Giving back during the holiday season

The holiday season is a festive time of year for most, but those that are less fortunate should not be forgotten amidst the celebrations. It is important to remember that sometimes it is better to give than to receive.

Fortunately, anyone can take advantage of the numerous volunteer opportunities available near Scotch Plains and Fanwood.

Community FoodBank

At the Community FoodBank in Hillside, NJ, food donations are always appreciated and volunteers are regularly needed for their various programs.

One of beneficial programs is the Kids Cafe, which provides healthy meals and academic tutoring for hungry children after school. Volunteers are needed to tutor children and serve meals.

Additionally, since many children rely on the free meals they receive during school, the Family Pack Program supplies students and their families with nutritious food for over the weekend. Volunteers can assist in packaging these food bags and help keep children from going hungry.

The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey

The mission of The Children’s Home of NJ is to save children’s lives and build healthy families. The nonprofit provides the support and resources needed to ensure that at-risk infants, children, and families are protected and thriving.

There are multiple ways to lend a hand to this organization. First of all, there are many drives collecting donations, including the clothing drive and holiday toy drive. Also, for anyone with a birthday coming up, it is suggested that he or she  ask their guests to purchase a gift for the children in need, instead of bringing presents. Extra people are always needed to help plan events and run activities, too.

American Red Cross

It is not difficult to get involved.

The American Red Cross works hard to help those in need in a variety of ways. These service areas include disaster relief, support for military families, supplying blood, health and safety services, and international services.

Because the Red Cross dedicates time to so many different areas, there are countless ways to get involved. Financial donations and fundraisers are very beneficial and have an immediate impact. Donating blood, volunteering at a blood drive, and recruiting other donors will help save lives, as well. Finally, it is encouraged that people call their friends and family to action through social media. These are all ways someone can help make a difference with the Red Cross, and there are many more available through the website.

For those that are interested in getting involved, the Red Cross location nearest to Scotch Plains is found in Summit.

Evidently, there is a large number of opportunities in SPF to give back during the holiday season. Scotch Plains-Fanwood and the surrounding area is home to many other organizations and volunteer projects that help people in need, too. However one chooses to assist those that are less fortunate, it is crucial that the holidays are not just a time for receiving but also for giving. It is the responsibility of all to be a part of spreading the holiday joy to everybody.

Melanie Litwin is a junior at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School. She is a staff writer for the Fanscotian.
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