Amy Bosworth, volunteer center coordinator and outreach director for Utah's Information and Referral Service, says there are many opportunities to help others and no better time to jump in than during the holidays, with their built-in giving and sharing themes.
Here are 10 needs to be filled. And if, by chance, none of them appeal to you, you can look online at www.211ut.org for others.
Staffers will also help you figure out age-appropriate volunteer opportunities if you have children.
1. Provide literal warmth. House of Hope, a nonprofit program for women and children, needs blankets, especially twin quilts and blankets. There's also great need for crib sheets, twin sheets, pillows, towels and dishtowels. They need to be new or clean and only gently used. Drop off at 857 E. 200 South in Salt Lake City.
2. Provide coats, gloves and boots to refugee families through the Asian Association of Utah. They also need diapers and hygiene products. 801-467-6060.
3. Yum. Donations of frozen turkeys, ham, boxed stuffing mix, canned fruits and vegetables, canned milk and boxed dessert mixes are needed so that low-income families can prepare a good holiday meal. Crossroads Urban Center will distribute them. For information, call 801-364-7765. Feed the Poor has similar needs. 801-746-3333.
4. Be a driving force. Refugee children from Africa need transportation to attend important workshops and to practice their traditional dance. They also need hygiene and household items, since many of the families are low/no income. Call Best of Africa Culture Group, 801-706-1227.
5. Got time? Sort and hand out donations for children who were removed from drug homes and now live with their grandparents. The Children's Service Center Santa store especially needs gift certificates, movie passes, hygiene items, games and books. All new items, please. Call 801-355-7444.
6. Talented when it comes to PR or web design? Eye Care 4 Kids needs volunteers to help with both. Call 801-285-5443.
7. You could stuff stockings with joy. Juvenile Justice Services needs treat bags of Christmas stockings filled with plastic bottles of soda, candy, personal snacks, metal-free notepads, teen-appropriate books, card games, hygiene items, DVDs and board games for teens. 801-284-0251.
8. Music to your ears. Donate instruments (guitar, bass, drums and keyboards) or fund a rock concert assembly for students at a local school this spring. Contact karen@Musicmakesmusic.org.
9. Be a good role model. Help with homework, serve dinner or volunteer at a YMCA of Greater Salt Lake Holiday Day Camp. If that's too hands on, provide needed items, from kids' coats to crock pots and cookware. 801-466-6299.
10. Brighten the holidays for an elder. David County Health Department is holding a gift drive to provide gifts of a value under $50 to senior citizens who are isolated or don't have the means to celebrate this year. Call 801-525-5087.
— Lois M. Collins