directly at or (919) 682-4124 by Wednesday, December 3, for more details.

Johnston County Opportunities

Partnership for Children of Johnston County

  • Books Needed: The Partnership for Children of Johnston County is accepting donations of infant, toddler, and preschool books in good condition to distribute to needy families this holiday season. Books can be dropped off at the Selma office at 1406-A S. Pollock Street through December 31, 2014.
  • Toys for Tots for Johnston County: This year, the Partnership for Children is coordinating the Toys for Tots for Johnston County. New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at 1406-A S. Pollock Street through December 15, 2014.

For additional information on volunteer opportunities with the Partnership for Children of Johnston County, please contact Karen Mills at or 919-202-0002 ext. 252.

Smithfield Rescue Mission

  • Thanksgiving 2014: This year, the Smithfield Rescue Mission’s goal is to provide families in need with a full meal that they can prepare and serve in their own home to enjoy with their family and friends. Families will pick up the ingredients for a full Thanksgiving meal beginning on Monday, November 24. To meet its goal, the Smithfield Rescue Mission is asking for help in the following ways:
    • Donations of traditional Thanksgiving items that will be given to the families in the community are needed. Uncooked/frozen turkeys, shelf stable side dishes (canned or boxed), and pre-prepared, unfrozen pies are among the most requested items.
    • Volunteers are needed to deliver meal kits to families that are unable to pick up their meal at the Smithfield Rescue Mission. Deliveries will take place on Monday, November 24, and Tuesday, November 25, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

To sign up for a volunteer shift or to donate a Thanksgiving meal item, please fill out the registration form here. For additional information or questions, please contact Tiffany at

Orange County Opportunities

Freedom House Recovery Center

  • Holiday Breakfasts and Dinners Needed: Since 1974, Freedom House Recovery Center has been committed to promote, enhance and support recovery for men, women and children affected by mental illness, developmental disabilities and substance abuse by utilizing an evidence-based, comprehensive and person-centered approach.  This giving season help spread the cheer to the women and men in their residential programs in Chapel Hill by donating food (ingredients or cooked meals) for delicious holiday meals. The following meals are needed:
    • Thanksgiving Breakfast for 30 (baked goods, fruit, brea
      kfast casseroles, etc.)
    • Thanksgiving Holiday Dinner for 60 (turkeys, dressing, rolls, pies, traditional side dishes, etc.)
    • Christmas Day Breakfast for 30 (baked goods, fruit, breakfast casseroles, etc.)
    • Christmas Dinner for 60 (ham, traditional side dishes, desserts, rolls, etc.)
    • New Year’s Day Breakfast for 30 (baked goods, fruit, breakfast casseroles, etc.)
    • New Year’s Dinner for 60 (ham and turkey, black-eyed peas, hoppin’ john, greens, rolls, etc.)

Meals and ingredients can be delivered Monday – Wednesday afternoon prior to the holidays.  Please contact Kelly Stanley for more information at or (919) 942-2803, ext. 206.

Orange County Rape Crisis Center

  • 10th Annual Gallop & Gorge 8k:
    • Volunteers are needed from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 .m. on Thursday, November 27th (Thanksgiving morning) as cheerleafer4s for the race. Bring the family out to do your good deed for just a couple hours before going home to get started on your turkey dinner. Sign up to volunteer with Alex Stewart at
    • Interested in running in this year’s Gallop & Gorge 8K to help benefit Orange County Rape Crisis Center and other community partners? Click here to learn more and sign up to run.

