3 places to volunteer over the holidays

A recent Vancity survey found that B.C. charities are getting less support because British Columbians are giving less to charities as a result of affordability concerns. While charities and local organizations do require donations to provide goods and services for those in need, there are other ways that you can contribute to a great cause if you aren’t able to free up any funds this year.

One great way to give to a cause is by volunteering your time. Here are 3 local organizations that need volunteer help during the holidays, whether you have days or only hours to spare:

1. Greater Vancouver Food Bank

Who: One of the most exciting parts of the holidays for most is being surrounded by their families during a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinner. Unfortunately, that is not a reality for a large number of British Columbians who do not have access to healthy food. Luckily, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB) provides access to healthy food to 26,500 people each week all over the Greater Vancouver region. Twenty per cent of their clients are children, and 19% are seniors.  The holiday season is a particularly busy time of year for the GVFB,  which means a greater need for volunteers.

What they need: Volunteer positions include team sort assistants, warehouse associates, operations data entry assistants, operations inventory assistants and drivers.

When:  Whatever time you can give.

Contact: For more information on how to volunteer, please visit https://www.foodbank.bc.ca/get-involved/volunteer/

2. Hope in Shadows

Who: Hope in Shadows is a community based photo contest and calendar project for low-income residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. This project gives a voice to positive stories about the DTES that are often not heard. Cameras are provided to the residents of the neighbourhood, where participants take pictures of the people and the places in the community that matter most to them. The top photos are then included in the Hope in Shadows calendar and Megaphone magazine.

The Hope in Shadows project team is always looking for some help in a variety of positions year-round.

What they need: Volunteer positions include event/fundraiser volunteerseditorial volunteers and flyering helpers.

When: Event/Fundraiser volunteers will need to clear 4 to 6 hours per event to help. Editorial volunteers and flyering helpers will send 2 to 2.5 hours per month assisting.

Contact: For more information please visit www.megaphonemagazine.com/volunteer or contact krista@megaphonemagazine.com.

3. Stanley Park Ecology Society

Who: Stanley Park is one of (if not THE) jewels of Vancouver. Beautiful scenery, outdoor activities, tourist attractions and a variety wildlife makes the park one of the best attractions in North America. But the privilege of having one of the world’s greatest parks comes with great responsibility. The Stanley Park Ecology Society  (SPES) is an organization that plays a leadership role in the stewardship of Stanley Park by raising awareness about the park’s ecosystem and educating and empowering the local community to help sustain it. But the society can’t do this all on their own and need help during the holidays to preserve the park for years to come.

What they need: Special Invasive Plant Removal Team participants  join SPES staff and other community members in the careful removal of invasive plant species and other restoration activities. Volunteers can expect to get their hands dirty removing invasive plant species such as Himalayan blackberry, English ivy and English holly. On-site training on plant ID-ing and removal techniques are provided for all new volunteers. The next SIRT volunteer event is December 28th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

When: the time commitment is 3 hours.

ContactClick here for more information and to register for the December 28th SIRT volunteer event please email stewardship@stanleyparkecology.ca. For more information on year-round volunteers opportunities you can email vols@stanleyparkecology.ca.

Happy Holidays and happy giving!

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