Kimberly Kerr, SNJ Today
PENNSAUKEN, N.J. - This time of year is full of festive fun and gift-giving. But one local organization is spotlighting the importance of seasonal giving by volunteering.
Staff from the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey joined volunteers in lending a helping hand Wednesday morning at the Food Bank of Southern New Jersey, and they want to make it simple for you to do the same.
“We have our Holiday Network, which is a list of opportunities that have been posted by our partner agencies and our community partners of volunteer opportunities and donation needs during the holiday season,” said Darwisa Strabuk, engagement manager for the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.
They’ve set it up so all people have to do is visit UnitedforImpact.org to find a volunteer opportunity in their area.
“There’s a lot of folks in our region that are struggling during the holiday season," said Strabuk. "So, this is a great way for folks to volunteer and give back to those that are less fortunate."
“I’m always trying to find ways to get involved in the community, and to get my kids involved, and this will be a way I can search for different things that I may not be able to find otherwise,” said Sarah Thompson, a volunteer.
The portal doesn’t just help the volunteer. It also helps organizations like the Food Bank of South Jersey make those opportunities better known to people in the area.
“The United Way is really crucial in helping us to advertise those local volunteer opportunities that are available to people in the area that are looking for a way to give back to their community and have fun while they are doing it,” said Lauren Hahn, senior communications manager for the Food Bank of South Jersey.
The Holiday Network makes it possible for three groups to be impactful: the companies, the volunteers, and those that will benefit from the gift of giving back.
“It’s important to be able to refocus [on] who really needs help during this season and what this season is about because it really is about giving,” said Thompson.
“It’s really a beautiful thing to see people giving back and looking for opportunities to give back and make people happy during the holiday season,” said Strabuk.
Once the holiday season is over the United Way will continue the portal in hopes of helping people in the area give back all year long.