Organizations across the Treasure Valley rely on volunteers and donors to help residents in need have a merry Yuletide.
Holiday volunteer slots tend to fill quickly, so remember that the organizations you want to help in December will need you just as much — and probably more — in March, or June, or any other non-holiday month.
Organizations like the Women’s and Children’s Alliance , the YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs of Ada County need volunteers all year. You can also check VolunteerMatch.org to connect with opportunities throughout the Valley. The site allows you to search by location, interest and more.
American Red Cross of Greater Idaho: Director Nicole Sirak Irwin said the organization sees an increase in house fires over the holidays because of lit candles, overloaded electrical circuits and use of dangerous heating sources when temperatures fall. The Red Cross needs Disaster Action Team volunteers ready to respond to those emergencies throughout the season. Sign up online at redcross.org or call 208-947-4357 for information.
Boise Bicycle Project: Volunteers are needed throughout the month and for the big Christmas Kids Bike Giveaway on Dec. 17 at BBP, 1027 S. Lusk St. BBP needs volunteers with mechanical skills, but also people adept at organizing, preparing for events, sorting parts and making buttons to be distributed during special events (such as the upcoming social ride from BBP to Chipotle on Dec. 9). Donations of bikes and parts are always welcome. Reserve your shift online at boisebicycleproject.org. Call 208-429-6520 for more information.
Boise Rescue Mission: Opportunities are available throughout December. Note: You must register as a volunteer and wait for a confirmation email. Volunteer opportunities include sorting items in the warehouse and helping with other shelter tasks; setting up for Christmas events in shelters; helping with the Boise Christmas Banquet at the Cathedral of the Rockies on Dec. 16; helping with the Nampa Christmas Banquet at the College Church of the Nazarene in Nampa on Dec. 17; sorting donations at City Light Home for Women and Children and the Valley Women and Children’s Shelter in Nampa through Dec. 24; pitching in as “night owl” volunteers from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. on Dec. 25 to set up Christmas morning for shelter residents; setting up special meals on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day at River of Life Shelter in Boise. Check availability of volunteer slots and sign up online at boiserm.org. Call 208-639-3297 for information.
Giraffe Laugh (nonprofit child care and early education): Opportunities available for volunteers who can help organize donations (toys, clothes, etc.) and help deliver them to Giraffe Laugh’s child care centers where they will be given to families in need. Email Jessica Lechuga, firstname.lastname@example.org, to sign up.
Giraffe Laugh has started a new program this year, providing families in need with “Life Baskets.” These are laundry baskets filled with necessities like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrushes, towels, cleaning supplies, grocery gift cards, etc. Assemble a basket and drop it off any week day, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1191 Grand Ave. in Boise.
Good Samaritan Home: Needs volunteers to help distribute presents and socialize with residents at the annual Christmas party, 7 p.m., Dec. 23, 3501 W. State St. in Boise. Call Peg Richards, executive director, to sign up to help: 208-343-6051.
Idaho State Veterans Home: The home seeks volunteers to help at the annual Christmas party on Dec. 22 as well as special meals, bingo games and more on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. The home also needs volunteers and donors to help with Operation Outreach, an effort to provide warm winter items for homeless veterans and families who are struggling. The home seeks warm undergarments (long johns), socks, hats, gloves, hand warmers, scarves. Drop items at the Idaho State Veterans Home, 320 Collins Road in Boise in the business office.
Volunteers are needed to help gift wrap items before they’re distributed. Wrapping will take place on Saturdays and Sundays. Call Phil Hawkins at 208-780-1700 or Jackie Bateman at 208-780-1702 for details and to sign up.
Interfaith Sanctuary: The organization needs volunteers to help stuff 6,000 year-end mailer envelopes to send to friends and donors in the community. If you, or a you and a group of friends would like to help, email shelter director Jodi Margolin-Peterson at Jodi@interfaithsanctuary.org for details.
Ronald McDonald House: Volunteers on the crafty side are needed to make thank-you, birthday and Christmas cards. The cards will be distributed to families staying at the home to use for their own correspondance. Please provide envelopes (with stamps, if possible). Ronald McDonald House is non-denominational. No religious content, please.
Knitters and sewers: quilts, blankets, scarves, mittens, hats and other winter wear is needed to fill welcome bags for families. All sizes, colors and patterns are welcome.
Drop cards and winter wear at the house, 101 Warm Springs Ave. (at the corner of 1st and Main in Boise). The house is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.
Note: If you call ahead, 208-336-5478, staffers will give you a tour of the home and more information about the service it provides for families with children in the hospital. Families are welcome, and encouraged, on the tour.
Salvation Army (various locations): Needs volunteer bell ringers through Dec. 24; needs help packing food boxes to be distributed to families in need through Dec. 25; needs volunteers to sort toys for the annual Christmas “store” where parents in need can choose toys for their kids through Dec. 14; also needs volunteers for ongoing projects, including stocking and organizing food in food pantries and doing secretarial duty at the Community Family Shelter in Nampa. Register to volunteer online or call 208-343-5420.