15+ Holiday Volunteering Opportunities in the Sacramento Area
Every holiday season, communities all over the country come together to celebrate our successes of the past year and the neighborhoods we love. In Sacramento, we’re no different. We celebrate with some of the most festive events, shows and festivals that remind us just how much we love to call this place home.
While we are lucky for the opportunity to live in such a generous and community-centered area, it’s easy to forget sometimes that we’re not all equally fortunate. But this season, we can rally around our needy families and individuals and extend a helping hand.
We found over 15 opportunities for you to volunteer or donate — whether it’s time, materials or even just a smile. There are charitable fun runs, opportunities to spread warmth and even a chance to bake cookies! Find something you’re passionate about and spread the cheer this holiday.
Photo courtesy of Ronald McDonald House
November 12, 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Location: Ronald McDonald House
The Sacramento Ronald McDonald House is a home-away-from-home, providing affordable housing to families who must travel to the area to receive medical treatment for their seriously ill or injured child. You can help the organization make these visits more pleasant by keeping the home and grounds looking their best.
Spend some time outside and help Ronald McDonald House maintain their grounds. They need help pulling weeds, trimming bushes, laying wood chips and cleaning playground and patio furniture. Learn more on their website and find out how you can get registered.
November 22, 11 a.m.
Location: Loaves and Fishes
Loaves and Fishes is hosting their annual Thanksgiving Meal on November 22 this year. To feed the hungry and make the event a success, they need your help. They’re asking for donations of turkeys, yams, apple juice, dinner rolls, pies, whipped cream, napkins, plastic utensils and Pepperidge Farms Dry Dressing Mix. Or, you can donate cash and they’ll do the shopping!
Overall, Loaves and Fishes will need about 300 turkeys, 400 pies, 200 cans of yams and 100 gallons of apple juice. Whatever donation you can make — monetary or material — will help them reach their goal and help our less fortunate community members celebrate the holiday.
Photo courtesy of Run to Feed the Hungry
November 24, 8:15 a.m. | Location: Race starts on J Street
Benefitting Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, you can run to help feed the hungry on Thanksgiving morning. Children and adults of all ages are welcome in both the 5K and 10K races. You can get the whole family out before dinner!
If you’re not interested in racing, you can sign up as a Drumstick Dasher. As such, you’ll still receive a t-shirt and a race bib, but you can skip the running and your registration purchase will still go to helping the needy in our community. Additionally, you can volunteer with the food bank to help on race day. They need over 700 people to help make the event a success and you have the opportunity to be a part of Sacramento Valley’s largest fun run/walk!
November 24, 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Location: Sacramento Citidal Corps Alhambra Campus
This year our local Salvation Army will be serving the Oak Park Community by doing a Thanksgiving Community Meal at their Sacramento Citadel Campus. They need your help to ensure our neediest neighbors don’t go hungry for the holiday. You can serve food, help prepare meals and assist with general set-up and cleaning. Learn more and register here.
December 17, 8 a.m.
Location: Lembi Park
The Folsom Christmas Classic includes a 10K, 5K and a Santa Fun Run for children under 10. Whether you’re competing or just looking for some fun exercise this season, everyone is welcome! So register online and get your most festive costume ready! The event benefits The Keaton Raphael Memorial which supports families with children suffering from cancer.
After the races, stick around for a raffle and vendor booths. All proceeds from the raffle go directly to Keaton Raphael Memorial. If you can’t attend on race day or you’re unable to run, you can still help by registering as a virtual runner. As such, you can run wherever you are or just cheer the runners on from your couch!
December 21, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Location: Barnes and Noble
RRUFF’s healing heroes program sponsors service dog training for disabled American Veterans. Their mission is to help veterans suffering from PTSD, TBI, MST and other invisible disabilities. The organization helps them find a dog and provides training from puppy, to adult, to certification.
For the third year in a row, Barnes and Noble has invited RRUFF and their volunteers to spend a couple hours wrapping customer purchases. Not only will you be helping the organization, you’ll be helping customers get their gifts wrapped before Christmas! All you need is a smile and a sense of fun.
One of the most popular Christmas charities in the country, Toys for Tots, collects new, unwrapped toys to help less fortunate children in the community celebrate the holidays and know they’re cared for.
You’ve seen them outside your grocery stores and you’ve probably even thrown in a few dollars. This year, help our community by volunteering as a Salvation Army Bell Ringer. Spending just a few hours outside this season can help our area families stay warm, feed their children and better their circumstances. Agents and other Lyon Real Estate professionals are taking part this season, so keep your eyes peeled and drop in a dollar or two!
Our area Salvation Army has many other volunteer opportunities this season and throughout the year. Whether you want to serve food, organize donations or help in the office — every way you help makes our community better and more successful.
The Children’s Receiving Home provides care to children, youth and families affected by abuse, neglect, behavioral health issues and trauma in California. Especially busy during the holidays, they are in need of volunteers. You can help with their Angel program, outreach efforts, or serve in the lobby to receive and process donations. Register for their volunteer orientation on November 16 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. and find out how you can start helping.
Foster an Animal
This holiday season, open your heart and your home to a dog or cat in need. Foster animals are often too young to be adopted or in recovery from illnesses and treatments. They need a little more care than the shelter can provide — and you can help!
If you’ve never fostered an animal before, Sacramento SPCA has a new foster parent orientation coming up on December 3 from 12 – 1 p.m. You can also foster with Sacramento County Animal Care. Their orientation is breed specific, but both dog and cat trainings will be held on November 13. Fat Kitty City and Front Street Animal Shelter are also always looking for foster parents.
You can cheer up Ronald McDonald House this holiday season by Baking Cookies in the kitchen. This spreads cheer and merriment by filling the home with smells of fresh cookies and providing a treat for the children, siblings and parents after long days of doctor appointments.
You can also prepare Family Dinners in the home. Once a week, a volunteer group comes in to cook a meal for all 38 families. The only materials the organization is able to provide are aprons and gloves, so each volunteer group must bring food, utensils, plates and all the other fixings. This is also a great sponsorship opportunity for a company or area restaurant.
Whichever option you choose, the schedules are flexible and Ronald McDonald House can work with you and your group to get you working in the kitchen. For more details on cookie baking, click here. And for information on family dinners, click here.
Photo courtesy of Meals on Wheels by ACC | C.S. Wright Photography
Meals on Wheels has various volunteer opportunities throughout the year and the holiday season. Especially during this time of year, the organization is very much in need of Delivery Drivers. Volunteers do a lot more than deliver nutritious meals to homebound seniors. You can be a bright point in these elderly citizens’ days, providing socialization and smiles to help them feel connected to their community.
For just 2 – 4 hours a few times each month, you can help. Pick-up sites for home-delivered meal routes are located in Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, Galt, Rancho Cordova and on Harlin Drive near the Rosemont area. Find out how to get started here.
How will you help?
While the holiday season is traditionally a time for generosity and coming together, all of these organizations offer year-round assistance and always need volunteers. Explore their websites, help out this holiday season, and find one you’re passionate about so you can help our community reach its fullest potential this year.
Share your experiences with us! If we missed your favorite volunteer opportunity, let us know.