Editorial: Use your power to volunteer during the season of giving

A UMN student’s quick guide to service opportunities in the Twin Cities.

Daily Editorial Board

While most people consider this time to be the most wonderful time of the year, for some students and families, it might just be the most stressful. If you’ve been looking for a way to give back to those who are less fortunate, now is the time to do so. But don’t forget that most organizations need help well past the holiday season.

Community Meals

Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis

Community Meals is the hunger and hospitality program for Hennepin County. Volunteer to help provide a hot meal on Sunday evenings to those who are homeless or low-income. With a variety of tasks, including being a server, waiter, dishwasher, cook or entertainer, Community Meals will find a place for you to serve.

Books for Africa

635 Prior Ave. N., St. Paul

With a goal of ending the book famine in Africa, Books for Africa is the largest organization that donates books to the African content. Since 1988, over 42 million books have been shipped to each and every country in Africa. Volunteer to help sort and pack books that will be sent to schools in need, or donate your unused books to the organization.

The Sheridan Story

2723 Patton Rd., Roseville

The Sheridan Story has a vision of fighting child hunger in our local community and partners with schools to do so. With weekend, summer and food bags, The Sheridan Story helps at all times of the year. Volunteers will either unpack shipments of non-perishable food or will be packing meals for students to take home.

Second Harvest Heartland

Several locations across the Twin Cities

Second Harvest Heartland believes no one should go hungry, so the organization works with community partnerships to end hunger. While serving with Second Harvest, volunteers will help sort and pack all types of food, including non-perishables and fresh produce.

Minnesota Children’s Museum

10 W. 7th St., St. Paul

The Minnesota Children’s Museum is the place to be when it comes to unique experiences for kids. The MCM is always on the lookout for long term volunteers that will help foster and grow a child’s experience. Volunteers will help keep an eye on the museum, play with kids and assist in making all experiences enjoyable.

Hennepin County Libraries

Multiple locations

The Hennepin County Library locations host many volunteer opportunities throughout the year, including K-12 and college tutoring, mentoring youth and keeping library materials in order. With locations around the Twin Cities, volunteers have an array of options to choose from.

As we enter the holiday season, it is important to remember that we must try to lift every member of our community up and spread the joy that is often felt around the holidays. Of course, there are more organizations that need volunteer help during the holiday season and stretching into spring, summer and fall. Please consider volunteering this winter and beyond.

Looking for more options? The University of Minnesota’s Center for Community-Engaged Learning will connect you with opportunities that match your interests and goals.