The holidays are a time for giving. What better way to spread holiday cheer than volunteering?
Hall County has many options to give back by donating to food drives, helping domestic violence victims, providing toys to less fortunate children or loving on homeless animals.
“It is very important to volunteer, regardless of where you choose to volunteer,” said Avein Gober, volunteer and outreach coordinator at the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia. “There are so many wonderful community organizations, people and causes that depend on the work that volunteers do. Oftentimes, volunteers are the ‘backbone’ of any cause.”
Gober said volunteers bring passion to their service, and their work helps make communities better.
The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia has a small staff and relies on volunteers to ensure each animal gets the care it deserves. HSNEGA’s top priority is to find “furrever” homes with an emphasis on quality and passionate care for all animals.
“Since we deal with live animals, it is extremely important that we try to mimic their lives outside of the facility, by making sure that they have adequate exercise, proper dieting and important companionship and socialization with humans,” Gober said.
Action Ministries Mountain Region Director Tina Grubbs agrees volunteers are life-changers.
Action Ministries mobilizes communities to address the challenges of poverty by focusing on hunger relief, housing and education.
“Our programs are designed to engage volunteers at every level to meet the needs in local communities,” she said. “Whether it’s serving lunches during the summer, reading to children, donating linens to a family in need or packing food boxes, we can’t do it alone.”
To help area residents decide on where to offer their time and money this year, the following is a list of places to volunteer this holiday season.
MEALS ON WHEELS
Approximately 350 seniors receive hot lunches delivered by friendly volunteers each Monday through Friday. For some seniors, this daily visit may be the only social interaction they have during the day.
How to help: Deliver meals within the city of Gainesville. Routes take approximately one hour; training provided.
Type of drivers needed:
• Delivery — Pick up meals from a designated site and deliver to client homes. Meal routes operate Monday through Friday. Pickup time is between 10:30 -11:30 a.m.
• Satellite site drop-off — Pick up meal bags from the Meals on Wheels distribution site and deliver to one of the satellite sites in North Hall, South Hall or Clermont.
• Substitute — Fill in when regular volunteers are unable to delivery their route.
Volunteers must submit to a background check. Background fee is $10.
Contact: Volunteer orientation is the second and fourth Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Community Service Center, 430 Prior St. SE, in Gainesville. To schedule an orientation at another location for a large group, contact Stepheine Hood at 770-503-3338 or email@example.com.
For more info: www.gainesville.org/meals-on-wheels
AMERICAN RED CROSS
The American Red Cross helps people prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies. It teaches life-saving skills, provides resources for military families and helps international families in crisis.
The organization also supports the Southern Blood Services region in its efforts to ensure a safe and ready blood supply in Georgia.
How to help: Volunteers are needed to assist in administrative services such as fundraising, public relations, translating, interpreting and office support, as well as disaster volunteers and blood services volunteers.
For more info: www.redcross.org/northeastgeorgia
Court Appointed Special Advocates provides a voice for children in court. Advocates present the best interest of the child before the court, to the social service system and to community service providers to ensure the child’s right to a safe and permanent home.
How to help: CASA is seeking volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children. Volunteers are trained, screened and supervised. No experience is required. Every child deserves a safe and permanent home.
Contact: Contact Heather Hammontree, 770-531-1964 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For more info: www.halldawsoncasa.org
GAINESVILLE ACTION MINISTRIES
Action Ministries Inc. is a nonprofit that provides an extensive network of community partners and volunteers with the tools and expertise to lead fellow Georgians out of poverty. By meeting basic needs of hunger relief, housing and education, Action Ministries removes barriers that prevent thousands of Georgians from breaking the cycle of poverty.
How to help: Volunteers are needed to assemble housing kits and hygiene kits, transport food from farmers or merchants, help with taxes and teach financial literacy curriculum, provide enrichment activities for children, assemble lunches for children, sponsor families during the holidays and write inspirational letters or cards.
Contact: Tina Grubbs at 770-531-0144
For more info: actionministries.net
GATEWAY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CENTER
Through crisis intervention, comprehensive support services and community collaboration, Gateway Domestic Violence Center helps create an environment for safe, healthy, self-sufficient growth and violence prevention.
How to help: Volunteers are needed to assist with children’s support groups, answer crisis hotlines, clerical work, meal preparation and facility maintenance.
Contact: Shelby Kinsey at 770-536-5860
For more info: gatewaydvcenter.org
GEORGIA MOUNTAIN FOOD BANK
Georgia Mountain Food Bank’s mission is to address hunger, health and quality of life by serving those in need. The organization provides a link between sources of food supplies and community-based partner agencies who help get the food into the hands of families and individuals in need.