Wake County Opportunities

InterAct of Wake County

  • Holiday Bazaar: Every year, InterAct hosts a Holiday Bazaar to brighten the holidays for families starting over. For one weekend in December, the agency is transformed into a store, where mothers may “shop” to choose toys and gifts for their children – and children can choose small gifts for their mothers, too.  A photographer takes family photos in front a festive backdrop, children have an opportunity to wrap their gifts for Mom, and the air is full of the holiday spirit. To make this special weekend happen, InterAct needs your help:
    • Volunteers are needed to help prepare for, run, and clean up after the Holiday Bazaar. A full list of volunteer shifts and registration information can be viewed here.
    • New, unwrapped items are needed to fill the bazaar for Moms and their children to “shop” for gifts. Gifts can range in age level and price point. Gift baskets are requested for mothers, as well as gift cards in $10 increments. Additional items to help prepare for the holidays like wrapping paper, tape, and disposable cameras are also requested. A complete gift guide can be viewed here.

For questions or more information on this year’s Holiday Bazaar, please contact Christina Brewer at or (919) 863-9682.

Kraft Family YMCA

  • Angel Tree Table Volunteers Needed: The Kraft Family YMCA is looking for volunteers to host their angel tree table, located in the Kraft Family YMCA’s lobby at 8921 Holly Springs Rd. in Apex. Two hour volunteer shifts are available Monday, November 17 through Friday, December 5, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Volunteers will explain the process and expectations of the Angel Tree program, help to find any special angel requests, and ensure all paperwork is completed properly. Volunteers will be helping to ensure a special Christmas for families who struggle financially to meet the needs and wishes of their children. To view all available shifts and sign up, please click here. For additional information, please contact Beth Porter at (919) 249-1400.

Transitions LifeCare

  • Thanksgiving Desserts Needed: Help provide desserts (or other food items) for families of patients at the Transitions LifeCare Hospice Home on Thursday, November 27th. Many family members spend their Thanksgiving Day by the side of a loved one who is a patient at our Hospice Home and providing them with a dessert or snack relieves them of having to leave our facility to get food. Dessert items should be provided in disposable containers and should include descriptions (including allergy information), and dropped off at the following locations:
    • Wednesday, November 26th from 9am-4pm at the Transitions LifeCare Administrative Building, 250 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, NC 27607
    • Thursday, November 27th from 10am-4pm at the William M. Dunlap Center for Caring (Hospice Home), 200 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, NC 27607

If you are interested in providing a dessert, please contact James Butler at or (919) 828-0890 by Monday, November 24, 2014, to sign up.

Urban Ministries of Wake County:

  • Thanksgiving Dinners Needed: Urban Ministries needs help bringing Thanksgiving dinners to 300 of their clients this year. To help, donate purchased turkeys, hams, and chickens to the Urban Ministries Food Pantry by Friday, November 17, 2014.
  • Need 300 Christmas Dinner Boxes: Bring your friends, family, or co-workers together to bring Christmas dinner to 300 families in Wake County. Each box should contain:
    • Main Course: $25 gift card for Food Lion for a turkey, ham, or chicken
    • Side Dishes: Stuffing, potatoes/yams, cranberry sauce, canned fruit, canned vegetables, biscuit mix, and cream of mushroom soup
    • Dessert: Cake mix, prepared icing, and pie filling

All Christmas Dinner boxes should be delivered to the Urban Ministries Food Pantry by Friday, December 12, 2014.

More questions about Urban Ministries of Wake County’s holiday needs? Please contact Carol Schwartz, Outreach Coordinator, at or (919) 256-2179. All Urban Ministries donations should be dropped off at 1390 Capital Blvd., Raleigh.

Post-Holiday Opportunities

Looking for ways to stay involved beyond the holiday season? Join United Way of the Greater Triangle for the 10th Annual Triangle Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in January. The Triangle Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is a way to transform Dr. King’s life and teachings into community service that helps empower and strengthen local communities. On January 19, 2015, United Way of the Greater Triangle will host over 2,000 volunteers among 30 projects located throughout the Triangle, including four signature projects. A full list of MLK Day projects can be viewed here. Join us as we strive to make the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, “A Day On, Not a Day Off”.

Additional volunteer opportunities can be found throughout the year on our volunteer website at Thank you for brightening the lives of others in our community this season and all year round.

Happy holidays from all of us to you!