Alternative breaks, Toys for Tots are among the holiday volunteering traditions

When the holidays roll around and the weather starts to drop, the need for help within any community starts to rise.

Soup kitchens are still in full swing, feeding those in need during the chilling months, but there are a few organizations that start up in the winter.

Throughout the city, there are various organizations that set up drop boxes for coat donations for families that can’t afford winter coats. When shoppers check out at local dollar stores, they are asked if they want to donate a toy for soldiers and their families.

During break the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center has set up 13 different alternative breaks for students to travel all over the United States, and one group is even going to Peru to help out with different issues. The volunteer opportunities range from animal rescue in Austin, Texas to child healthcare in Memphis, Tennessee.

Other students that don’t wish to spend their breaks away from their families have opportunities around Isabella County to volunteer. Over the weekend the Dickens’ Christmas Festival went on in downtown Mount Pleasant and had help from volunteers at Candy Cane Lane.

Today through Friday and Monday through Dec. 12, Christmas Outreach will be putting together packages of donated goods for local families in Finch Fieldhouse.

South Lyon junior Kelly Irwin said her residential hall has been collecting items for Christmas Outreach.

“I wanted to get a few toys to donate myself,” Irwin said.“Barnes as a hall has been collecting for a few weeks now, too.”

Christmas Outreach isn't the only organization that is getting things together for local families. Toys for Tots has been taking donations and on Dec. 15 in the Finch Fieldhouse, they will be sorting and organizing the donations to be distributed to families in need around Isabella County.

Wyoming graduate Jason Vasquez said to find more information about winter volunteering opportunities, go to the volunteer center OrgSync page.


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