How to help: Volunteers are needed for a variety of areas including at the volunteer action center, food drives and for outreach and administrative efforts.
Contact: Phil Dennis at 770-534-4111 for any questions or information on how to schedule a large group, arrange for community service hours or volunteer as an individual.
For more info: www.gamountainfoodbank.org
GOOD NEWS CLINICS
Good News Clinics provides medical and dental care at no cost to the patient for uninsured residents of Hall County who cannot afford to purchase health care services.
How to help: Spanish-speaking interpreters, medical assistants, dental assistants and hygienists, nurses, physicians and nurse practitioners are needed. Other volunteers may assist with administrative duties from 9 a.m. to noon or 1-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Contact: Jean Peeples at 770-503-1369 or email@example.com
For more info: www.goodnewsclinics.org
FRAZIER’S HARLEY-DAVIDSON’S 24TH ANNUAL TOY RIDE
The 24th Annual Toy Ride sponsored by Frazier’s Harley-Davidson helps Santa provide presents for underprivileged children each year.
Frazier’s Harley-Davidson begins the holiday season by collecting toys for children ages 1-14. New, unwrapped toys may be dropped off at Frazier’s Harley-Davidson, 4699 Friendship Road in Buford.
More than 250 motorcycles will ride to Chattahoochee Baptist Association in Gainesville to make the special delivery Sunday, Dec. 4.
Parents must apply for the Secret Santa program for their children in advance.
Contact: Laurie Frazier at 770-945-6011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
THE GUEST HOUSE INC.
The Guest House Inc. is a health care and activities center for seniors who need day-time care and company. Fees are based on the patient’s income.
How to help: Volunteers are needed to help clients with routine activities, bring a craft, art project, musical talent or just your heart.
Contact: Brenda Webb at 770-535-1487 or email email@example.com
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY OF HALL COUNTY
Habitat for Humanity of Hall County is part of a global, nonprofit housing organization operated on Christian principles seeking to put God’s love into action by building homes, communities and hope. It is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; advocating for fair and just housing policies; and providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions.
How to help: Volunteering opportunities include help with building homes, store inventory, organizing displays, data entry, carpentry work and repurposing items.
For more info: www.habitathallcounty.org
HALL COUNTY ANIMAL SHELTER
The Hall County Animal Shelter is the only organization in the community that accepts stray, lost, abandoned and surrendered animals. It’s a place where animals who are lost come to be reunited with their families and where unwanted animals get a second chance for a home.
How to help: Volunteers needed to walk and play with animals.
Contact: Cindy Langman at 678-450-1587 or 770-531-6831
For more info: www.hallcounty.org/276/Animal-Services
HUMANE SOCIETY OF NORTHEAST GEORGIA
The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia’s mission is to create a community recognized for responsible pet ownership and humane treatment of animals by offering basic pet wellness and spay/neuter services, public education and placement of companion animals.
How to help: Play with puppies, socialize with cats, walk and train large dogs or help with special outreach and fundraising events.
Contact: Avein Gober, HSNEGA’s Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, at 770-532-6617 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more info: www.humanesocietyofnortheastgeorgia.org
MY SISTER’S PLACE
My Sister’s Place provides a nurturing home, transportation assistance, nutritious meals and other basic necessities to the single women and mothers with children. My Sister’s Place provides life skills workshops, case management, counseling and tools to help them be in a better position when they leave than they were in when they arrived.
How to help: Volunteers are needed for special projects and on a regular basis. Special projects include child care, overnight supervision and committee members. Weekly needs include organizing donations, reception help answering phones and accepting donations, and drivers to transport residents to church.
For more info: www.my-sisters-place.org
RANDY AND FRIENDS
Randy and Friends Inc. is a nonprofit organization with a vision to make Gainesville a model community that values its members, including those who may have been previously overlooked because of a disability. Its mentors and volunteers are tapping into the individual strengths and creativity of each young adult with the desire to become independent. Programs such as making pottery, beading various items, woodworking, horticulture, outdoor sports, accessory making and communications will provide training for developing marketable skills.
How to help: Assist and be a friend to an adult with a significant disability. Meet from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday in the coffee and gift shop at The Roosters Perch or volunteer to help with clerical work and being an instructor.
Contact: Marty Owens at email@example.com or 678-617-5527
For more info: www.randyandfriends.org
TOYS FOR TOTS
The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. The primary goal is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive and patriotic citizens.
How to help: Volunteers needed to collect toys and sort toys for Hall County Toys for Tots. During late November and the first two weeks of December, volunteers are needed to help with toy distribution.
Contact: gainesville-ga.toysfortots.org for more information and to volunteer