(BPT) - December 1 marks Giving Tuesday, which is a global movement to encourage people to do good. And despite Christmas decorations appearing in stores in August, it also marks the beginning of the holiday season, which is a time when many people think about those in their communities who might be less fortunate and in need of clothing, food, toys or other assistance.
At Delta Dental, where service is a core value, our employees receive 16 hours of paid time off each year to volunteer, and charitable donations are matched up to $1,000. As we embark on the holiday season in a year where there is more need than ever, the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation is providing some helpful tips for those who would like to be of service to their communities.
If you don’t feel comfortable or aren’t able to volunteer in person, don’t worry. There are many ways to give your time that don’t require you to leave home. In fact, all you need to serve is a working internet connection!
Virtual volunteering isn’t new, but it’s really taken off in 2020. It’s been a way to keep busy and help make a difference as we sheltered in place. And there are so many ways to volunteer virtually. You can help with efforts to translate documents, map areas for Red Cross disaster preparedness, practice English with nonnative speakers or just provide some connection for an isolated senior. There are also ways to apply your professional skills to volunteer efforts.
If you’re interested in exploring virtual opportunities, here are some resources to help you get started:
- Missing Maps: https://www.missingmaps.org/
- Points of Light: https://www.pointsoflight.org/virtual-volunteering-opportunities/
- Skills-based Volunteering opportunities: https://commonimpact.org/resources/post/virtual-skills-based-volunteering
If you prefer to roll up your sleeves and get out in the community, you still can! Many nonprofits are allowing in-person volunteering again. While protocols may vary from county to county, here are a few things to expect:
- Temperature checks and hand washing upon arrival
- Face masks required
- Request to use hand sanitizer and/or gloves while working
- No handshakes or hugs
- Maintain proper distancing
- Don’t come in if you’re feeling unwell
The Red Cross is always looking for volunteers, and you can find in-person and virtual opportunities here: https://www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer/urgent-need-for-volunteers.html.
Volunteer Match is also a great resource to find local volunteer opportunities: https://www.volunteermatch.org/.
If you aren’t able to give your time, you can still give back. Donations for needed items or cash are always welcome. And during the holiday season, there is no shortage of ways to donate. You can adopt a family and buy presents for kids who otherwise might not get items on their lists from Santa.
Not sure where to start? Here are some nonprofits that coordinate holiday gifts for families in need:
You can donate to your local food bank where each dollar donated allows it to buy roughly $5 worth of food. To find your local food bank, you can visit: https://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank.
2020 has been a challenging year for all of us, but it’s also been an inspiring one. We have seen communities come together like never before to support those in need. If you’ve been fortunate to escape the economic hardships created by the pandemic, please consider giving your time or money to help those who might not be so lucky and do some good this Giving Tuesday.