If you’re feeling extra generous this time of year, here are some great community organizations that have opportunities for families to volunteer and give back.
- Toys for Tots Virtual Toy Drive DonateAToy.org Through a partnership with DonateAToy.org, you can give a needy child a toy without having to find a local box distribution point. This virtual toy drive makes it easy and contact-free.
- Volunteer Match volunteermatch.org Volunteer Match makes it easy to give back. Log on and search hundreds of opportunities in your area.
- Hands On Nashville 615-298-1108 | hon.org Hands On Nashville is a volunteer resource center than coordinates several service projects each month. While many have an age requirement of 18+, there are many that youngsters ages 8 and older can do alongside Mom and Dad. They include neighborhood clean-up initiatives and food pantry duties.
- Mid-Cumberland Meals on Wheels 615-331-6033 | mchra.com/meals-on-wheels-volunteer email@example.com While the program does not utilize volunteers for meal delivery in Davidson County, it does have a cool program for children called Nourishing Notes. Kids can make cards with greetings or draw artwork to be delivered to meal recipients. It’s a great way for children to exercise their creativity in a way that will brighten someone’s day. For more info about getting your kids involved with Nourishing Notes, e-mail Sharon McDaniel at the address above.
- Second Harvest Food Bank 331 Great Circle Road, Nashville 615-329-3491 | secondharvestmidtn.org Got kids 6 and older? Sign up to participate in Family Nights. They take place Thursdays from 5:30 – 8 p.m. Kid-friendly projects include packing backpacks with food distributed through schools to children at risk of hunger. Other duties include bagging bulk produce into family portions; assembling monthly food boxes for senior citizens; and packing meal bags for community centers, schools and other agencies.
- Vanderbilt’s Virtual toy Drive vanderbilthealth.org/HolidayGiving In lieu of bringing toy donations to the hospital this year, please visit our virtual toy drive and make a donation based on the items you’d like a patient to receive, letting our staff safely do the shopping.
- The Last Minute Toy Store Lastminutetoystore.com The Last Minute Toy Store is a ministry of Highland Park Church and The United Methodist Churches in partnership with the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, churches, business, civic groups, and individuals. It has been collecting and distributing Christmas gifts to needy children in Nashville since 1993. Each year it serves more than 6,000 children who otherwise would likely not have any presents. Companies and individuals collect new, unwrapped toys (no clothing or footwear) and other age-appropriate gifts, including gift cards, in the $10-$25 range for ages newborn to 18, and then deliver them to the Davidson County Sheriff Service Center at 5115 Harding Place.
- The Nashville Food Project Thenashvillefoodproject.org The Nashville Food Project prepares and delivers about 6,500 scratch-made meals each week using fresh produce, donated food and volunteer help. The meals are distributed at about 40 sites across the city where food project partners work in various ways to disrupt poverty — after-school programs, veterans groups, senior programs, etc. Items can be dropped off at the Food Project kitchen any weekday between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at 5904 California Ave. If it’s a large quantity that needs pick-up, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Nashville Humane Association nashvillehumane.org/wish-list The Nashville Humane Association would love for you to use your holiday party to collect pet food for the dogs and cats in their care. The NHA wish list also includes: towels, blankets, puppy pee pads, stuffed toys for dogs, cat plastic toys, bleach and paper towels.
- Nashville Diaper Connection nashvillediaperconnection.org/get-involved Nashville Diaper Connection’s mission is to ensure that every baby in Nashville has enough diapers to remain clean, dry and healthy. With the average cost of diapers for one baby estimated to be $85 per month, some families often have to choose between food and diapers. The Diaper Connection’s diaper bank gives to more than 1,350 babies every month, which is still only 3% of the need for babies living in poverty here.
- Room in the Inn roomintheinn.org/donate This time of year, Room in the Inn always asks for coats, gloves, scarves, thermal underwear and socks. There are a lot of ways you can help collect these items, and some of them make it so much fun that it is hard to resist getting involved. Room in the Inn’s wish list includes: AA and AAA batteries, art supplies, backpacks, books and magazines, bottled water, ChapStick and lotion, feminine hygiene products, gloves, flip flops, hand warmers, hats, hooded sweatshirts, new socks, playing cards, razors, puzzle books, razors, reading glasses, toothbrushes and toothpaste.
