It was definitely a case of the more, the merrier this holiday season, when 25+ families joined efforts to fill more than 370 stockings for Utah Juvenile Justice Services. These bulging Christmas socks are likely the only gift most youth in the care of JJS will receive this holiday season. This project began with a simple phone call, asking what the needs of the agency were. An email was sent to friends and family inviting participation. Soon many were on board to help create a little North Pole magic for a group of sometimes-forgotten teens.
Tips for Group Service:
1. Plan ahead. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities in your area.
2. Be patient and persistent in contacting organizations. Many of these groups are over-worked and understaffed. It may take several calls before you can connect.
3. Ask what their needs are rather than saying “We have some of these old things we don’t use anymore, would you like them?”
4. Look for ways to add service to existing activities, groups, or parties. Invite your book club members to bring a children’s book to your holiday brunch to donate to Headstart. Encourage relatives attending your family Christmas party to purchase hats and gloves from the dollar store to donate to the local homeless shelter.
5. Give specific information and deadlines to your team of volunteers. Tell them what the goal is and maybe they will give a little more or invite their friends to help!
There is strength in numbers and it is astounding to see what many hands directed in a worthy cause can do. Service is always “in season” – so if your Christmas plate is already full, start looking for opportunities this Spring and make plans to include it as a great feel-good activity for your summertime family reunion.
For a list of local, current needs, click here.