The holidays can be a wonderful time of celebration, laughter, food, and family. It can also be a fantastic time to come together to support your Indianapolis community. Volunteering can be a full-family affair with something for every age and interest. We have highlighted some opportunities below but know that these are just some of the numerous ways that Hoosier families can give back this holiday season.
Many local churches, food pantries, nursing homes, and other nonprofits are looking for singers, ringers, servers, and just extra sets of hands during this time of year. It is always worth making a phone call or sending an email to these organizations to see if they need help. If you know of other organizations that are looking for volunteers, please let Indy With Kids know. We invite you to share the seasonal spirit with your community by volunteering.
The Immigrant Welcome Center empowers immigrants by connecting them to the people, places, and resources that enable them to build successful lives and enrich our community. They provide support to the over 120 nationalities that are represented in Indianapolis. They are always looking for volunteers to help them with their mission. Got creative minds or teens that are developing language skills? This is a perfect volunteer opportunity for them. The Immigrant Welcome Center will also be collecting donations throughout the holiday season. Sign up online.
Million Meal Movement seeks to feed the hungry and share the importance of volunteering. One of the most family friendly organizations in Indianapolis, children as young as six can volunteer as long as they are accompanied by an adult. Make protein filled complete meal packs at each of their Saturday packing events. Each meal costs around $0.25 to make, so there is a cost attached to this volunteer opportunity ($25 per child under 18, $35 per adult, or $55 per family of six). These meals go to area food pantries and service agencies to help hungry Hoosiers.
Wheeler Mission helps the homeless in Indiana. A Christian social services agency, they provide meals, housing, and entrepreneurial opportunities for men, women, and children in both Indianapolis and Bloomington. Volunteer opportunities include serving meals, housekeeping/cleaning, recreation nights, and working in their thrift store. All volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult chaperone. Children 8 and up can serve meals (including on the holidays), housekeeping tasks can be done by those ages 5 and up, thrift store volunteers must by 10+, and recreation nights are open to volunteers of all ages, including infants and preschoolers! Sign up to volunteer Online and select “kid friendly” opportunities.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis seeks to always provide extraordinary experiences for families. Did you know that they are always looking for volunteers to help do this? Families with children ages 8 and up can volunteer together at the museum. Sign up to volunteer Online
Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana distributes food to over 250 partner agencies and is working towards a world where every bowl is filled. Volunteers ages 9 and up can help Gleaners by inspecting and sorting donations, assembling Commodity Supplemental Food Program boxes, or helping in the Community Cupboard store. Kids may be most engaged by volunteering with Gleaner’s Backsacks program, which is an assembly line bag stuffing project that prepares food sacks to go home with children at school so that they have meals for over the weekend. Sign up to help online.
Bring a book and take a book with the Indianapolis Public Library’s Jingle Book program! Starting on November 27, bins for book donations will be available at all of the Library branches. Children of all ages are invited to bring a new or gently used book to share with another child. If they find a book in the bin that they would like to read or gift to someone else, they are welcome to use one of the wrapping stations also provided in each library to prepare their gift for someone else. This volunteer opportunity is especially great for younger children who are just learning the concept of donating. A bin will also be provided at Indy Reads Books.
The Humane Society for Hamilton County is looking for teenagers age 16 and up to volunteer directly with cats and dogs at their shelter. Volunteer opportunities include administrative work, animal socialization, and special event help. Volunteers as young as 12, accompanied by a parent or guardian, can help with onsite cleaning tasks such as laundry and dishes. Animal lovers of all ages with parental support and permission can help foster an animal in their home or donate an item on their wish list. . Register to volunteer online.
The Salvation Army Indiana offers two volunteer options for kids and families each holiday season. Children of all ages and their adult can be part of the Red Kettle Christmas Campaign by donating two hours of time and becoming bell ringers. If you have little ones who are sensitive to cold weather, we recommend signing up for an indoor ringing opportunity. Families can also adopt an Angel this holiday season and provide gifts for a special child this holiday season. Angels can be adopted from the Angel Trees, on display in Castleton Square Mall and Greenwood Park Mall from Monday 11/27 – Sunday, 12/10 during normal mall hours. Families will receive an Angel Tree bag to fill with gifts such as clothing, shoes, toys, and games, which can then be returned back to the Angel Tree. Register to Ring online or visit Castleton Square Mall and Greenwood Park Mall to Adopt an Angel
Toys for Tots is bringing joy to less fortunate children across the country this holiday season through donations of toys. Does going into a mall this time of year fill you with dread? Toys R Us and Toys for Tots have partnered this year to provide an online donation option. Spend an afternoon browsing the Toys R US website with your children, make an online donation, and figure out your child’s holiday list all from the comfort of your couch! Still like going to the store? Take the entire family out to select a toy and drop it off at any of these local Indiana donation sites.