My holiday season is filled with traditions. There are special get-togethers with family and friends, the elf on a shelf causing mayhem and of course the one we all look forward to, exchanging gifts. The holidays can also be a great time to look at what you value, what brings you joy and what makes your heart full.
For me, outside of friends and family, it would be volunteering. Volunteering is such a fulfilling experience-especially during the holidays which can be such a sad and lonely time for many. I remember my days in San Francisco (pre-children) feeding the homeless out of a church off of Chestnut street. There is just something fundamentally good for the soul when you help others.
Fast forward to marriage, 2 children and living in Seattle finding time can be a bit more of a challenge these days but I was so happy to learn from my partner Swedish about all the work that Seattle King County Clinic is doing. So perfect for all the Seattleites who want to give their time and join in the social good this holiday season and all year long.
Photo Credit - Auston James
Seattle/King County Clinic
Swedish has always been committed to giving back to the community in which they serve. For more than 5-years, volunteers from over 130 healthcare organizations, civic agencies, non-profits, and myriad volunteers from across the State of Washington come together for 4-days at the Seattle Center to offer FREE medical, dental and vision services to anyone in the region that is unable to access or can't afford healthcare. Last year during the 48 hours of clinical operations, they provided $3.3 million in services to people in need at the Seattle/King County Clinic. That is astounding! Ready to roll up your sleeves? The next Seattle/King County Clinic is February 13 – 16, 2020, at Seattle Center.
Some other great partners to consider giving your time to.
Mary's Place is a non-profit organization that provides food, shelter, employment services, and housing assistance to women and families in need. Volunteers here can prepare and serve meals, mentor kids, support parents in their search for employment or housing, and more.
Wellspring Family Services
Wellspring Family Services is a multi-service agency serving low-income and vulnerable individuals, children and families in Seattle and King County. At Wellspring, the mission is to end the cycle of family homelessness. How can you help? You can donate gently used clothing, toys, books, and sports equipment all year round. As a volunteer, you can help sort and pack donated clothing and other essential items for families in need. And, your kids can also help make a difference in the lives of their homeless peers by collecting coins for Wellspring Family Services.
Lifelong is an organization that stands up for communities facing discrimination and marginalization. Based in Seattle, Lifelong delivers food, housing & health services to people with chronic illness, including HIV/AIDS. What can you do? Volunteers are the heart and soul of the organization. You can distribute meals and groceries to clients or organize food donations for distribution.
The services provided by Hopelink help clients achieve stability by providing basic needs, such as shelter and food. Volunteer programs and opportunities to help include: Adult Education volunteers, Sort donations, hang clothes, and maintain display racks at the Clothing Bank, Pick up food from grocery stores weekday mornings and deliver to food banks, Assist Hopelink at Community events like Reaching Out Luncheon in October, Turkey Trot in November and Gift Rooms in December.
Community Lunch serves up hot, nutritious meals and survival services to hundreds of homeless and low-income people of Seattle. Their success and impact on alleviating hunger and homelessness in Washington State rely on the generosity of volunteers and donors. How can you help? You can Chop up meat and veggies for our main course, Make sandwiches for guests to take away, Prepare the dessert table, Make fruit and vegetable salads, Sort toiletries, clothes, and snacks, Serve the meal or Set up and clean up.
Whether you're able to volunteer your time, give a donation, or help these organizations by spreading the word about giving back, there is always a way to contribute to your community. Giving back never goes out of season.