United Way will help you find volunteer opportunity in Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Milton
Published December 1, 2023 at 12:25 pm
Looking for a chance to give something back to your community in Burlington, Milton, Oakville, Halton Hills or Hamilton this holiday season, but not sure where to start?
It’s a story that the United Way of Halton & Hamilton is used to hearing, according to Kristen Jacob, the vice-president of Marketing and Communications.
But luckily, the organization has a plan for that.
“The one great thing about this time of year is people who have good, genuine hearts and want to help out,” she said. “We see more volunteers over the holidays, but there’s also a greater need for them.”
The United Way’s annual Holiday Helping Hand program is a community-driven initiative aimed at supporting local agencies and families during the holiday season.
“We work with our agency partners, food banks/shelters, and ask what they can use holiday support around. Every year, every agency gives of a list of specific holiday needs,” said Jacob.
“Many organizations are struggling as the need increases, but they’re facing a shortfall in funding. So extra volunteers are great.”
The ultimate goal of the program, according to Jacob, is to make lasting relationships between volunteers and the 57 agencies United Way supports.
“People get introduced to local agencies, things like food banks and shelters, and we hope they become long-term volunteers.”
There are a variety of ways to help out. It can be as simple as a donation of cash or a gift certificate. Toy drives are popular this time of year as well.
Just reaching out to the United Way will help get the ball rolling. They have a Community Impact Team dedicated to matching volunteers with opportunities.
Jacob also said there are often volunteering opportunities at workplaces.
“Many times, employees will come together and do something in the office to help out a local organization or the United Way.”
All volunteering opportunities are listed on the United Way Halton & Hamilton website.
The Holiday Helping Hand program is more than just seasonal support. With agencies pushed to their breaking points, experiencing waitlists for half of their programs and concerns over maintaining current operating levels, United Way’s support is crucial in ensuring these agencies can continue their vital work.
“Our local agency partners are facing financial challenges and increased demands,” said Brad Park, president and CEO of UWHH. “Dollars don’t stretch the way they used to, and we are committed to alleviating some of the pressures on our partners by supporting them with programs like Holiday Helping Hand.”
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