Holiday Volunteering: Your Guide to Get Started

By United Way of King County, on October 15, 2018 | In Fighting Homelessness, Volunteering

Once Halloween is done, many people will start gearing up for the winter holiday season. And you know what that means. Holiday volunteering!

Yes, fall just began, but openings to serve meals at shelters fill quickly. And while we’re glad they do, that also means you might miss out if you wait till after Black Friday. Don’t Grinch up the second half of 2018.

Bookmark it

Save this link, and add a reminder on your phone to check it every other week or so to get ahead of the giving season

Now time to narrow it down. And we’ve made it easy for you!


We all see the tents. We all know there’s a homelessness crisis happening in our region. People experiencing homelessness face numbness from the coming cold, while people walk by numb to their suffering. Join us and do something about it. You CAN make a difference.

Start with learning more about the recent homeless count and the issue. Let this issue affect you. You’ve connected with United Way before, so we’re pretty sure you’ll end up frustrated like we are. Use that to drive you to take action. Then stand up against homelessness with checking out these homelessness-ending volunteer opps and learning how to talk to your kids about homelessness.


Families are battling homelessness too. That includes kids. So adopt-a-family opportunities, Thanksgiving baskets and meal donations—BINGO. Here they are on our volunteer website. You can even create a profile so you can follow different nonprofits and get notified when they post new volunteer opportunities.


Giving trees are your friends, and online shopping wins the season. Find giving trees at your local mall, library or place of worship. Many organizations post on their websites a wish list of most-needed items.

It’s easy to donate online too. Or start a fundraiser as your holiday good deed. Every dollar makes a difference for people facing homelessness and poverty right in our own communities. 


The holidays get cray-cray. One easy way to avoid more errands is to scope out your grocery store’s entrance. No, not those bags of “cinnamon” pine cones. Don’t touch those.

In addition to the Salvation Army red kettles, there are usually donation bins for nonperishable items and lists of needed items. Shop for your own groceries and provide much-needed food for others at the same time. No extra errands. Result: Families with enough to eat and shelters with enough to serve people through the winter.


United Way’s young professionals networking group is on fire lately. Emerging Leaders have volunteer projects all planned out around homelessness, foster youth and more. Sign up as an Emerging Leader now for first access to their holiday volunteering projects. Plus you meet other super-nice people like yourself and learn ways to make your community better.

Let’s make this winter season warmer and brighter for all our neighbors in need. Cheers to your do-good-ing self!


November 14, 2018

Where can I volunteer in the Seattle area this Thanksgiving Day and during the Christmas season?

Replies to Michele
November 19, 2018

There are lots of places to volunteer, Michelle! You can find them here:

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Arlene Rubenstein
November 18, 2018

My Thanksgiving invite was cancelled due to a family member's illness. I would like to volunteer my services. Perhaps help serve a meal? Thank you!

Replies to Arlene Rubenstein
November 19, 2018

Hi Arlene! Sorry about your Thanksgiving but we would love to have you volunteer! Find opportunities here:

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All comments are approved before they are posted to the site.

All comments are approved before they are posted to the site.