Volunteering for the Holidays
Charities need time as well as money
ANCHORAGE - When it comes to giving back to the community around the holidays, some charities need your time while others could use the money.
“Unfortunately there will be kids or could be kids who go without a toy at Christmas if we're not able to provide toys through our part of the gift program. So it's critical for us to have the toys to give to the kids,” said Major George Baker, the division commander for the Salvation Army Alaska.
If you can’t donate a toy, the Salvation Army will take some of your time at one of its nine programs. Each week volunteers package and deliver hundreds of meals for Meals on Wheels, and there’s always room for more people. Then, of course, there are the red kettles to fill.
“We've had a bit of a tough time this year with volunteers and getting enough volunteers, so we're a little behind in our kettle collection and we need some volunteers to help pick up that slack between now and the end of the season,” said Major Baker.
The Food Bank of Alaska is also a major part of Neighborhood GIFT, but almost all of the 2,000 volunteers spots for Saturday’s event are full.
“We've been really fortunate to have volunteers, but the worst thing you could end up having is folks coming and not having enough to do,” said Development Director Jim MacKenzie.
There are other ways to pitch in. Last year the Food Bank gave out around 18,000 turkeys and it always needs more. “We need birds. So spread the word. And funds. We have to look at January, February and March and the upcoming year. Unfortunately hunger is going to be with us next year as well,” said MacKenzie.
Groups say it’s great to have the extra help around the holidays but hope people remember to stay in the giving spirit all year long.