DES MOINES, Iowa — With the holiday season just around the corner, local non-profits are jumping at the opportunity to land extra help. According the United Way of Central Iowa, local charities are seeing a major jump in donations and volunteers.
“There definitely is a spike in numbers of volunteers helping during the holidays. It is a great way to give back as a family, group or as an individual,” said Shirley Burgess, United Way of Central Iowa. “Part of the increase in volunteering is driven by the heightened awareness of needs in our community – especially during this time of year.”
Local charities, like Meals from the Heartland, echo those numbers and appreciate the help.
“We are full now for the next two weeks,” said Susan Bunz, Meals from the Heartland. “It’s amazing. The more people we have the more food we can package. You cannot package without people.”
Meals from the Heartland, holds an annual meal packing event on Thanksgiving and they reached their volunteer limit early last week.
“We find that when people know what kind of help is needed they respond. So it is a reminder to all of us to be sure that we continue to let the community know what needs to be done and specifically how they can help,” said Burgess.
Burgess goes on to say that most people don’t volunteer because often they don’t know what needs to be done So, The holidays provide the perfect backdrop to get people volunteering now and hopefully in the future.
“Needs don’t go away on December 26th,” said Burgess.
If you’re looking to donate Burgess has a list of items that are in high demand now.
“Adopt a family or child, donate items for food baskets, visit the elderly, volunteer to drive, provide a feast, donated canned food, donate new clothes or personal care items, donate toys or books, help with holiday parties,” said Burgess.
Holiday Helping Hand is a website run by the United Way and is designed to help people find the right volunteering opportunity.