Additional Thanksgiving and Holiday Volunteer and Service Opportunities
It’s hard to find places to volunteer on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, as everyone is off and many are looking to help out that day/week. While volunteering at the IFPO for our Thanksgiving and Holiday Distributions are by pre-registration only, we’d love to see you come volunteer at IFPO any Wednesday (except the first week of the month) throughout the year.
1. In gratitude for the dinner you were able to eat on Thanksgiving, go grocery shopping (or raid your pantry) and donate (unexpired) canned goods so others will not be hungry. Donate cans to the IFPO. Most needed: tuna, canned protein meals like ravioli or chili, tomato sauce, canned soup, (plastic) jars of peanut butter and jelly.
2. Hosting a Holiday celebration? Ask your guests to bring canned goods to donate! Use canned goods you will donate as your centerpieces or place cards! Tell them about the IFPO, which now routinely distributes groceries to 345 clients each pantry week! That’s a lot of cans (and fresh produce, too).
3. Purchase new toys for the Holiday Toy collection of the IFPO. IFPO’s goal is to collect 1,000 toys, so no client ‘s child goes without a new toy this holiday. Details can be found here - https://www.orangesfoodpantry.org/thankserving - and the Amazon Registry can be found at:
3. Clean your bookshelves for children’s books and cookbooks a great cause, and bring them to IFPO. Gently used children’s books will be given to children in Orange and East Orange through the Toy Library of Worldwide Orphans at the IFPO. IFPO clients love cookbooks. No other adult books, please (places to donate those: the Big Green drop box of Better World Books outside the South Orange Public Library or Montclair Public Library).
4. Color a picture for the homebound, ill, or elderly to brighten their day. www.colorasmile.org.
5. Bake cookies together. Deliver them to your local police precinct, fire station or rescue squad to say thanks for all they do! Or bag them in small bags and donate to us - our clients always love a home-baked treat!
6. Clean out your kid’s toy closet, your housewares, etc. and, after the Holiday, make a call to donate, schedule a pickup or find a donation site (the attended donation site of Goodwill near Bed, Bath in Springfield is a great choice. The organization provides low cost merchandise for those in need as well as well as creating jobs for those in need, including the disabled).
7. While the IFPO does not accept donations of gently used clothing, you can still clean your closets and donate to worthy organizations for people in need. A list of sites for the Jersey Cares coat collections, which run until Dec. 11th, can be found at this link: https://www.jerseycares.org/The_Jersey_Cares_Coat_Drive
8. Pet lover? Donate pet items to a local shelter. Or be a dog walker or cat socializer. https://www.sthuberts.org/about-volunteering or
9. Computer savvy kids? Click away to provide free mammograms ( www.thebreastcancersite.com), pet supplies (www.theanimalrescuesite.com), hunger relief (www.thehungersite.com), protect the rainforest (www.therainforestsite.com), give free books (www.theliteracysite.com) and support child health (www.childhealthsite.com).
10. Looking for a group project? Here are some examples of things groups have done and donated to IFPO in the past. Create an assembly line and assemble:
a. winter packages - bag things like packs of tissues, hot chocolate, chapstick, tea, hard candy, hand lotion, etc. - tie with festive ribbon.
b. assemble trail mix in packages (nuts, dried fruits, granola, chocolate chips, etc).
c. Stuff a pair of balled up adult socks with any of the things listed in winter packages. Bag each one.
d. Assemble a soup mix. While it’s lovely to layer things in mason jars, this would also be great in plastic bags. You can find recipes online. Be sure it's something where you just toss it all in with boiling water and cook for X amount of time. You should include recipe (list ingredients and give cooking instructions).
11. Available Tuesday afternoons to help boys in East Orange? Our fabulous partner The Bass Foundation is looking for additional volunteers for their Bass Buddies Reading Program from 3:30 - 4:30 pm starting in January for 1st and 2nd grade boys. Contact Peggy Barnett at email@example.com.
12. Walk off the calories from Thanksgiving dinner (or any meal you are grateful for) and help the environment! Bring a trash bag with you and collect litter, then responsibly dispose of the litter (including recycling what you can). Taking kids on your walk and modelllng this behavior can truly help clean our world.