The holidays can just as much be about giving as they are receiving. We’ve come up with a list of charities that can benefit from volunteer efforts this season and all year long.
AIDS Foundation Houston: Founded in 1982 as Texas’ first organization dedicated to HIV prevention education and services, the AIDS Foundation has several events during the year like the AIDS Walk and World AIDS Day that you can volunteer. Volunteer by providing tutoring/mentoring to students living in Friendly Haven housing unit for families of people affected by HIV.
The Montrose Center: The Montrose Center mission is to empower the community, especially LGBTQ individuals and their families to enjoy healthier and more fulfilling lives. With several services like addiction/recovery, anti-violence, youth and more, there are several programs to choose from. Montrose Diner Volunteers ensure that 75 hot meals are served every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the Center to LGBT seniors. Volunteers also engage seniors in activities and conversation; or Violence Recovery Program Volunteers take our semiannual crisis intervention training to support clients in crisis, either on our 24-hour helpline or in-person at the Center.
Homeless Gay Kids Houston: This charity is responsible for helping LGBTQ youth, 13-24-year-old, find a safe place where they can find support and access to services that will help them survive and thrive. The drop-in center provides services such as food, skill-building, backpacks and hygiene kits, and more. You can volunteer as a Direct Youth Worker working directly with youth in the drop-in center, establish rapport, provide feedback and advice when requested by youth; or conduct group activity or provide tutoring to youth.
Houston Food Bank: Named top charity in Texas by Charity Navigator, the Houston Food Bank provides 79 million nutritious meals to food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, and other agencies, feeding 800,000 people each year. This season help by contributing to ABC-13’s Share Your Holidays to help families in need this holiday season. Volunteer projects vary based on need and may include inspecting/sorting food, repacking dry food into family-sized bags, stocking/cleaning the Emergency Food Pantry or one of many other opportunities.
Hermann Park Conservancy: This 100-year-old park is one of the biggest green spaces in Houston and it’s always in need of volunteers to help keep it up; whether you would like to be out in the Park, provide event support, or assist the staff in the office, there are innumerable volunteer opportunities in Hermann Park. Volunteers are needed to keep the Park looking clean and beautiful. These are just a few of the activities volunteers perform in the Park: weeding and mulching plant beds, planting and watering trees; removing invasive plants, cleaning and repairing trails and more.
AssistHers: A volunteer organization that provides non-medical in-home support and care to lesbians with illnesses. Volunteers will work in teams. Some of the services provided are walking dogs, run errands, help with laundry and light housekeeping. Another program is the Supplemental Food Assistance Program where you can buy grocery store cards for food and personal items purchase that are provided monthly to clients who need assistance.
Tiny Paws Rescue: Tiny Paws and Chi Rescue is a non-profit, all-volunteer dog rescue organization near Spring, Tomball, and Houston, TX. You can volunteer by transporting the animals from their shelter partners, to and from adoption events and medical visits and help meet transports when they arrive; or provide support for adoption events and/or special fundraising events throughout the year.
LGBT Switchboard Houston: LGBT Switchboard 24-Hour Helpline has been on the line for Houston’s GLBT community since 1982. A service of the Montrose Center, LGBT Switchboard continues to rely upon dedicated and specially trained volunteers to sustain itself. Volunteers will help by answering and providing help in diverse things like depression/suicide/crisis intervention, domestic violence help & shelter, sexual assault & hate crimes support and more.
Legacy Community Health: Legacy was formed in 2005 as a result of the merger of two leading Houston area community organizations: Montrose Clinic and The Assistance Fund. As a Federally qualified health center, Legacy provides adult primary care, pediatrics, behavioral health services, OB/GYN and maternity, comprehensive HIV/AIDS care, and more. You can help by being the face of Legacy as you welcome families as they arrive and make sure they get to their destination. Help them complete paperwork and interact with patients, especially children, so they feel comfortable in their campuses.
Adopt-A-Family: Adopt-A-Family is part of Houston Children Charity. Each year you can sponsor a family in need during the Holidays. Each adopting sponsor purchases toys, housewares, clothing and/or other items needed by their individual family. All you have to do is fill out the online application, you’re assigned a family and you are asked to contact the family, introduce yourself as the Adopt-A-Family Sponsor and ask closed-ended questions about each child’s likes. You may also ask if there is anything else the family is in need of-this can range from food and clothes to furniture.