Looking for a way to give back to the community this holiday season?
From food pantries to local animal shelters, there are plenty of opportunities to lend a helping hand in the Naperville area. Below are 10 great organizations to donate the gift of time.
If you or your organization is in need of volunteers for an upcoming event or project, please add them in the comments.
Loaves & Fishes Community Pantry
How You Can Help: Loaves & Fishes distributes more than 60,000 pounds of groceries and serves approximately 600 families every week, according to the organization's website. Volunteers work in a variety of areas including distribution, sorting, shelving and office assistance. They must be at least 14 years old.
The pantry also accepts canned food donations as well as store gift certificates so families can purchase turkeys or hams for the holidays. For more information on how you can make a donation to the pantry, click here.
Now through Dec. 31, four Aurelio's restaurants will be the sites of food and money collections that will go to Loaves & Fishes. The four locations are:
- Aurelio’s Springbrook Square, 1975 Springbrook Square Dr., Naperville
- Aurelio’s Hobson West, 931 W. 75th St., Naperville
- Aurelio’s Woodridge, 6430 Main St., Woodridge
- Aurelio’s Oakbrook Terrace, 100 E. Roosevelt Rd., Villa Park
Contact: For questions call 630-355-3663 or visit http://www.loaves-fishes.org/.
DuPage Children's Museum
How You Can Help: Many roles are available for museum volunteers, who can greet visitors, play with children, assist in the art studio or offices, help with special events, build or repair exhibits, help with building or landscape maintenance and more. Volunteers with special skills such as photography, storytelling, graphic design, sewing and others are also welcomed.
The minimum age to volunteer is 15 years old. A reference and criminal background check are required as part of the application process.
Contact: For more information, contact the museum's volunteer coordinator at 630-637-8000, ext. 4680.
How You Can Help: Naperville Area Humane Society's volunteer program is open to anyone 10 years or older with a willingness to work on behalf of cats and dogs. Kids 10 to 15 years old are welcome to volunteer as long as they have an adult sponsor to volunteer with them, according to the NAHS website.
Contact: For more information, call 630-420-8989 or visit http://www.napervilleareahumanesociety.org.
How You Can Help: Due to the holidays, the regular volunteer orientations for November and December will not take place. The next regular volunteer orientation will be Jan. 16th, 2013, according to A.D.O.P.T.'s website. If you are interested in volunteering prior to that date, contact Bill@adoptshelter.org or call 630-355-2299.
How You Can Help: Edward Hospital offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for adults and students. The first step in becoming a volunteer is to complete an application or call the Volunteer Office at 630-527-3189. An appointment will be scheduled with the director of volunteer services to match time, talent and availability.
All new volunteers attend a short orientation session and schedule a mandatory 2-step Tuberculosis screening. Edward asks for a minimum six-month commitment for all volunteer positions.
Contact: For more information, call 630-527-3189.
How You Can Help: Many of the volunteers at Little Friends, which serves children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities, help with the several special fundraising events throughout the year. Those include the Step Up for Autism Walk, Friends of Little Friends Parade, Golf Classic, Phonathon and the annual Bids for Kids Benefit Auction.
Contact: Visit the organization's website for more about volunteer opportunities and to fill out an application.
How You Can Help: Ongoing volunteer opportunities are available at NapervilleCARES, which provides resources to people within the Naperville community who need assistance to avoid homelessness and to attain self-sufficiency.
Program volunteers conduct telephone interviews of residents seeking financial assistance. Volunteers are trained on the resources available to neighbors in crisis and supported by the volunteer coordinator and executive director.
Contact: For more information about volunteer opportunities, visit its website or call 630-369-0200.
How You Can Help: For residents living in south Naperville, Green Harvest Food Pantry is just a few minutes away in north Plainfield. The pantry is always looking for donations of canned foods as well as new volunteers to help out.
Contact: For more information, call 630-416-1109 or visit http://greenharvest.org/.
Naperville Public Library
How You Can Help: You don't have to be a bookworm to volunteer at any of Naperville Public Library's three locations. Opportunities for adult and teen volunteers include sorting materials to be shelved, assisting a department with weekly assignments, office assistance, surveys and working on occasional special projects.
Contact: More information is available here.
How You Can Help: Operation Welcome You Home focuses on coordinating flag lines, motorcycle convoys and groups of supporters for servicemen who are returning home.
Helpers are needed to coordinate the ornate homecomings for military men and women throughout Chicagoland. If you feel up to ensuring they are paid the honor, respect and gratitude they deserve, visit http://www.welcomeyouhome.org/.
Know of a volunteer opportunity that isn't listed here? Tell us in the comments.