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Heart Warming: Five Ways to Volunteer Downtown This Winter

Feel like the cold nights and darker days are starting to turn your heart into a lump of coal? It happens to the best of us. Stave off the winter blahs by reaching outside of yourself and into the world (we need you here!).

1.

Connect with those who need it the most.

Star of Hope assists homeless families by offering temporary housing, workforce development, food and clothing, school supplies, and resources for domestic abuse and substance abuse issues.

How you can get involved: Adopt a family through the Star of Hope Glad Tidings program. Volunteers are matched with a family to shop for gifts based on children’s ages and preferences. Volunteers personally deliver gifts, so it’s a great way to see the direct impact of your charity work. For more ways to donate or volunteer, visit sohmission.org.

2.

Go outside.

The Buffalo Bayou Partnership is committed to creating a healthier environment while fostering a culture of stewardship for Houston’s bayou ecosystem.

How you can get involved: Everyone (ages 9 and up) is invited to help restore and protect Buffalo Bayou’s parks and trails by removing invasive plants, mulching, picking up litter and debris and keeping our green space looking tidy and inviting. To learn more about Buffalo Bayou volunteering opportunities, email volunteer@buffalobayou.org or call 713.752.0314 ext. 206.

3.

Be an ambassador of culture.

The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts is well known in the Houston area for its diversity of theatrical, cultural and community events. Supported by the Hobby Center Foundation, the center fulfills its mission to provide innovative programming by partnering with artists and organizations from near and far.

How you can get involved: Each year more than 600 volunteers donate their time to the Hobby Center. Volunteer responsibilities include scanning and reading tickets, greeting, giving directions and seating patrons, assisting patrons with disabilities, providing assistance to staff during emergencies, and committing to a minimum of 12 events each season. Of note: volunteers get cool perks like seeing performances for free! Visit thehobbycenter.org to sign up.

4.

Feed the hungry.

The City Wide Club, which provides social services to the poor, needy, senior citizens and those in need of a helping hand, is best known for its annual Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve Day Super Feast events held at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

How you can get involved: Why not make volunteering at the Super Feast your family’s new yearly tradition? Volunteers work in shifts from 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 12:30-4 p.m. distributing hot meals as well as clothing, shoes, blankets, coats and new toys to families in need. Visit citywideclub.com or call 713-752-2582 to register as a volunteer.

5.

Offer hope.

The Beacon is an organization working to end homelessness in Houston by providing crucial transitional services for individuals trying to make a better life for themselves. The Beacon Day Center offers services like laundry and access to showers, pro-bono civil legal aid, counseling, mentorship and help accessing affordable housing.

How you can get involved: Because Beason services are 85 percent volunteer driven, volunteers are integral to the organization and its community. Volunteers assist in many areas, including meal preparation and serving, client reception and intake, and laundry services. To become a volunteer, visit beaconhomeless.org or call 713-220-9675.

Still looking for a nonprofit that speaks to you? Visit volunteerhouston.org. Volunteer Houston works with nearly 1,200 community partners annually to engage volunteers in meaningful projects to meet community needs.

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