by Jenni Barnett
on Friday, October 28th, 2022 at 11:59am.
The holidays are around the corner, and we’ve heard from members of our homeowner community who are searching for ways to give back. Today, our recommendations for ten top volunteer opportunities in Middle TN spotlight organizations that serve those in need year-round yet organize special efforts around Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Whether you plan to donate your time, goods, services, or contribute financially, we appreciate each of you. Your generosity and desire to help are emblematic of the beautiful community spirit here in Middle TN.
If you’re not a resident but will be visiting this holiday season and wish to incorporate philanthropy into your vacation, contact any of the following organizations ahead of your visit. After you’ve gone through the application process, they’ll find a volunteer position for you that coincides with the dates of your stay.
Thanks to inflation, rent and the cost of living are higher than ever. While food insecurity is on the rise, a more common type of deprivation comes in the form of our neighbors not being sure that they can afford to pay their basic utility bills. Without power, hot water, and the confidence that their rent will be paid on time, this vulnerable population lives under significant stress and fears of becoming unhoused.
NeedLink Nashville works to help individuals, seniors, and families keep their utilities connected and their rent paid—and you can help!
This year, NeedLink is hosting the 41st annual Rudolph’s Red Nose Run. 100% of the proceeds from the race will benefit the efforts of NeedLink Nashville, so sign up, and bring your friends and family (and even your pets!) to run or walk this festive 5K. Costumes are encouraged, and awards for best costumes will be presented.
St. Luke’s Community House provides access to food and childcare to lower-income families and seniors in need. Case management and wraparound services are also offered because security and well-being don’t stop with food—though they do begin there.
This year, you can sign up for a short shift to help register families and senior citizens for St. Luke’s famous Family Christmas Program. Their assistance is essential year-round, but never more so than during the holidays. Help secure access to delicious free food boxes, mobile meal deliveries, and social support this holiday season.
From their headquarters in Franklin, this nonprofit mobile food truck works to create a Middle TN in which no one has to go without healthy, delicious food. By rescuing food that will not otherwise be used and distributing it to those in need, they are able to bridge the gaps experienced by those who live in low-income areas and food deserts.
This holiday season, you’re invited to volunteer at their warehouse to help organize, pack, and distribute groceries and meals throughout Middle Tennessee. In just one Saturday per month, you can make a big difference.
Since 1978, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee has partnered with senior centers, shelters for the unhoused, soup kitchens, and food pantries to feed the hungry throughout Middle Tennessee.
To help this holiday season, you can volunteer to participate in the warehouse tasks. Sort and box donations, assemble boxes and bags to feed the hungry, and bag nutritious produce into portions that will feed our community’s families.
Don’t have the time or ability to work in the warehouse? Donations of fresh produce and canned goods are always appreciated. If you’re searching for a larger role, you can organize a food drive online, or host one locally.
Youth Villages of Middle Tennessee wants to offer you the chance to be a Holiday Hero to a child in our area who needs the magic of the holidays more than anyone else. These vulnerable children have survived serious neglect and abuse and have therefore never experienced the gifts and love children deserve at Christmas.
Each Holiday Hero is given the wish list of a specific child. You’ll have time to shop for items from the list, then you’ll drop off the unwrapped presents at the Youth Villages HQ in Nashville.
More than 1,000 Holiday Heroes are needed, and they would love for you to be one of them.
For more than sixty years, Nashville Rescue Mission has worked to offer shelter, clothing, and food to those in need. Along with their hospitality, they pass on the teachings of Christ.
Each year, they shelter over 300,000 people and serve more than 650,000 hot meals to the unhoused and the hungry.
If you would like to volunteer, you are invited to help prepare and serve meals, organize incoming donations, and help teach Bible studies. If you’re a talented tech wiz, you can put your skills to great use in the shelter’s computer lab!
United Way creates effective solutions in the realms of health, financial stability, and education. This holiday season, you can join in the Read, Baby, Read program by bringing one of your favorite holiday-themed or heartwarming childhood books to read to a group of infants and very young children.
By giving the gift of your storytelling for just one hour, you can help kindle a love of literature and lifelong learning in the next generation.
Shoppers at the FreeStore are welcomed in to shop for food, formula, baby food, essential toiletries, cleaning supplies, school supplies, and face masks. All items are free, no questions are asked, and no judgment is passed.
Every first and third Saturday, volunteers are needed to host the store. Welcome shoppers, guide them when asked, prepare food, play with children, stock shelves, register new members, or run the check-out desk—and experience the joy of giving.
If you’d prefer to work behind the scenes, Tuesdays are when volunteers sort donations and stock the store for Saturday’s shoppers. Each Tuesday prior to the first and third Saturdays, volunteers are needed.
If you’ve read through our list and are still searching for just the right place to volunteer this year, we recommend contacting Hands on Nashville directly. Their work connects volunteers to opportunities to serve nonprofits through youth leadership, urban agriculture, home energy savings, and public education.
You Can Help Battle Food Insecurity
Food banks throughout Middle Tennessee need your donations of complete canned meals like stews, chili, and hearty soups; canned fish and chicken; canned beans; low-sodium canned vegetables; canned or jarred fruits packed in juice; whole grains like corn, oatmeal, rice, quinoa, and farro; whole-grain bread, tortillas, and pasta; seed and nut butter; healthy cooking oils; and specialty holiday non-perishables.
If you’d prefer to donate cash, a food bank can put your dollar to great use through its immense purchasing power. By buying items in bulk, they can provide more items per dollar when compared to shopping at a standard grocery store.
We appreciate your taking the time to visit us today, but most importantly, we value your interest in giving back to the community that makes Middle Tennessee such a wonderful place to live. If you would like to share recommendations for more ways to give back, please leave us a comment below.
We at Parks Realty wish you the happiest of holiday seasons!