Looking for a way to make your holiday season extra special?
The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear- well that and volunteering. Giving back to others can make your holiday season even more delightful.
Whether you’re looking to donate your money, items, or your time, there are plenty of ways that you can get involved in your community and support those less fortunate.
Here are some of my favorite charities to donate to and events taking place this month.
Donations & Events
What: United Way has been helping impoverished families around the country for 130 years. By donating to United Way of Central Ohio, you can help low-income families ease the financial burden of the holiday season. Please click here for more information.
Where: United Way of Central Ohio, 360 S 3rd St, Columbus, OH 43215
What: The Salvation Army has been “Doing the most good” since 1865. Donations go towards a variety of programs, including social programs, disaster assistance, food, housing, Christmas assistance, and more. To make a donation, please visit their website.
Where: The Salvation Army of Central Ohio, 966 E Main St, Columbus, OH 43205
What: The Mid Ohio Foodbank provides food for families in 20 counties in the state. By making both financial and food donations, you are helping to battle hunger. Of course, there is high demand during the holiday season, but the fight to end hunger continues all year. For more information about donations, please click here.
Where: Mid Ohio Foodbank
What: The YMCA is a national organization that promotes social welfare, healthy living, and so much more. On a local level, the YMCA of Central Ohio provides dozens of programs that help the most vulnerable in our communities. When you make a donation, you have the option of specifying a designated donation area. Although all areas would benefit, please consider to donating to Santa’s Workshop at the Van Buren Center, which helps make the holiday season magical for those at the shelter. Click here to donate.
Where: Various Branches, click here for more information.
What: Habitat for Humanity MidOhio is looking for volunteers this week to work on a home. No building experience is required, just enthusiasm! Bring your friends and family throughout the week to meet new people, learn new skills, and to give back in a unique way. Volunteers are especially needed on Wednesday, December 6. For more information, please click here.
When: Tuesday December 5 through Saturday, December 9 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
Where: Location provided to volunteers
What: The Firefighters 4 Kids program got its start in 1977 after a Columbus firefighter, Mike Mullins, got called to a home with young kids and noticed they had no gifts for the children for Christmas. Decades later, the program provides toys for children ages 0-12, and if they have items available, provide gifts for children ages 13-14. You can make a donation to Firefighters 4 Kids via PayPal, or drop off items during the WCMH Firefighters 4 Kids Toy Drive at NBC4 Studios.
When: Saturday, December 9 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., monetary donations welcome anytime
Where: NBC4 WCMH-TV, 3165 Olentangy River Road, Columbus, Ohio 43202
What: Give the gift of joy by donating toys during the Holiday Toy Drive at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The hospital will be collecting toys only (no food or clothing). To donate, go to the Urgent Care Entrance. Staff will be accepting toy donations straight from your car! Requested items include Play-Doh, Crayola art supplies, Amazon gift cards, Legos and more. To view the full wishlist, click here.
When: Saturday December 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Nationwide Children’s Hospital
What: Want to have fun and do good all at the same time? Sub C’ Events will host their Annual Holiday Benefit Show at the Newport Music Hall. The concert will benefit Toys for Tots and Central Ohio Food Banks by hosting a toy and canned food drive. Tickets are $10. Participating attendees will be entered into a raffle to win concert tickets to some of the most hyped concerts of 2018. Click here for more information.
When: Saturday, December 9 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Newport Music Hall, 1722 N High St, Columbus, OH 43201
What: The Nest is hosting it’s first ever Holiday Improvathon. Laugh your way to helping others by attending this 7 act, hilarious evening. A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Broad Street Pantry, and they will also be accepting food donations on site. Tickets for the show are $10. Please click here for more information.
When: Thursday, December 21, from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Where: The Nest Theatre, 894 W. Broad St., Columbus, Ohio 43222
What: Head to The Barrett for a morning of snacking and packing! Volunteers will be building Snack Packs for families at the Ronald McDonald House. These packs allow family members to stay close to their loved ones without having to worry about meals and snacks. Volunteers should bring non-perishable, individually packaged items to be included in the packs. This event is for volunteers of all ages!
When: Saturday, December 9 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: The Barrett, 345 East Deshler Ave. Columbus, OH 43206
What: Take the kids out for a night of fun at the Annual Golden Spike at The Depot. The event will have cookies and hot chocolate, holiday films, a craft station, and the opportunity to take a ride on the Scioto Valley Railway through festive holiday lights. Admission is a donation of a coat for the needy (hats, gloves, and scarfs welcome) or 1 unwrapped gift per person. The event will benefit of Firefighters For Kids Toy Drive and TriVillage Chamber Coat Drive.
When: Sunday, December 17 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Depot Events Center and Railroad Museum, 921 Old Henderson Rd Columbus, OH 43220
Organize Your Own Event
Want to get make a difference on a more personal level? Consider pairing with a local charity to organize a drive, donations, or volunteers. There’s no such thing as doing too much good, so don’t be afraid to go a little crazy. There are so many needs that are highlighted this time of year, including housing, hunger, and financial assistance.
Find a way to make a difference and get your friends to help too. Long gone are the days of boring charity events. You can have a casual get together at your house, or even organize an event at your favorite restaurant. No act of kindness is too small.
Don’t know where to start? The Columbus Foundation supports many amazing charities. Check out their full list and see if something fits your volunteering/charity goals.