More than 100 volunteers took time out from their own Christmases last year to visit about 1,200 people in 17 different institutions.
They were members of the Holiday Project, which takes time to visit lonely people in hospitals, prisons, nursing homes and shelters on the day when these people are most likely to feel isolated - Christmas."It always turns out that we think we're just doing this for others and it benefits the volunteers themselves, too" said Pat Brewer, project chairwoman. "We go to do something for others and it always ends up making Christmas wonderful for us."
This year, the Utah chapters of the national organization hope to get 300 people out to visit 1,500 people in 25 institutions across the state. The project lasts only a couple of hours, so volunteers have plenty of time to be with their families, too.
Volunteers take along small gifts, which also serve as conversation openers. Last year, they took Christmas cards created by area school children.
Anyone interested can attended a gift-wrapping party - potluck goodies optional - at St. Anne's School at 7 p.m. Dec. 22. Volunteers are also meeting at the Salt Lake Hilton, 150 W. Fifth South, at 1 p.m. Christmas Day to begin their visiting rounds.
For more information or to volunteer, leave a message at 328-5892 and a Holiday Project coordinator will return your call.
If you'd like to inquire about, or volunteer for, any of the following requests, call the Voluntary Action Center of the Community Services Council, 212 W. 13th South, 486-2136.
Take a woman in wheelchair to doctor appointments at the U. Flexible hours.
Provide Christmas experience and friendship to refugee families.
Help prepare holiday baskets.
Answer phones for Easter Seals once a week 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Be typist for refugee center.
Make terry-cloth bibs for care center residents.
Do follow-up calls to the elderly.
Work in hospital gift shop and information desk.
Donate Apple IIe computer to teach refugee children English.
Give craft items for Critter Christmas Bazaar. Also building material for animal shelter.
Provide blankets and towels to Adult Day Treatment.
Give toys and games for refugees' Christmas.
Provide sofa, vacuum, drawers, etc. for refugees.
Donate books to detention facility library.
Give piano, VCR for mentally retarded adult residents.
Participate in Hug-A-Pet program at care center.
Help elderly woman pack to move to nursing home.
Put on a musical program at care center.
Be volunteer bookkeeper for organization.
Visit nursing home residents.
Help youth clubs with telemarketing.
Be Santa Claus for Community Nursing Service.
Sort and distribute clothing to low-income people.
Take phone calls about lost and found pets once a week.
Be a role model to adolescent mothers.
Help out at Children's Museum.
Work on arts newsletter.
Help with file data entry, telephones at treasurer's office.
Be receptionist, information officer at police department. They also need alarm unit clerk.
Work at the information desk at Salt Lake Airport.
Staff information booth at South Towne Mall until Christmas for Make-A-Wish Foundation. Also grant wishes, raise funds and do public relations.
Direct SIDS Foundation.
Donate winter coats, shoes to refugees.
Provide blanket or bedspread for elderly woman.
Give holiday gifts for care center residents.
Donate furniture to elderly man.
Provide size 16 tall nursing uniforms.
Give food for Christmas baskets.
Donate a desk to Guadalupe School.
Provide furniture for mother of three.
Give clothing, toys, food, money to sub-for-Santa programs.
Provide small trailer to refugee center.
Provide baby furniture and layettes.
Give table for family of nine.