If Christmas truly is a time for giving, then the urge to give of one’s time to help others have a more enjoyable Festive Season is certainly a fantastic example of this.
Unfortunately in modern Australia there are countless number of people and families who are in need of a little bit of attention over the holiday period – here’s how you can help.
Volunteering – the how and where
Due to the strong interest in volunteering at Christmas time, there are some things you might consider before you approach an organisation to volunteer:
Register for volunteering early
You can’t just stroll up and volunteer with an organisation. Many organisations require background checks (particularly if working with children or the aged) and/or training, so the best piece of advice is to get in early and register your interest with an organisation. That way they’ll have plenty of time to vet your application and train you as to what’s required.
The different types of volunteering
There’s no shortage of organisations and charities that can do with a helping hand, so you can have a choice as to the sort of volunteering you would like to do.
With the homeless
Volunteering to work with the homeless over Christmas is one of the most rewarding works you can do. Just by simply giving vital companionship, serving a hot meal or offering a wide range of essential services that homeless people often miss out on can make a huge difference in someone’s Christmas.
With the aged
Another very worthwhile use of your time is volunteering to serve the elderly. Whether that’s delivering a Christmas meal or even just sitting with an older person and talking with them for an hour or two, it could be the best present they’ll receive that Christmas, knowing that someone still cares.
There can be precious few more rewarding things than making a child smile on Christmas Day. More so if that child is underprivileged, or from an abusive or broken home.
By simply helping to distribute meals or gifts you could change a child’s memory of Christmas and spread a little joy in their lives – surely the true meaning of the Season?
The holiday period tends to accentuate the loneliness that some people feel year around, resulting in a deluge of calls for help around Christmas. Of course, volunteering for a Helpline requires some intensive training, and most Helpline organisations require a longer commitment (due to the time spent training you) than just over Christmas, but as a listening volunteer you can know that you have made a very real difference in the life of someone, at a time when they needed it the most.
Consider volunteering at other times of the year
Many people feel the urge to help at Christmas … so much so that some organisations find they simply don’t have the room for volunteers over the holiday period. However, because volunteers are such an extremely valuable resource within our community, you might consider volunteering throughout the year.
After all, the homeless, the aged and the lonely still need help at those times.
In our society Christmas is becoming ever more commercialised, but an absolutely sure-fire way of discovering the true meaning of the holiday, regardless of race or religion, volunteering to help others.
That way you give the gift of yourself – and there’s nothing better you could give!