Ways to Give Back This Season

Posted by Marketing on Friday, October 27th, 2023 at 11:00am.

With the holidays approaching, you may be in search of ways to give back to the community, especially through organizations that are based right here in Middle Tennessee. With that in mind, today we are shining the spotlight on ten volunteer opportunities and potential donation destinations. While these organizations work year-round to serve those in need, they do arrange concerted efforts to bring food, clothing, and much-needed assistance with the burdens experienced by our own underprivileged friends and neighbors around the holidays.

We are grateful to you for choosing to donate your time, services, goods, or financial assistance this holiday season. It is your warmth, generosity, and compassion for those in need that shows how beautiful the community spirit of our region truly is.

Are you planning to visit our neck of the woods this holiday season? If so, and you wish to incorporate a bit of philanthropy into your stay, simply contact the organization of your choice ahead of time. Once you’ve completed an application, you’ll be given a volunteer position that dovetails into your visit.

42nd Annual Rudolph’s Red Nose Run 2023 with NeedLink
December 2 | Nashville

The cost of living has continued to skyrocket throughout the year, and thousands of households have consequently been unable to maintain their basic utilities. This fall and winter, power, hot water, and rent security are all gifts you can offer.

Give peace of mind this holiday season through NeedLink Nashville! Recruit sponsors for your efforts, then enjoy the city’s “most festive 5k.” Whether you walk, run, or use a mobility aid to complete the course, all are invited to the 42nd Annual Rudolph’s Red Nose Run! 100% of the proceeds will be donated to NeedLink Nashville, so bring your friends, family, and even your pet along.

Costumes are only part of the fun, but awards for best costume will be handed out again this year!

St. Luke’s Community House
5601 New York Ave | Nashville

St. Luke’s Community House provides access to childcare and food to seniors and lower-income families. Additionally, St. Luke’s offers case management and wraparound services, because they know that well-being does not come through food alone.

This holiday season, you can offer your time, goods, or monetary donations to St. Luke’s beloved Family Christmas Program. We all know how important food is at this time of year, so St. Luke’s makes sure delicious food boxes and mobile food deliveries are available alongside necessary social support networks.

One Generation Away
320 Premier Court, Suite 218 | Franklin

One Generation Away is a nonprofit mobile food truck service based in Franklin. Their goal? Eliminating hunger in our region. Their creative reclamation of food that would otherwise be wasted allows One Generation Away to make feeding our community members in need environmentally ethical as well.

In 2022, One Generation Away served 3.2 million meals, reclaimed 3 million pounds of food, operated 61 million mobile pantries, and worked in 14 cities in Middle Tennessee.

Volunteers are greatly needed this year, as they always are. By giving only one Saturday of your time each month this holiday season, you can have a huge impact. Simply schedule a time slot at the One Generation Away warehouse to work organizing, packing, or distributing meals and bags of groceries via mobile pantry. In doing so, you will be spreading the spirit of the season all throughout our area!

Second Harvest Middle Tennessee
331 Great Circle Road | Nashville

Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee first opened its doors in 1978. Since then, this local organization has partnered with soup kitchens, food pantries, senior centers, and shelters for our community’s unhoused to feed the hungry.

This holiday season, there are several ways you can volunteer to help. Donations of canned goods and fresh produce are in high demand, of course, but you can also head to the warehouse to help assemble boxes, sort through donations and create balanced boxes and bags, including the nutrient-dense produce each one of us needs to remain in optimal health.

If you, your business, or a group of your friends or faith are looking for an opportunity to make a big impact, you can choose to organize a food drive online or host one locally!

Holiday Heroes with Youth Villages of Middle Tennessee
3310 Perimeter Hill Drive | Nashville

Youth Villages of Middle Tennessee served over 174,000 young people through their many programs just this past year. While there are many ways to get involved with this vital organization, Holiday Heroes is a uniquely rewarding opportunity.

Each year, Holiday Heroes become the personal Santa or Mrs. Claus to a vulnerable child who has survived serious abuse and neglect. These children have never had the experience of true compassion, love, warmth, and gifts they deserve at the holidays.

