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Volunteer Opportunities in the Madison Area This Holiday Season

We’re in the midst of the holiday season, and synonymous with the holidays is giving. The older we get, the more fun it is to give. Whether it’s donating your money, your resources, or your time, there is something so rewarding about giving back to the community. If you’re looking for ways to donate your time this holiday season, we’ve rounded up a few ideas for you!

  1. Habitat ReStore The Habitat ReStore is a division of Habitat for Humanity of Dane County and shares its mission of building homes, communities and hope. Volunteer positions are available Tuesdays through Saturdays in roles that keep the stores running smoothly, such as creating displays, picking up donations, and customer service positions.

  2. The River Food Pantry - Professional Opportunities The River Food Pantry is Dane County’s busiest food pantry and offers free groceries, meals, mobile lunches and clothing to those who come for help. And The River counts on neighbors to help neighbors in need. Volunteers with professional expertise are needed in the areas of fundraising, special event coordination, grant writing and truck maintenance. If you’re knowledgeable in any of those areas, this volunteer opportunity can provide a great sense of fulfillment!

  3. The River Food Pantry - The Market The River Food Pantry is always looking for volunteers in its market while shoppers come through and during off-hours to stock shelves, sort clothing and prepare food. Both Shoppers and volunteers are offered a hot meal at each session. Volunteer individually, with a church, student group, or organization!

  4. The River Food Pantry - MUNCH The River Food Pantry’s MUNCH (Madison Unites to Nourish Children at Home) program bridges the gap for children when school lunch is not available on weekends and over school breaks. Volunteers can help with lunch production on Friday and Saturday mornings, or help distribute the meals directly to children in their neighborhoods on Saturday afternoons.

  5. The River Food Pantry - Food4TI The River has partnered with the Food for Thought Initiative (Food4TI) to recruit volunteers for its three main contributions: In-school pantries, Thea’s Table, and Thoreau Weekend Food Bag Program. In-school pantries provide healthy food choices to students and their families in 5 Madison public schools. Thea’s Table is a weekend program that provides shelf-stable food to school children living in homelessness. The Thoreau Weekend Food Bag Program provides at-need Thoreau Elementary students with two nutritious meals to take home on Fridays.

  6. Sage Meadow: Assisted Living and Memory Care If you’ve got a skill for bringing people out of their shells and can follow along with nonsensical conversations, Sage Meadow Assisted Living and Memory Care in Middleton is looking for volunteers who can navigate interactions with their residents who have varying stages of dementia. A simple game, book, or conversation can make their day, and the residents might even make your day too!

  7. Salvation Army - Bell Ringing When it comes to holiday volunteering, bell ringing is one of the first things that comes to mind for most of us! Despite being well-known, The Salvation Army still struggles to recruit enough bell ringers each year to hit its donation goals. Two-hour shifts are available at 63 kettle stand locations across Dane County, and are available 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Visit to sign up!

  8. Salvation Army - Adopt-A-Family The Adopt-A-Family program connects sponsors with families to adopt from various housing and community center programs. You can also opt for the Emergency Adopt-A-Family, which provides gifts to families who may have experienced an unexpected emergency late in the holiday season.

  9. The Salvation Army - Kitchen Assistant One of the most rewarding ways to volunteer is by serving a meal to those who need it most, and if you’re interested in getting involved with The Salvation Army, a Kitchen Assistant role is a great way to connect with its clients, whether it’s a one-time occasion or on a regular basis.

  10. St. Vincent de Paul - Food Pantry The St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry is one of the largest food pantries in Dane County and offers “points” to families based on their household size to shop the pantry like a grocery store. Anyone is welcome to donate non-perishable food or fresh garden produce. In addition, the pantry is always looking for volunteers to stock and host the food pantry.

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