- Nashville Launch Pad nashvillelaunchpad.com A ‘street free sleep’ initiative by members of the LGBT & Allied community poviding open and affirming sleeping shelters for the Nashville area. Donate food, supplies or your time. Volunteer duties include delivering meals, answering the room phone as guests have needs/questions and just generally being a helpful resource.
- Angel Tree Program salvationarmynashville.org/angel-tree-1 The Angel Tree Program is a Christmas assistance program for families needing help providing gifts and basic needs to their children at Christmas. Each tree has a tag that says the age of the person and some of their needs/wants. This is such a great teaching lesson for children.
- Feed America First 319 Murfreesboro St., Murfreesboro 615-512-5915 | feedamericafirst.com This Murfreesboro-based nonprofit is a hunger relief organization that provides food to those in need locally and across the country. Volunteer as an individual or as a family to help sort the food to be distributed.
- Mid-Cumberland Meals-On-Wheels 615-595-1225 | mchra.com/meals-on-wheels-volunteer Individuals, businesses, scouts, grade school classes … anyone … can volunteer. They seek drivers and friendly faces to deliver meals to senior citizens in the area.
- Nourish Food Bank 1809 Memorial Blvd., Murfreesboro Nourishfoodbanks.org The new distribution warehouse is open in Murfreesboro. It seeks individuals and volunteer families to load and unload food, sort and stock, pack daily carts for families, clean and organize. There will be a number of opportunities in the near future due to numerous food drives. Those younger than 18 require parental consent or be accompanied by a parent (ages 14 and younger are required to have an adult accompany them at all times).
- Pet Adoption & Welfare Services (PAWS) 285 John R. Rice Blvd., Murfreesboro 615-898-7740 | paws.rutherfordcountytn.gov Kids and their parents can volunteer to provide undivided attention to the animals, help the staff around the office and more. You have to complete one volunteer orientation, which is held once a month on Saturdays at 8 a.m.
- Second Harvest Food Bank 1958 Almaville Road, Smyrna Secondharvestmidtn.org This organization works to feed hungry people and solve hunger issues in Middle and West Tennessee. Individuals and families can volunteer every day to help sort and pack food donations, prepare BackPacks for hungry children, and assist with special events and more.
- Volunteer Rutherford Volunteerrutherford.com This comprehensive resource of charitable organizations in Rutherford County connects volunteers to services that matter to them. The site also has listings of current donation/volunteer needs, publicizes non-profit events and more.
- Christmas4Kids Christmas4Kids.org A shopping event at the Hendersonville Walmart supplying gifts to local children in need.
- Sumner County Food Bank 615-504-6182 The holiday season is the food bank’s most strenuous time. Monetary donations can help purchase food from Second Harvest Food Bank to serve the hungry throughout the county.
- Wreaths Across America Wreathsacrossamerica.org Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 1,600 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad. Help by sponsoring a veterans’ wreath at a cemetery near you, volunteering or donating to a local fundraising group.
- Franktown Open Hearts Franktownopenhearts.com Bringing physical and spiritual hope to low-income youth within our community by instilling in them critical life skills. They provide academic assistance, mentoring, recreation and spiritual growth opportunities for youth ages 8-18 in the form of weekly educational and vocational classes.
- Mid-Cumberland Meals-On-Wheels 615-595-1225 mchra.com/meals-on-wheels-volunteer Individuals, businesses, scouts, grade school classes … anyone … can volunteer. They seek drivers and friendly faces to deliver meals to senior citizens in the area.
- GraceWorks Ministries Graceworksministries.net This organization provides help with food, clothing and financial assistance to residents of Williamson County. Ages 8 and older can volunteer with their family at the Food Pantry to assemble “Fuel Bags,” process food donations, sort food and more. They accept Food Pantry and Thrift Store donations Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Williamson County Animal Center 106 Claude Yates Drive, Franklin Adoptwcac.org Ages 5 – 10 can volunteer for Book Buddies, where they can read books to shelter cats while creating a positive relationship between shelter animals and children. There’s a one-time orientation, but after that, you can volunteer Mon – Fri from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Sun 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Bring your own books or choose from what’s available.