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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Take Your Holiday Spirit into the New Year
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The holiday season is a time of great generosity as people reflect on the previous year, think about why they are thankful, and look for ways to support those in need. It is important to remember that homelessness organizations need your help year-round. When you feel like donating your time or money this holiday season, consider waiting until another time next year. If you are a provider, don’t be afraid to ask volunteers and donors to extend their generosity into the New Year. Here are some ideas.


Consider throwing a holiday party at a local homeless service agency in January, February or March, rather than in November or December.
The holidays are often a time of abundance for these programs. Many special meals, donations and services are provided by an army of volunteers that are eagerly anticipated, and soon disappear after December.

If you are considering volunteering during the holiday season, why not put it off until later in the winter, or even in the spring or summer? The months after the holidays can be especially trying for people who are homeless and your volunteer efforts would be a true gift.

At any time of year, join forces with colleagues from work, civic groups or spiritual communities. You could create and serve meals, develop care packages, or raise money to help a family with first and last month’s rent and a security deposit.

Not sure what to do and when to do it? Contact your local homeless service provider network. Decide which program you want to support and contact them to determine what they need, and when it would be most helpful.

Here are some links to help you do your holiday homework:

Continuum of Care Contacts (organized by state/region):
http://hudhre.info

United Way:
www.211.org

VolunteerMatch
www.volunteermatch.org

Idealist
www.idealist.org


Check out some tips to help you prepare for your volunteer experience.

Also check out the "Related Items" to the right of the screen.
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