Volunteer at your local thrift stores or food pantry. They will be appreciative of your help and you most likely will be able to choose some material items or food in exchange for your donation of time!
Especially in this economy it would help greatly to acquire some Christmas gifts or cut your food budget ;-)
By Deeli from Richland, WA
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I am a volunteer reader for a radio reading service for the blind. The service provides free of charge radios, which only receive the service broadcasts of the local newspapers, best selling books, magazines and even the Sunday comics and the grocery ads. Broadcasts are 24/7.
I know in Virginia, we have an awesome program called Hands On Greater Richmond. It is a volunteer database full of opportunities for kids and adults to give their time, learn something new, meet new people and to earn volunteer credit hours towards their graduation goals!
There are a lot of clubs that contribute to the community. Kiwanis, Lions, I could go on and on. All of them should be recognized more. If you're not clubby and you want to contribute to your community, write letters to the editor about what your community needs to concentrate on.
If you love the theater, consider volunteering for your local theater as an usher. You will not only get to see some great theater for free, you will be helping the arts in your community.
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I would like to know if there are any places in Columbus, Ohio that are serving the homeless on Christmas Day?
You might try contacting the Salvation Army. Also, you and some friends/family might consider visiting a homeless encampment with a "box" of Starbucks coffee (called a Coffee Traveller, comes with all the cream, sugar, etc. you want), fruit pastries, and warm wishes in the morning.
Perhaps this link can get you started:
Usually churches and the Salvation Army do. When I wanted to volunteer, I was refused because they said you needed to be trained to serve and holidays were not a good time to train. They wanted more of a commitment than Christmas or Thanksgiving Day. I hope it works out better for you.
Helping to keep the roadsides free of litter in your neighborhood can be quite satisfying. You will want to have a good pair of gloves, a reach extender, and bags to put it in. Often your Department of Transportation will give you the bags and arrange to pick them up once filled. This is a page about picking up roadside litter.