7 places to volunteer in Philly this holiday season - Generocity Philly

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Dec. 18, 2017 10:29 am

7 places to volunteer in Philly this holiday season

Spread holiday cheer locally by serving meals at a homeless shelter or packing meals at a food pantry.

#volunteering.

(Photo courtesy of Volunteering Untapped)

This story was originally published in the December 2017 issue of One Step Away, Philadelphia’s street newspaper. It appears here through a partnership between Generocity and One Step Away.


With the joy of the “giving season” as an inspiration to care for those around us, many Philadelphians will reach out to organizations to volunteer.

According to data from the American Time Use Survey, 9 percent of women and 7 percent of men participate in holiday season volunteering — that’s a 40 percent increase over the rest of the year.

For those with the ability to give of their time and energy in volunteer service in Philadelphia, opportunities abound. For many organizations, volunteer need continues throughout the year, but volunteer supply decreases after the holidays. If you find a volunteer opportunity you enjoy participating in this season, consider making a New Year’s resolution to keep spreading the joy throughout the year.

Whatever your interests and capacities, there are plenty of ways we can all help out. Looking for a place to start? Explore these opportunities:

Serve food at Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission

Serve lunch: Monday–Saturday, noon

Serve dinner: Monday–Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission has a mission to meet both the physical and spiritual needs of individuals experiencing homeless in the Philadelphia area. It has been serving the Philadelphia area for nearly 140 years and operates both a men’s shelter and a transitional home for women.

Contact: Melissa Shaffer, volunteer@sundaybreakfast.org

Volunteer with Broad Street Ministry

Serve a meal: Monday, 7–9:15 a.m., Tuesday, 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. and 3–6 p.m., Wednesday, 3–6 p.m., Thursday–Friday 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.

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Sort mail: Monday, 7:30–11 a.m., Tuesday, 11 a.m.–3 p.m., Wednesday, 2:30–5:30 p.m., Thursday, 11 a.m.–3 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.–1:30pm, Sunday, 1–3 p.m.

Clothing service: Monday, 8–11:30 a.m.

Art table: Tuesday, 1:30–4 p.m.

Afternoon hospitality: Thursday, 12–3 p.m.

Poetry workshop: Friday, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.

Broad Street Ministry is a “broad-minded: Christian community focused on radically inclusive hospitality and engaging in the work of building a more just world. Volunteers can sign up for a variety of time slots here.

Contact: Christine Moriarityvolunteer@broadstreetministy.org

Provide food assistance with the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger

Serve holiday meals throughout the community by reaching out directly to the organizations listed here.

The Coalition Against Hunger provides relief to food insecure individuals and works to ensure that all people have the food they need to lead healthy lives. Its network includes food pantries, public education programs and food assistance programs. Its ongoing opportunities are listed here.

Join Repair the World’s Martin Luther King Jr. weekend volunteer project

Repair the World mobilizes young Jewish Americans in meaningful service to meet the needs of local communities. Service activities with various partners in Philadelphia can be found here.

Contact: Leah Topperleah.topper@werepair.org

Pack donated food at Philabundance

Sort and pack donated food: Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–noon, 12:30–3:30 p.m., Monday–Thursday, 6–8:30 p.m.

Warehouse prep: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 1:30–3:30 p.m.

Produce pickup: Tuesday, 9 a.m.–noon

Philabundance seeks to end hunger by rescuing good food that would otherwise go to waste and distributing it to those facing food insecurity. A full list of opportunities can be found here.

Contact: volunteer@philabundance.org

Tutor or work in the thrift shop at Whosoever Gospel Mission

Thrift shop: Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Tutoring: 12-week commitment of one hour, Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Whosoever Gospel Mission provides shelter, food, clothing, education and counseling to those experiencing homelessness. Volunteers are needed to assist in sorting clothes for the thrift shop, tutor men in the Career Track Learning program, make decorations and serve meals.

Contact: Bob Emberger 215-438-3094, ext. 102 for groups and other additional opportunities; Heather Rice, ext. 103 for individuals and tutoring.

Host game days or lead art classes at Bethesda Project

Bethesda Project seeks to provides shelter and housing for individuals experiencing poverty and to be a family for those who have none. Volunteers are needed to serve meals, provide housekeeping and maintenance support, host game days and lead art classes.

Individuals and groups can apply to volunteer here.

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