Give Thanks as a Holiday Volunteer

With the arrival and passing of Thanksgiving comes the start of the holiday season, a time when we take stock of the many blessings in our lives. The holidays offer a variety of opportunities for Northfield residents to remember those blessings and pay it forward through volunteerism. Local nonprofits need volunteers all year long, but the holiday season often requires additional support.

Here are a few ways to get involved this season:

Local Churches and Schools

Your church or children’s school undoubtedly has holiday programs set up to help the less fortunate through gift giving and food drives. Volunteers are often needed for helping sort or deliver food and gift items to their final destination.

For instance, on the first Thursday of each month from 3:30-5:30 p.m., Church of St. Dominic serves as a location for Fare for All. This program, which is open to everyone, offers bulk discount pricing on packages of fresh produce and frozen meat. Volunteers may be needed to help shoppers carry groceries to their vehicles. For more information, contact Margaret Huber at 952-652-2195.

Salvation Army

One of the most familiar signs of the holiday season are bell ringers standing next to the red Salvation Army kettles outside many local businesses. Bell ringers are needed, regardless of the weather, to generate mission-critical funds for the charity. For more information, email northfieldbellringer@gmail.com.

Community Action Center

The Community Action Center (CAC) of Northfield has two strong volunteer needs during the holiday season. For more information, email northfieldcac@communityactioncenter.org.

Christmas Sharing Program

On December 13, the CAC’s holiday giving program will serve nearly 400 parents who select gifts for their families. CAC needs a variety of helpers on December 11, 12 and 14, for picking up community collection boxes, helping with logistics, organizing and wrapping gifts, and post-event tear-down.

Food Shelf

The CAC Food Shelf welcomes helpers all year long. However due to the regular volunteers’ holiday schedules (i.e. students leaving town, etc.) more help may be needed in the shelf operation, to pick up donations or deliver groceries to home-bound elderly people.

Northfield Area Family YMCA

The 16th annual Jingle Bell Run, being held on Saturday, December 16, benefits the YMCA Scholarship Drive. The Y needs 15-20 people to help with setup, clean up, registration and as course marshals to give directions to participants. Email volunteer@northfieldymca.org for more information.

Northfield Retirement Community

Seniors appreciate visitors, and the holiday season can be a lonely time for some elderly people. Northfield Retirement Community (NRC) is always looking for volunteers to share their musical talents, visit with residents, assist residents to and from Sunday Worship Services, and lead evening bingo games. For more information, visit northfieldretirement.org.

These are just a few of the many holiday volunteer opportunities available in Northfield this year. So as you give thanks for your blessings, and if you have the time, consider paying it forward as a volunteer to make Northfield an even better place this holiday season.