Volunteering for the Holidays

With every changing season, one thing remains consistent throughout the holidays: the want and need for volunteering. Many charities, churches, food banks and clothing drives love volunteers that help all year, but during the holidays the extra help is that much more appreciated.

nOg Run Club - - Volunteer for the Holidays

Some of the nOg Run Club members after present wrapping last year.

Downtown Raleigh’s nOg Run Club – sponsored by Tir Na nOg, Chiropractic Café, Fleet Feet Sports Raleigh, Lonerider Brewery and Raleigh Beer Garden – is hitting holiday volunteering right on the head. Reinstituting “Operation Wake County Holiday Cheer” for this year’s holidays, the club will have six days of volunteer work from November to January.

The club will be sponsoring more than 110 children as well as 58 seniors through all of the various donations and volunteer work done in the course of the next few months.

“With the success of our annual races, we have continued to raise more money, and for the third year in a row will sponsor over 110 children,” said nOg Run Club’s president, Dr. Elizabeth Pagano. “This is a small way we can make the holidays a little brighter for our community.”

The club’s first event takes place at 6:30 a.m. November 5 when members will head to the Old Navy store located at Triangle Town Center Mall to shop for the children they are sponsoring for the holidays.

On December 10 at 10:30 a.m., the club will deliver presents to Wake Assisted Living in Raleigh for the fourth year in a row.

“This is an awesome way to spread holiday cheer and spend time with the residents,” Pagano said.

The nOg Run Club has been able to support local charities through its three annual races along with volunteering at other local races and various fundraisers held by the club.

With the endless opportunities to get involved with giving back for the holidays, another option is volunteering at the Raleigh Rescue Mission.

Raleigh Rescue Mission - Volunteer for the Holidays

Raleigh Rescue Mission volunteer
standing behind festive holiday cupcakes
prepared for the public.

For the past few years, Rolesville resident Cassandra Monday and her family have dedicated their holiday season to preparing meals, providing clothing and much more for the Raleigh Rescue Mission.

“I started bringing my kids here a couple years ago just to give back on the community,” Monday said. “We think if there are people less fortunate than us who cannot afford to celebrate the holidays, we should dedicate ours to them.”

The Raleigh Rescue Mission provides multiple seasonal volunteer opportunities specifically for the holidays including Gobbles to Go Meal, Thanks for Giving Holiday Food Drive, Holiday Tubs of Love and Christmas Blessings Gift Program.

According to the Raleigh Rescue Mission website, the spirit of volunteering is abundant because the mission’s Gobbles to Go Outreach Program volunteer positions and waiting list are full for Thanksgiving and Christmas 2016. However, there are many other volunteer opportunities available.

Many local churches will also ask people to volunteer for the holidays as well. Lifepointe is one such church, and the church has one site at Wake Forest High School and two others in Raleigh.

Mary Grover has been a member of Lifepointe Church for three years and enjoys creating the Christmas spirit in giving back.

“As a community, people often feel we have the help we need, but that is not the case,” Grover said. “We always have welcome arms to anyone who wants to donate their time and effort.”

Lifepointe Church - Volunteer for the Holidays

Mary Grover and friends with Lifepointe Church.

The church has a special program for providing less fortunate children with toys for Christmas. After a service, each family can go up to the giving tree to pick a name of a child that is attached to one of the branches. The family then buys a toy to bring back to the church, where it will be given to the child.

“The holidays are meant to be celebrated with happiness and love, so why wouldn’t we want everyone to feel that way?” Monday said.

For more information on participating with The nOg Run Club for the holidays, visit www.nogrunclub.com/ or email info@nOgRunClub.com.

To get involved with the Raleigh Rescue Mission, find out more at www.raleighrescue.org

To get find out more information about Lifepointe Church’s holiday programs, visit the website  www.lifepointechurch.com/wakeforest/

— Abaigeal Brown, November 2016