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Best Holiday Volunteer Opportunities For The Family In Chicago

By Jessica Cage

The holiday season is the time for giving, breaking bread and exchanging gifts with the ones you love. This year, consider taking the time to show your children that giving and sharing is not just a family affair. The same generosity and care that you show towards the ones you know and love should be shared with someone who may not have a family to spend this season with or just might need something extra special to brighten up their holiday. Explore Chicago and all of the wonderful holiday volunteer opportunities it has to offer and maybe you will be able to bring a little joy into someone's heart.


Interfaith House
3456 W. Franklin Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60624
(773) 533-6013

Date: December 2, 2012 from 10 a.m. 2 p.m.

Interfaith House will be organizing a Christmas dinner to be served to its residents. The event will last four hours and in this time you will be able to not only prepare and serve food, but also interact with others. There is a detailed schedule that outlines how the day will go and even includes time for the volunteers to eat and be social with the residents of Interfaith House. Call ahead and speak to the IFH Dietary Service Manager for more information as to how you and your family can help out.

Related: Best Fall Family Activities In Naperville


Snug Hugs for Kids Donation Drive
Children's Home + Aid
1701 W. 63rd St.
Chicago, IL 60636
(773) 476-6998

Dates: December 12-14, 2012

Snug Hugs for Kids is the 19th annual clothing donation drive provided by The Merlin 200,000 Mile Shop. Volunteers will take part and help give away the clothing that has been collected. The effect of your help in this drive will last much longer than the holiday season. There will be a large variety of sweaters, jackets, coats and other warm clothing that will help keep kids warm over the long winter months. Volunteers must be at least 10 years old and available to help between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.


McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade
State St. from Congress Parkway to Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 239-0467

Date: November 22, 2012 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Contact Chloe Berman, the volunteer coordinator, for a chance to take part in the 79th annual McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade. Every year, this parade is put together by the coordinators and over 1,300 helpful volunteers, and there is always room for more people to participate. The parade will travel down State Street from Congress Parkway to Randolph Street and will be broadcasted to over 75 million households along with the hundreds of thousands of people who will crowd the streets of downtown Chicago for a chance to see the parade in action. Volunteers will be used in a variety of ways from hospitality to street team and even something referred to as 'poo crew.' Sign up early to be a part of this wonderful event.

Toy Drive

Holiday Toy Drive
Children's Home + Aid
1701 W. 63rd St.
Chicago, IL 60636
(773) 476-6998

Dates: Flexible throughout the holiday season

Children's Home + Aid will be hosting various holiday toy drives throughout the Chicagoland area. Children across Chicago will write letters to Santa and through these toy drives, their letters and holiday wishes will be answered. Contact Children's Home + Aid to find out about volunteer options. You can also pick up a wish list and provide the gifts for a special child. Any gifts donated will be matched to the child that fits it. There are a lot of children who, for whatever reasons, will not experience a proper celebration. Adopt a family and help to ensure that every child has a happy holiday.

Related: Family Guide to Thanksgiving Volunteering


Holiday Crew Volunteer
Odyssey Hospice Chicago Southwest
7601 S. Kostner Ave., Suite 400
Chicago, IL 60652
(708) 409-3040

When: Flexible throughout the holiday season

Contact Letty Pizarro at Odyssey Hospice to set up your volunteer services. Volunteers will be responsible for not only delivering gifts, but also decorating rooms. The hospice care system is set up to help persons who are not able to care for themselves. Throughout the year, the workers help to create comfortable home environments and provide any assistance needed. During the holidays, the aim is the same: provide an environment that can uplift their spirits and show them that someone truly cares. As a volunteer, you will not only be able to set up the rooms, but you will be able to see the joy it creates for the person who lives there.

Jessica Cage is a freelance writer from Chicago. Her work can be found at


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