How to Volunteer For the Holidays

Lend a helping hand this season.

Dallas Children’s Health Holiday Parade

dallaschildrensparade.com

What it is: The annual holiday parade’s floats, school bands, and gigantic balloons march down the streets of downtown Dallas in front of nearly 400,000 spectators. The parade benefits the Child Life department of Children’s Health (formerly Children’s Medical Center). 

What they need: Volunteers can sign up to host bleachers, escort characters, help with costumes and props, direct buses, and more. 

How to volunteer: Go to the volunteer section of the website and fill out a form. Registration is open until Nov. 20. This year’s parade is Saturday, Dec. 5. 

The Stewpot

thestewpot.org

What it is: This safe haven for local homeless and at-risk individuals provides resources for basic survival needs as well as opportunities to start a new life. 

What they need: Volunteers to serve approximately 1,000 meals and pour beverages seven days a week in the
Second Chance Cafe. 

How to volunteer: Contact meal and volunteer services director Ashlee Hueston at [email protected] or 214-382-5919. Include the size of your group, your preferred meal service time, and days of  the week. 

North Texas Food Bank

web.ntfb.org

What it is: Each day, the North Texas Food Bank provides 170,000 meals for hungry children, seniors, and families through a network of more than 1,000 programs and 262 partner agencies. 

What they need: The food bank relies on volunteers to help in the pantry, distribution center, and other efforts, but their greatest need is food to make up the 62 million meals they distribute a year.  

How to volunteer: Host a canned-food drive. Individuals, groups, and organizations of all sizes can rally to contribute. For the handbook, how-to-get-started checklist, and list of most-wanted items, check out the “donate food” section of the website. Contact the team at [email protected] or 214-270-1996 with questions. 

The Salvation Army DFW Angel Tree

dfwangeltree.org

What it is: The Angel Tree started in 1979 as a way to spread the holiday spirit to children in need. Now, hundreds of trees are scattered around town in local malls and organizations. The trees enable families and individuals to fulfill Christmas wishes for 50,000 people who can’t afford to on their own. 

What they need: Volunteers to help with collecting donations, as well as donors to adopt those in need by selecting an angel tag from a tree. A list of items will be included on the angel, and donors drop their gifts back to the tree by the date listed on their tag. 

How to volunteer: Go to participating shopping centers and organizations (a list is on their website) from Nov. 6 to Dec. 9 to find your angel. For more information about volunteering, contact [email protected] 

The Trains at NorthPark

thetrainsatnorthpark.com

What it is: This train exhibit is a popular family-friendly attraction. Trains chug on 1,600 feet of track and through 4,000 square feet of themed environments, holiday scenes, and mini replicas of local and national cityscapes. Ticket sales benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, a home away from home for families with sick or injured children receiving treatment at nearby facilities. 

What they need: The exhibit relies on volunteers to collect tickets, welcome visitors, and monitor the exhibit between the viewing dates of Nov. 21 and Jan. 3. The trains receive about 60,000 visitors a year. 

How to volunteer: Available dates and times can be viewed on the calendar link on the website. Once you have picked a shift, email [email protected] with your preferred shift. 

Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot

thetrot.org

What it is: For some, it’s a Thanksgiving-morning tradition to burn a few calories—either at the run/walk 5K or the 8-mile run—before gobbling up a plate of turkey and stuffing. The proceeds benefit the Dallas YMCA. 

What they need: Volunteers help with packet pickups, water breaks, setup and cleanup, information booths, registration, and more. 

How to volunteer: Visit the website and click on the volunteer tab to sign up for a shift by Nov. 16. Register to run or walk on the website, too. This year’s race is Nov. 26 at 9 a.m.

VNA Holiday Gift Project 

vnatexas.org

What it is: VNA helps the elderly maintain their independence. They provide the popular Meals on Wheels program as well as the Holiday Gift Project, which facilitates the delivery of 4,000 toiletry items on Christmas.

What they need: The VNA collects donated toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, lotions, shampoo, socks, and washcloths. They also rely on volunteers to help with inventory, collect donations, wrap items, and deliver gifts. 

How to volunteer: Host a private wrap party and bring the requested items to the VNA to wrap and decorate with friends. Or attend one of two wrap parties on Dec. 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or Dec. 10 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the VNA Haggerty Center. 

Toys for Tots

dfwtoysfortots.org

What it is: The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve puts on this annual event to collect new toys to distribute as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children. 

What they need: Volunteers to sort toys in the warehouse and distribute them to the approved agencies.  

How to volunteer: Visit the website to complete the Gratuitous Service Agreement and email to [email protected] A volunteer coordinator will contact you with available shifts. Or donate a new, unwrapped toy. Check the website for drop-off locations. 

Wilkinson Center Food Pantry Holiday Drive

thewilkinsoncenter.org

What it is: The Wilkinson Center is a poverty rescue and prevention agency for the working poor that provides a food pantry as well as adult education services and a family literacy program to help those in need gain employment and empowerment. 

What they need: The food pantry accepts food donations year-round, but during the holiday months they are especially in need of canned fruit, canned vegetables, canned tuna and chicken, soups, stews, and spaghetti sauce. 

How to volunteer: You can drop off your items at the food pantry by Dec. 17. Contact Adrienne O’Connor at 972-284-0301 or [email protected]
wilkinsoncenter.org to schedule a drop-off. 

Home for the Holidays 

spca.org

What it is: The SPCA of Texas raffles off 20 custom-made, one-of-a-kind doghouses built by architects and contractors. They are on display from Nov. 16 through Dec. 7 at NorthPark Center. Plus, the agency will have adoptable cats and dogs ready to find their forever homes. 

What they need: Families and individuals ready and willing to adopt a new dog or cat. Already have a pet? Volunteer your time by working the event. 

How to volunteer: Head to NorthPark Center anytime from Nov. 27 to Dec. 23 from noon to 6 p.m. to find your future furry friend. Or enter the raffle from Nov. 16 through Dec. 7 for a chance to win a doghouse. Check out spca.org/volunteer to find out how you can help with the event.

In This Photo:

(clockwise from top left) Glisten string lights, $22/Z Gallerie; Sunburst engraved gift tag, $4 each/Bell’Invito; Hammered copper serving spoon, $16/Sur la Table 
On model: (top left) Alexis Bittar bracelet, $295/Neiman Marcus  (top right) Alexis Bittar ring, $325/Neiman Marcus; ERIN Erin Fetherston dress, $365/Neiman Marcus  (bottom right) Alexis Bittar ring, $245/Neiman Marcus; Alexis Bittar Cuff, $245/Neiman Marcus; Rickie Freeman Teri Jon dress, $640/Neiman Marcus (bottom left) Alexis Bittar ring, $155/Neiman Marcus

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