Spread the humanist holiday cheer


MI SSA Fall Chore DayBy Andrew Geary

The holiday season often provides many of us with the opportunity to look back at the year and reflect on our accomplishments, to relax and enjoy company of family and friends, and reconnect with our personal goals and plans for the new year. This is also a great time to give back and participate in service in your local community.

While it is easy to hear the ringing bells of the red kettle and call up the local food bank, many other volunteer opportunities are out there. Here is a brief list of holiday possibilities, many of which are open to the whole family!

  • Write for Rights: Amnesty International is asking you to send a letter, card, or Facebook message to those whose rights have been violated, from the imprisoned members of Pussy Riot to human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng. Watch the moving video, learn more, and sign up today!
  • Toys for Tots: Join the U.S. Marines in providing toys for families and children in need. Find drop-off sites in your state.
  • Oxfam: Bring together your family and friends and help families all over the world by restoring a preschool, providing an alpaca meadow, or giving a goat!
  • Contact your local United Way for ways to volunteer in your community based on your interests and preferences.
  • Perform local chores, yard work, shoveling snow, small house fix-ups, etc. The Secular Student Alliance–University of Michigan recently hosted a Fall Chore Day that was a great success.
  • Connect with your local Unitarian Universalists affiliated congregation for holiday festivities and volunteer opportunities.
  • See whether your city has a volunteer network, or check out Idealist for local opportunities
  • For Martin Luther King Day, get involved with an established local event or register your own event (such as hosting a Sunday Supper). Check out these two resources:

Harvard Humanists food-packing eventSpecifically for Volunteers Beyond Belief teams, FBB also offers funding opportunities to support your volunteering efforts. Recently, Harvard Humanists used a small grant to pack a record-breaking 40,000 meals for food-insecure children in Massachusetts. Read more about it here.

What holiday volunteering traditions do you have? Leave your ideas in the comments. Happy volunteering!