According to the 2011 Boulder County Trends Report from the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County, an estimated 42,000 of BoCo’s nearly 300,000 residents are living below the poverty line—and the financial crisis affecting the people that make up that statistic is never more apparent than during the holiday season.
With so much going on during this time of year, it’s really easy to forget about the true meaning of the holidays. The holiday season is about family and community—and remembering that there are less fortunate people in your very own city, just struggling to get by.
But the good news is—you can help. And help can come in so many different ways. Whether it’s donating your time, money, food, clothing, toys, bicycles and/or gifts—there are so many different opportunities to help.
And with the help of the Volunteer Connection—I’ve made it incredibly easy for you to find the best way for you to offer your help for the holidays that is friendly on your own budget and schedule and incredibly appreciated by those 42,000 Boulder County residents that are in need of your help.
So start a new tradition. Get your family involved. Open your wallets and your hearts.
And have a wonderful holiday season.
Donate Your Time
• Attention Homes – Thanksgiving Dinner | November 24 |10 a.m. – 7 p.m. | Boulder
Help out by preparing a Thanksgiving dish and delivering it to the Attention Homes safe shelter for at-risk youth and teens —or volunteer your time and help cook, set up, serve, decorate or clean up on-site.
• OUR Center Holiday Food Basket Helpers | Weekday Mornings/Afternoons | Longmont
Help the OUR Center put together special holiday food bags for families and residents in the area in need of a meal.
• Gift Wrapping | Golden West Senior Center | Boulder
Become a pro a gift wrapping as you help members of the Golden West Senior Center wrap presents for their loved ones. Click here for a list of dates and times that volunteers are needed.
• Holiday Food Basket Program | EFAA | Weekdays from December 12 – 23 | Boulder
Help EFAA provide local families with all of the fixings for a holiday meal this year by helping: pack bags, deliver to homes and lead volunteer groups.
Toys, Bikes, Books & Gift Donations
Remember waking up on Christmas day to a bicycle from Santa and his elves? Help give that experience to a Boulder County child by donating to the Bicycle Longmont Holiday Bike program. Drop off a new or used kids bike at Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids, Oskar Blues Tasty Weasel Tap Room or the Left Hand Brewery Tap room and receive a free pint of beer. Tricycles, kids bikes and scooters are needed and Santa’s elves will be working hard to repair and renew all donated bikes just in time for Christmas.
• Share-A-Gift Annual Gift Drive | Thanksgiving Weekend- December 14 |BoCo
With locations set up at several Boulder Valley School District Schools, the Share-A-Gift Annual Gift Drive is the perfect way to get your kids involved in helping for the holidays. New and used toys, books, bikes and gifts are needed for Boulder County kids in need. Stay tuned to the Share-A-Gift website for updates on drop-off locations.
**Check your local grocery stores for deals and discounts on canned food and holiday meal items. Get your kids involved by having them help make a list of the brands and food items that are on sale to help stretch your grocery store dollar for your food donation.
• BCAP Food Bank | November 1- January 1 | Boulder & Longmont Locations
BCAP is in need of holiday food items including canned goods, 10 lb turkeys, pumpkin pie filling and gravy mix packets along with shampoo, laundry soap and other items needed year round for the food bank.
• Sister Carmen Community Center | Now – December 22 | Lafayette
If you’re not sure which grocery store items to purchase for donations, just skip the searching and buy a few $10 or $15 King Soopers or Walmart gift cards to donate and allow recipients to purchase menu items for their own holiday meal.
• “Let’s Bag Hunger” Food Drive | November 13-23 | Community Food Share Click here for a list of items that the Community Food Share is in need of most, and drop the items off at participating local grocery stores. Click here for a complete list of participating drop-off locations.
• Socks and Mittens Drive | November 3- December 5 | Foothills United Way |Lafayette
Show off your knitting skills, or purchase new: socks, mittens, hats, scarves and any other items that will help keep men, women and children warm during the cold winter months. Drop donations off in the Foothills United Way Lobby at 1285 Cimarron Dr., Ste. 101, Lafayette.
Click here for the complete 2011 Volunteer Connections Volunteer Opportunity and Donations Guide including a detailed list of contact information for the above events.