The season of giving is upon us and this year feels like an especially tough one as nonprofits around the world grapple with helping their communities amid financial struggles, lack of resources, and illness.
Still, the desire to give back is stronger than ever and nonprofits have stepped up in big ways to address key issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even if you don’t have the means to give a monetary gift this year, some nonprofits are accepting goods and volunteers.
Here’s a list of local nonprofits and how you can give back to others who might need it most this giving season:
American Red Cross
You may have heard there’s a critical need for blood donations. The need is real, and the need is great. Not only are regular blood donations down, but there’s now a call for convalescent plasma donations from fully recovered COVID-19 patients.
Even if you haven’t been officially diagnosed with COVID-19, blood donations are welcome and are tested for COVID-19 antibodies. Blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies could provide convalescent plasma for critically ill coronavirus patients.
Ocean Institute Holiday Beach Cleanup
Get out of the house this holiday season with your family and help the environment. Volunteers will be cleaning up the beach to celebrate and they are seeking your help.
Ocean Institute beach cleanups removed over 1,700 pounds of trash last year. Volunteers should wear closed-toed shoes and bring a refillable water bottle. Those 16 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Ocean Institute will provide trash pickers and compostable bags. Check the Ocean Institute website for additional volunteer opportunities and ways to give back.
Grandma’s House of Hope
In many communities and cultures, it is traditional for friends and neighbors to prepare meals for loved ones who are disadvantaged or distressed. It is an act of kindness that translates feelings of concern into a tangible expression of human compassion.
Grandma’s House of Hope is looking for volunteers to cook and deliver a meal for one of our Our Rescued and Restored Houses. This is a great opportunity for a family, service group, or business. Meals should come prepared in disposable containers. Meals can be hot or ready for reheat.
Learn more about giving back to Grandma’s House this giving season on their website.
2-1-1 Orange County
2-1-1 Orange County is a nonprofit looking for volunteers to work remotely from home to help the increased need for the volume of client calls and texts they have been receiving due to the pandemic. Volunteers would focus on connecting the community with food pantry resources.
The Mission of 2-1-1 Orange County is to connect the vulnerable with the health and human resources they need when they need it most. They connect, collaborate, and inform across all community stakeholders to better empower our community as a whole.
Learn more about 2-1-1 Orange County volunteer opportunities on their website.
Meals On Wheels Orange County
Each year Meals On Wheels OC hosts a Holiday Gift Program which provides a special gift to homebound seniors who receive meals on wheels. Through Amazon Wish List, you can simply choose which items to give and they will be sent to them to distribute with their meals. The nonprofit is hoping to collect over 1200 items this year.
For more information, please visit the Meals On Wheels Orange County website.
OneOC Days of Service provides national volunteer days that unite individuals, families, service clubs, businesses, schools, and faith-based organizations in volunteerism throughout the year.
Teams of family volunteers serve together as part of their national Days of Service, having fun for a good cause while learning about the importance of giving of their time and talent to make a difference in our community.
Families are encouraged to contact OneOC or learn more on their opportunity page.
Second Harvest Food Bank
While Second Harvest Food Bank has made the difficult decision to suspend onsite distribution center volunteer operations, the nonprofit is looking for volunteers to host virtual food drives. Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County’s virtual food drives make it easy to help Orange County families in need and make a difference in our community. They save money and every $1 helps provide the equivalent of three meals.
Learn more about setting up a virtual food drive on the Second Harvest Food Bank website.
Giving back during this giving season is a great way to make a difference and teach your kids about community service. It’s also a great way to network, build your resume, and learn a new skill set if you’re in between jobs. What are some of your favorite nonprofits to give back to?