This article originally appeared online and in print for Hey Rhody magazine.
Check out the many ways to lend a helping hand to charitable organizations across RI this holiday season, and beyond:
The oldest child welfare organization in the state is Children’s Friend. For their annual Spirit of Giving Holiday Drive, they partner with volunteers to provide Rhode Island families with clothes, games, and toys. Volunteers can also get involved year-round working in the office and directly with the children, and donations of school supplies, books, diapers, and formula are always appreciated.
Serve Rhode Island, an organization within the Department of Education, is a vibrant center for volunteerism. It is committed to connecting Rhode Islanders to service opportunities with AmeriCorps and local non-profits. Partner organizations include the Providence Children’s Museum, Accessing Home, and Teach for America.
Founded in 1894, Crossroads RI is the state’s largest homeless services organization and has been supporting Rhode Island’s most vulnerable families and individuals ever since. They offer an array of services for their clients, including shelter and educational assistance like GED preparation. Taking the time to help with moving clients into a new home or volunteering all go a long way.
Give some love to your furry friends and adorable critters, and volunteer at animal shelters like the Providence Animal Rescue League, Middletown’s Potter Rescue League, Friends of the Bristol Animal Shelter and Peace Dale’s Animal Rescue Rhode Island.
The Rhode Island Community Food Bank has been serving the state for decades, distributing food to 60,000 people each month through a network of 167 partner agencies. There are plenty of items you can donate, including one-time and monthly cash donations, an old car, and even stocks. And you know those Mr. Potato Head license plates? The Food Bank gets $20 from each of them. Be sure to save the date for their Holiday Food Drive & Open House on December 8.
To support the more than 300 families requesting aid around Thanksgiving, The North Kingstown Food Pantry seeks volunteers to put together food baskets of traditional holiday meals in addition to food items for the following week. They accept non-perishable food donations and monetary contributions as well.
The East Bay Food Pantry allows families to choose items based on individual household needs in this grocery-style pantry. Monetary donations are especially helpful, as they buy their food from the Rhode Island Food Bank at rates often as low as five cents a pound. To help support their mission of feeding Rhode Island families, they are always eager to welcome new donors.