Atlanta Holiday Volunteer Opportunities
Give back to your community this festive season

It’s the season of giving, and there’s no better gift you can give than the gift of your time. Fortunately, volunteer opportunities abound in the metro Atlanta area, with countless deserving organizations welcoming your help and generosity during the holidays. Taking part in a wide array of hands-on activities will allow you to give back to the community you call home — whether you’re new to the area or have been here for many years. They also will provide you with warm memories and give you the chance to revel in the true spirit of the season. So check out these options and get ready to spread some cheer.

Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless

One of the quintessential volunteer opportunities in Atlanta is with Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless (HFTH), the beloved organization founded in 1971 by civil rights icon Reverend Hosea Williams and his wife, Juanita. Every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas, HFTH hosts holiday dinners that feed thousands of disadvantaged people from the metro Atlanta area. In addition to serving individuals at the Georgia World Congress Center, the organization delivers meals to the homes of those in need. With such large events, numerous volunteers are needed for a wide variety of positions, from setup and registration to serving and home deliveries. Volunteers must create an account and register in advance through HFTH’s website, as volunteer positions fill up quickly each year. All volunteers must be at least 12 years old to participate. 4hosea.org

Adopt-a-Senior for Christmas

Neighbor Love’s Adopt-a-Senior Program

For many seniors, the holidays can be a lonely time. Those living in nursing homes may not have family members or friends nearby or anyone who can pay them a visit. Neighbor Love’s Adopt-a-Senior for Christmas program helps change that each year. The group gathers volunteers to assemble gift bags and hosts parties for local senior residents at six metro area nursing homes in Atlanta (Emory area), Snellville, Roswell, Kennesaw, Dunwoody and Austell. Volunteers are needed not only to donate to and assemble the gift bags (with everything from lip balm and fruit to homemade Christmas cards), but also to help deliver them during the designated party times, which will take place between December 2 and December 10. The minimum age for volunteers is 7, and volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. adoptasenior.net

Furkids

If you and your family are animal lovers, then Furkids is the organization for you. Georgia’s largest animal rescue and no-kill shelter, Furkids is dedicated to rescuing dogs and cats and helping them find their forever homes. As a family, you can do everything from foster a furkid at home to offer your time as cat shelter caretakers at the Doraville location. And for children ages 9 to 18, the holidays offer a unique opportunity to get involved as a Santa Photo Helper. Each year, Furkids hosts fundraising events at various metro area pet adoption centers during the first three weekends in December; Santa Photo Helpers assist pet owners to stage their pets with Santa for a special Christmas keepsake photo (and dads can volunteer to act as Santa!). And if you’re looking for even more opportunities, the organization also participates in gift-wrapping during the holidays at select Barnes & Noble stores around town. furkids.org

The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program

When you think of The Salvation Army at the holidays, there’s no doubt that the famous red kettles and ringing bells come to mind. But this renowned organization also organizes the Angel Tree Program, which fulfills the needs of local children who write their wishes on cards that feature pictures of angels. The cards are placed on Christmas trees at local malls, and area shoppers can select children to help by purchasing the items on their lists. The program would not be successful without the help of local volunteers. During the first two weeks of December, individuals are needed to help sort the gifts received from the community and ensure that they are assigned to the right children; the second and third weeks in December require volunteers to help distribute the gifts to the families in the program. Hundreds of people offer their time each year to the Metro Atlanta Area Command Center to make the dreams of little ones come true. angeltreeatlanta.org

Wreaths Across America

Remember the country’s fallen soldiers with Wreaths Across America, the national organization that coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and more than 1,200 additional locations across the United States each December. The Atlanta Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) spearheads the ceremony at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, and this year, you can help place the wreaths during the special event on December 16. Ceremonies also will take place that day at the Marietta National Cemetery (managed by the General Electric Veterans Network—Atlanta Unit) and the Marietta City Cemetery. Thousands of wreaths need to be sponsored each year, so donations are also welcome. wreathsacrossamerica.org

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