You’ll be given the wishlist of one child ahead of Christmas, which will give you plenty of time to shop for the wished-for gifts. Drop off unwrapped presents to the Youth Villages HQ in Nashville, and your sponsored child will finally know how it feels to encounter magic under the tree.

Nashville Rescue Mission
639 Lafayette Street | Nashville

As a pillar of our community for more than 60 years, Nashville Rescue Mission has worked tirelessly to offer food, clothing, and shelter to those in need. Their offerings are shared as they pass on the teachings of Christ.

If Christ is the center of your Christmas tradition, consider volunteering to prepare meals, serve them, organize donations as they come in, and assist with leading Bible study sessions.

Alternatively, if you are computer-savvy, the shelter’s computer lab is always in need of volunteers.

United Way of Metropolitan Nashville
250 Venture Circle | Nashville

United Way of Metropolitan Nashville’s mission is creating solutions in healthcare, financial literacy, and education. If you would like to join their efforts to promote early childhood education, join the Read, Baby, Read program!

Choose one of your favorite uplifting or holiday-themed children’s books, then bring it along to read to a group of little ones ranging from infants to very young children. By sharing one hour of your storytelling abilities, you can help ignite a lifelong love for literature and learning in the youngest among us, even before they begin school.

Nashville FreeStore
1224 Martin Street | Nashville

Every Saturday, shoppers are welcomed to shop for food, baby supplies, toiletries, clothing, gently used electronics and housewares, school supplies, and personal care items—all free. No questions are asked of shoppers, and zero judgment is passed on them. Shoppers experience the full retail experience, complete with cashier interaction, making Nashville FreeStore ideal for families who do not want the financial strain of their situation to have a negative impact on their children.

The dignity and well-being of each shopper comes first at FreeStore. If this mission strikes a chord with you, you’re invited to volunteer on Saturday mornings from 7:30 – 11:30 am. Stock shelves, guide shoppers who ask for assistance, work as the store’s greeter, run the check-out desk, entertain children, or register members who are new to the FreeStore.

Do you prefer to work quietly, or are your Saturday mornings already fully booked? Each Tuesday, volunteers are greatly needed to sort through donations, organize the store, and stock the shelves for the upcoming Saturday shopping outreach.

If you are in a position to donate food, like-new clothing, gently-used electronics and household goods, baby supplies, children’s toys and books, or brand-new personal care items, each donation will be greatly appreciated.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle and Angel Tree Programs are as associated with American Christmas as are lights on businesses. Seen in movies, television shows, and on street corners across the nation, the Salvation Army’s volunteers donate their time to gather funds to make Christmas possible for Americans each year.

Will this year’s Salvation Army include you? Donate one day, one weekend, or several weekends—what matters is your drive to facilitate Middle Tennessee’s donations to those in need. You will be properly trained, then supported and encouraged at every turn by your Salvation Army network.

Hands On Nashville

Every year, we know our readers may peruse our list thoughtfully, then feel as though the right volunteer position just isn’t here. If this is you in 2023, we recommend working directly through Hands on Nashville.

This essential network connects volunteers to their ideal opportunity. If you are searching for placement in public education, urban agriculture, youth leadership, home energy management, or land stewardship, Hands on Nashville is ready to help.

You Can Help Battle Food Insecurity

All throughout Middle Tennessee, food banks desperately need your donations of canned meals like low-sodium chili, hearty soups, canned chicken and fish, low-sodium canned vegetables, jarred or canned fruits packed in pure fruit juice, whole-grain bread, tortillas, pasta, whole grains (including corn, oatmeal, quinoa, rice, and farro, nut, and seed butters), heart-healthy cooking oils, and of course, holiday-specific non-perishables.

If you’re unsure about delivering groceries to your local food bank, but still want to help, cash is incredibly powerful thanks to a food bank’s vast bulk-item purchasing arrangements. In all cases, a food bank will be able to provide more food per dollar than you will, so please do not feel as if you are cutting corners by offering your hard-earned cash.

Thank You

Each year, we are profoundly thankful for each of our community members who put the needs of others first through volunteering, donating, and hosting drives for local charities. Middle Tennessee is the best place to live in the USA, and you have proved this to be true every holiday season.

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