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Thanksgiving Through Service

Expressing one’s gratitude this holiday season can take many forms. For many, the holiday season is synonymous with selfless service, an opportunity to share our resources.

If you are considering offering your time and efforts to the service of others, there are ample opportunities to do so in the Indianapolis area, from food prep and delivery to helping animals and picking out toys for needy children. Whatever your interest, here are a few volunteer opportunities to get you started.

Angel Tree Christmas Assistance/Salvation Army

The Angel Tree program connects generous individuals and groups with a deserving child—or angel—in need. Families can “adopt” an angel this holiday season and provide him or her with items from their personalized wish list and needs. Angel Tree adoptions are available November 27 through December 10 at Castleton Square and Greenwood Park malls. Additional service opportunities include clothing donation, bell ringing, sorting bags and helping families on distribution day.

For more information, visit SalvationArmyUSA.org.

Childhood Hunger Education, Engagement and Reverence (CHEER)

Throughout the year, children and their families gather at the Mid-North Food Pantry to help stock shelves and participate in food drives. Volunteer opportunities are readily available throughout the holiday season for children ages 3 to 12 years old and their parents.

Location: 3333 N. Meridian St. For more information, call 317-924-7900 or email Erin Vincent at Cheer@MidNorthFoodPantry.org.

Gleaner’s Food Bank of Indiana

Volunteers are always needed to help inspect and assemble food baskets, assist with clerical duties and help to organize and stock items throughout the season.

Location: 3737 Waldemere Ave. For more information, call 317-925-0191 or visit Gleaners.org.

Exodus Refugee Immigration

This organization helps refugee families with establishing themselves in the Indianapolis area, including finding housing, employment, and health services. Volunteers are always needed to sort donations, completing special projects and organizing the storage area.

Location: 2457 E. Washington St., Ste. A. For more information, call 317-921-0836 or visit ExodusRefugee.org.

Good Samaritan Network

During the holidays, Good Samaritan Network (GSN) welcomes volunteers to assist with meal preparation and delivery, sorting food and helping families choose toys and clothing for their children. Throughout the year, GSN oversees a collaborative network of nonprofits in Hamilton County to serve the needs of residents who are at-risk or underserved.

Location: 12933 Parkside Dr., Fishers. For more information, call 317-842-2603 or visit GSNLive.org.

Humane Society of Indianapolis

Providing services to animals throughout the area with sheltering, adoption, and community outreach programs, the Humane Society of Indianapolis has many volunteer opportunities available. Volunteers help with a variety of duties, including cleaning, fostering and working directly with the animals. Children ages 8 years old and up may volunteer with their families.

Location: 7929 N. Michigan Rd. For more information, call 317-872-5650 or visit IndyHumane.org.

Meals on Wheels

Recognized as the life force of the organization, volunteers not only deliver meals to homebound Indianapolis-area residents, but also offer companionship and a friendly smile with each visit. Numerous routes are available for those interested in working hands-on and there are additional behind-the-scenes volunteer opportunities that are available.

For more information, call 317-252-5558 or visit MealsOnWheelsIndy.org.

Million Meal Movement

Volunteers with the Million Meal Movement make protein-filled complete meal packs during weekly Saturday packing events. The packaged meals are then delivered to area food pantries and agencies that help feed hungry Hoosiers.

For more information, call 317-863-8655, visit MillionMealMovement.org or email Info@MillionMealMovement.org.

Second Helpings

Volunteers are always welcome to help change the community one meal at a time with current and future projects, especially during the holiday season. Teens ages 16 and up may volunteer. Family volunteer opportunities throughout the holidays include organizing food collection drives and cleaning on site.

Location: 1121 Southeastern Ave. For more information, call 317-632-2664 or visit SecondHelpings.org.

Shepherd Community Center

The Center works with near Eastside youth and their families to cultivate healthy children, strong families and vibrant neighborhoods. Relying heavily on volunteers throughout the year, Shepherd Community Center especially seeks help with special events and holiday programs. The minimum age requirements for volunteering may be waived during special events and holiday programs.

Location: 4107 East Washington St. For more information, call 317-375-0203 or visit ShepherdCommunity.org.

The Villages

Numerous holiday volunteering opportunities are available at The Villages, the state’s largest nonprofit child and family services agency. Volunteers may collect new children’s books, host gift card drives and create personal care kits for individuals who are fostering children.

Location: 3833 N. Meridian St. For more information, call 317- 775-6500 or visit VillagesKids.org.

Wheeler Mission

The Wheeler Mission is seeking volunteers this holiday season to assist with one-time housekeeping, meal service or pantry inventory tasks. Additional volunteering opportunities are available, including at the Children’s Ministry or Recreation Nights. Children under 18 years old are required to have a parent or guardian present during volunteer hours.

Location: 205 East New York St. For more information, call 317-635-3575 or visit WheelerMission.org.

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