The holidays can be a joyous time of year or, depending on one’s circumstances, an extremely difficult one.
For those of us who don’t struggle with day-to-day necessities like food and shelter, it’s important to be thankful for the opportunities that we have. But, it’s also important to be mindful that anyone’s circumstances can change, including your own.
As the holiday season kicks off, consider making a donation that can benefit those who have fallen on hard times. Cash, of course, is a valuable contribution, but just as needed are your time and skills.
Various charitable organizations in and around Boston ramp up their efforts around the holidays, to ensure that local families can relax and celebrate. Here’s how to make a difference in someone else’s life, and your own.
Buy, Deliver or Eat a Pie for Community Servings
Various pie pick-up locations
Buy through November 17; pick-up through November 21
Who doesn’t love a good pie — especially one made by a talented professional pastry chef? Buy one (or more!) this year from Community Servings’ annual Pie in the Sky Thanksgiving bake sale initiative and not only will you eat well, you’ll benefit local citizens in need.
More than 100 bakers, chefs, and caterers volunteer their time and talents to make 25,000 apple, pecan, pumpkin and sweet potato pies. You can order one directly from Community Servings website, but the organization also looks for volunteers to sell these pies to family members, friends, coworkers, anyone who may cross your path. Pies cost $30, and each single sale provides a week’s worth of nutritious meals for a Community Servings’ beneficiary who is ill and cannot shop or cook for themselves or their families.
Community Servings is also accepting volunteers to label, sort, move and deliver pies.
Organize a Gift Drive for Rosie’s Place
All Holiday Season
889 Harrison Ave., Boston
Believe it or not, the country’s first women’s shelter is right here in Boston — Rosie’s Place, founded in 1974. This amazing organization works to provide a safe place for low-income and homeless women in an environment that respectfully supports them and fosters growth.
Each holiday season, volunteers can contribute in a variety of ways, from signing up for shifts in the dining room and food pantry at the shelter to coordinating a drive to collect needed items such as holiday gifts, food, toiletries and cold weather gear like hats and gloves.
Additionally, Rosie’s Place sells collections of holiday cards featuring illustrations by local artists Thomas Dunlay, Sam Vokey and others ($18-$24), the proceeds of which help fund the shelter’s programs.
Help Prepare a Holiday Meal at The Boston Rescue Mission
Boston Rescue Mission
All Holiday Season
39 Kingston St., Boston
Mauricia, 617-338-9000, ext.1230
On any given day Boston Rescue Mission provides hot meals for its residential and overnight shelter guests, and this effort doesn’t slow down during the holiday season.
Volunteers are always needed to help prepare, set up and serve meals, wash dishes, and clean up after meals, which total about 130,000 annually. On Thanksgiving day — and most weekdays, for that matter — kitchen shifts are broken down to a three-hour morning shift or a three-hour evening shift.
If kitchen duty isn’t for you, volunteers are also needed to fulfill specific tasks such as driving a cargo van to pick up food donations, housekeeping, laundry, or office administration.
Share A Thanksgiving Meal at Boston Living Center’s Celebration of Life Event
Hynes Convention Center
Tuesday, November 20, 5:30 pm
900 Boylston St., Boston
Tammy Blocker, 617-236-1012 x227
Intimate gathering-turned-community event, Boston Living Center‘s annual Celebration of Life traditional, sit-down Thanksgiving dinner returns again this year, its 31st. The annual dinner takes place on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and is free for people living with HIV/AIDS.
For Boston Living Center, this is its single largest fundraiser, with a goal to raise more than $140,000, which benefits peer support programs, educational workshops and its food and nutrition program.
More than 200 volunteers are needed to run Celebration of Life; tasks range from set-up to greeting and checking-in guests.
Work the National MS Society’s Annual Boston Volvo Thanksgiving Day 5K
Boston Volvo Village
November 22, 9 am
75 North Beacon St., Allston
Before you stuff yourself silly with turkey and the fixings, get an early and active start at the annual Boston Volvo Thanksgiving Day 5K road race hosted by The New England Chapter of the National MS Society. The race, which is open to any kind of athlete, young or old, professional or amateur, benefits those living with multiple sclerosis.
If you’re not into running it yourself, race organizers are currently recruiting for all volunteer positions, including photographers, registration, medical aids, cheering crews, food service, route support drivers, and set-up and clean-up crews. Individuals, families, company groups, and athletic teams can sign up.