Giving Back this Holiday Season
Volunteering for whichever cause you aim to support is important and necessary for many reasons. A quote by Wendy Mass always comes to mind when I think about the holidays.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet, is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”
Volunteering spreads benevolence, and that same friendliness could help others fighting daily battles behind closed doors. Therefore, volunteering contributes to the enrichment of humankind and shows the very best of what we have to offer.
As the holidays approach, the impact of volunteering, on all parties involved, has more weight to it. All students on campus, all members of a community, all citizens of our country, deserve a little more around the holidays…. A little more love from family, friends, and even strangers…. a little more attention to the struggles they may be ashamed of, or the struggles that require extra support and care. We all need a little more awareness and sensitivity for the struggles COVID-19 has exposed. We aim to encourage our readers and collegiate community members to do just that, through volunteering opportunities offered in South Florida.
Photo courtesy of Feeding South Florida.
First up, we shed light on Feeding South Florida, an organization that aims to donate 19 million pounds of food (99 million meals) each year. Their mission is completed through volunteers who are above the age of 12, who pre register for a date and time that works best for their schedule, and sort food based on South Florida’s efficient distribution method. Volunteers finish their days with knowledge of the number of pounds and meals they provided to families in need of food assistance; Allowing for a soul-fulfilling activity whose impact has far reaches. Luckily they are always accepting volunteers!
The second non-profit we want to share is The Pack the Pantry Food Drive, whose volunteer organizational structure is slightly different. First, a food drive must be organized at a business, organization, or place of worship. Next, the form provided on the “Pack the Pantry Food Drive” website must be filled out. Then volunteers will be provided with “Pack the Pantry” grocery bags and even large boxes if necessary. Lastly, drop off locations and pickup time availability will be clearly indicated by the drive coordinators making this volunteer activity easily feasible! This organization also hosts special events such as, the “Great Thanksgiving Banquet and Christmas Outreaches” so if you happen to be in the South Miami area feel free to check out their website and availability!
Photo courtesy of Health in the Hood.
COVID-19 has caused apparent economic strains that affect hunger dramatically. Health in the Hood is one organization that attempts to reverse these effects by launching their “Filling Fridges” campaign. Their mission is to give $100 grocery gift cards to displaced workers, 7,000 prepared meals for lower-income families, and deliver fresh food to 500 students and families per week. If you primarily are concerned with COVID-19 safety measures this volunteering option may be for you, being that they ask volunteers to contribute to their mission via donations. If you are feeling up to it, they also encourage in-person volunteering but only if you have not been in contact with individuals showing COVID-19 related symptoms. If you are good to go, you may prepare produce bags for pull up pantries and school feeding programs.
Universities are also participating in the volunteering spirit, one being Miami- Dade College, who recognized they must “protect and empower every dream.” This means that if students are food insecure, this may reflect on their completion of a semester, and thus completion of a degree. Therefore, they accept one-time or recurring monetary contributions ranging from $25-$1,000. These donations pool into a fund which is strategically divided into scholarships, putting food on tables, keeping roofs overhead, and sustaining the pace of education. Miami-Dade College makes sure to invest itself in the lives of its students by learning which challenges are most pertinent and deserve to be met with the majority of donations in order to be adequately distributed.
Lastly, we would like to call your attention to The Miami Diaper Bank, whose mission is to keep babies healthy and clean. This volunteering opportunity has universal ways to contribute ranging from one-time donations to hosting a diaper drive of your own.
We hope to have provided you with insight on how to get better involved with our wonderful and deserving community. May volunteering be this year’s method of embarking on the holiday spirit for you, your friends, and your family. Be kind. The happiest of holidays we wish to you, our readers.
To donate to Health in the Hood, their Venmo is @HealthintheHood-Inc and their PayPal is firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about socially distant opportunities with the Miami Diaper Bank please reach out to email@example.com with your inquiry.
REPORTER: Gabriella Socarras
THE CITY, Gravity Magazine, 2020