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Goodwill hunting

By Dena Hill

Senior Editor

Volunteer options abound for a holiday of do-gooding

 

Students from St. Mark’s and Hockaday sort bags of toys and clothing for families in need as part of the Angel Tree project at The Salvation Army.
Photo: Jorge Correa

“It’s the holiday season. Everyone’s feeling very giving and, typically, that’s when people want to give back to the community,” says Patricia Melton, public relations manager for the Volunteer Center of North Texas. “Also, they may have a couple of days off during the holidays and that may give them more time to volunteer.”

It’s a great time to spread some cheer by lending a helping hand, and local volunteer opportunities are not only plentiful, but easy to find. The 23rd annual edition of Holiday Harvest 2003, published each year by the Volunteer Center (available online at www.volunteernorthtexas.org), lists information on hundreds of nonprofit agencies seeking assistance. It’s a valuable resource for anyone seeking volunteer opportunities. Those who find themselves with a day to fill can browse through the Holiday Harvest 2003 listings to find a match.

Many of the center’s 100,000 yearly volunteer referrals are given at this time of year, according to Ms. Melton. She advises potential volunteers to choose an agency from the guide, call the volunteer coordinator for that agency, and see what they have available. “I think it’s safe to say there’s something out there for everyone,” Ms. Melton said.

Some agencies listed in the Holiday Harvest 2003 guide need helpers, while others ask only for donations. Here’s a sampling of both types:

Attitudes and Attire seeks help sorting food, clothes, or gifts for the holiday. According to their guide listing, this organization promotes “personal growth for economically disadvantaged women and teen girls by helping them develop self-esteem, work ethics, and confidence in the workplace.”

The agency also needs donations of new and used clothing, gift certificates, and toiletries. Contact Lori Clack at 214-630-1667. For more information, go to www.attitudesandattire.org.

Buckner Orphan Care International needs volunteers to sort food, clothes, or gifts for the holiday. The agency also needs donations of shoes for its program, “Shoes for Orphan Souls.” Contact Andrew Knight at 214-914-1676. For more information, go to www.buckner.org.

Holiday Harvest 2003 notes that Equest provides “equine assisted therapy and rehabilitation for children and adults with physical, mental, emotional, and learning disabilities.” The agency seeks volunteers to plan, to clean up, to entertain for holiday parties, or to assist with holiday food preparation and service.

According to Celeste Sauls, Equest director of volunteer services, the Equest Holiday Open House, from 1 - 4 p.m. this Sunday, Dec. 14, welcomes Equest friends new and old. Riders, volunteers, and guests will be able to visit the stables and bring their favorite horse a Christmas gift. Visit www.equest.org for more information (for directions, click Other on the home page), or contact Ms. Sauls at csauls@equest.org or 972-412-1099.

 

Dallas Junior Forum volunteer Mary Lemoine shares a holiday greeting with 99-year-old Susie Epperson at Juliette Fowler Homes.
Photo:  Jake Dean
Juliette Fowler Homes, Inc.,
is one of the oldest nonprofit social service agencies in Dallas that provides residential services for the elderly and for emotionally disturbed adolescents, an agency spokesperson said. The agency’s needs include volunteers to “adopt a family”; to distribute or deliver holiday goods; plan, clean up, or entertain for holiday parties; to provide transportation for holiday events, sort food, clothes, or gifts for the holidays; and to wrap gifts or decorate.

Agency donation needs include canned food or food baskets, new and used clothing, decorations and party favors, furniture or appliances, gift certificates, linens, office or school supplies, toiletries, and new or used toys. Contact Cindy Wabner at 214-827-0813, or visit www.fowlerhomes.net for more information.

The Salvation Army has several Dallas area locations. Call 214-902-0179 for their volunteer hotline to learn about available volunteer opportunities. Their website is www.salvationarmydallas.org.

Although the holidays are a prime time for volunteer efforts, the Holiday Harvest 2003 guide is a good resource for volunteer opportunities throughout the year, Ms. Melton points out. “I would encourage people to keep the book and refer to it through the entire year, and if they don’t have time to volunteer during the holiday season they might volunteer on another weekend during the year or during the summer months.”

To reach the Volunteer Center of North Texas, call 214-826-6767. 

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