7 volunteer opportunities to start 2022 off right

Published on January 4, 2022 in , , , , ,

As families across southeastern Michigan pack up holiday lights and strap on backpacks, it can only mean one thing: another holiday season is officially behind us.

After the holiday season ends, United Way and our nonprofit partners often experience sharp declines in giving and volunteerism throughout the rest of the winter. But the need doesn’t go away. In fact, many of our partners are expecting to see an uptick in requests as food and utility costs rise, and the pandemic stretches on into its third year.

You can help make sure nonprofits have the support they need to continue providing critical services for the community this winter. Below, we have outlined a few opportunities to give back in January and beyond.

Help families meet their basic needs

Oakland HOPE Food Pantry and Thrift Store: Oakland HOPE’s thrift store helps to fund its food pantry, which provides free groceries to thousands of families each month. As a volunteer you can experience both sides of the operation – helping to sort and pack food items at the pantry before sorting, pricing, and assisting shoppers in the thrift store.  Families and groups are welcome, making this another great reason to get back together after the holidays.

Support Afghan Refugees with Wayne Metro: Metro Detroit is now home to hundreds of Afghan refugees who have resettled in the region. You can support these families by volunteering to deliver meals or serve meals with Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency.

Distribute food with Alternatives for Girls : Short on time but still want to give back? Alternatives for Girls, in partnership with Forgotten Harvest, offers flexible opportunities to assist with food distribution this winter.

Give Back with Gleaners:  The Gleaners distribution centers process a tremendous volume of donated and purchased food to serve neighbors in need. Volunteers can assist with a range of tasks including sorting and packing food, picking orders for shipments, preparing supplies for food drives and more. With so many options, it’s easy to choose a date and time that works best for you.

Pack food with Forgotten Harvest: For more than 30 years, Forgotten Harvest has taken donated food, which would otherwise go to waste, and delivered it free-of-charge to emergency food providers in metro Detroit. The work wouldn’t be possible without dedicated volunteers. This January, help start the year off strong by repacking fresh, nutritious food destined for the tables of those in need in Oak Park or Royal Oak.

Support students

Build literacy with book fairs: United Way is partnering with Scholastic, Inc. to host several My Home Library Book Fairs at Pontiac elementary schools this January. During the fairs, volunteers are needed to help students select books of interest out of the hundreds offered to them at no cost. By volunteering for just a few hours this month, you can help to foster a love of reading and build a culture of literacy.

More ways to give back

Be a virtual volunteer with Brilliant Detroit : Virtual volunteers can make a difference in a child’s life without ever leaving home. Brilliant Detroit is seeking volunteers to meet with local elementary students weekly via Zoom for tutoring and fun literacy-building activities.

Looking for something different? As always, you can visit our volunteer portal to find additional opportunities that are right for you in any season. To make a donation that will benefit those in need, visit our website.