This holiday season marks the end of an eventful, or some might say tumultuous, year. A global debt crisis, natural disasters and political stalemates all have sparked civic engagement in new ways.
So in the spirit of engagement, why not consider a volunteer opportunity this year? Check out a couple options for donating your time, money, clothing or food to a cause.
1. 2nd Annual Winnetka Turkey Trot 5k, Winnetka Forest Preserve: Bring canned goods, donate a jacket or run in the Thanksgiving race on Nov. 24 at 9 a.m. for the Wings Organization, which supports abused and homeless women and children. Entry ticket is $25.
2. Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook Holiday Gift Program: Sponsor a child or a whole family with your donation to Youth Services' gift program. Volunteers are also welcome to help with wrapping. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
3. Jewish Learning Club, Glenbrook North High School: Donate kosher food products to The ARK, which supports the Jewish community. Glenbrook North organized a larger food drive, as well. Dr. Mike Tarjan, assistant principal of student activities, asks for a variety of food donations, such as cereal boxes and pasta.
4. North Shore Natural Medicine, 378 Park Ave., Glencoe: If new patients donate 10 items for the Niles Township Food Pantry, they receive a complete history and consultation with the doctor, a chiropractic examination and report of findings. Return customers receive a free AquaMassage.
5. Northfield Township Food Pantry, 3801 West Lake Street, Glenview: Donate food and stock shelves at the pantry, which now serves more than 2,000 people in the township.*
6. Happy Canniversary!, Glenbrook South High School: Student organizers aim to collect more than 100,000 cans for their annual food drive. To donate food, money or an extra hand, contact Glenbrook South High School, Attn: Canned Food Drive Committee, 4000 W Lake Ave, Glenview IL 6002. The drive ends on Nov. 22, and the proceeds go to the Northfield Township Food Pantry, Onward House, and Vital Bridges.
7. Glencoe’s 20th Annual Holiday Food & Toy Drive: Donate non-perishable food and unwrapped new toys at the Department of Public safety between Nov. 25 and Dec. 19. Place monetary donations White Village Mail Box located on Village Court.
8. Schultz & Odhner's Annual Coat Drive: The dry cleaners helps those in need prepare for winter by collecting and cleaning coats to distribute through the Episcopal Church of St. James the Less, the Night Ministry, Chicago Urban Ministries and Life Intervention, and the Episcopal Church of Our Savior. You can also drop off clean blankets, hats, scarves and shoes.
9. Link's Sweet Bean, 1141 Greenleaf Ave., Wilmette: Combine crafts and charity by buying a $10 Kindness Connection Kit, which contains all the materials to decorate a notebook and flower pen set. You can work on it there or take it home and drop your handiwork off later to be donated to lonely seniors.
10. The Volunteer Center: If you're looking for more options, check out the website for The Volunteer Center, which serves New Trier Township as a conduit for non-profit organizations who need helpers.
Know of other volunteer or donation opportunities this holiday season? Share with us in the comments or connect on Facebook!
* Nov. 18 Correction: Address of the Northfield Township Food Pantry was amended.