Now that the holiday season is upon us, folks are teeming with a sense of good cheer. We are encouraged to feel thankful for the luxuries around us, our loved ones and our lives. The holiday season isn’t always prioritized around mountains of mashed potatoes and trees adorned with twinkling lights, but a season meant to reflect on the things that make us so grateful.

weatherly-inn-logoIt’s during this time that many of us are looking for opportunities to invest some of our energy connecting with those with less or without. This article is meant to serve as a resource for some of the opportunities in the South Sound area to volunteer time or donate goods to those who may be experiencing times of strife.

University Place Volunteer Center hosts a dinner on Thanksgiving Day from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Volunteers can arrive and help serve up dinner or make Thanksgiving cards at University Place Primary. Leading up to then, folks can donate toiletries and small gift bags for homeless teens in the area by dropping items off. Call Nicole Johnson at 206-240-7173 for full details. Food donations to be served at the Thanksgiving Day bounty are also being accepted at this time.

2708 Grandview Drive, University Place

Tacoma Rescue Mission
Donations of gifts such as food, clothing, toiletries, and toys go a long way in supporting men, women and children who are in need throughout the year. Photo courtesy: Tacoma Rescue Mission

At Tacoma Rescue Mission, folks can help serve and prepare Thanksgiving meals for the homeless. If you’re unable to donate time on the actual day due to family obligations, Tacoma Rescue Mission encourages you to host a clothes or food drive. Donations of gifts like food, toiletries and clothing help support men, women and children the mission provides support for year-round. Tacoma Rescue Mission provides bins, banners, and literature for businesses or churches hosting such drives.

425 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma

There are some creative ways to help families in need at Helping Hand House. You can participate in Holiday Adopt a Family and aid in providing a holiday meal and/or gifts for one of their families. Or, if you’re feeling outdoorsy, groups or individuals can get their hands dirty with yard care and basic maintenance like lawn mowing, weeding, painting fences and clearing gutters.

4321 2nd Street SW, Puyallup

University Place Volunteer Center
University Place Volunteer Center serves up Thanksgiving Day Bounty. Photo courtesy: University Place Volunteer Center.

Help a family find an easy way to prepare hearty and nutritious meals this holiday season with United Way’s Crock-Pot Project. People are encouraged to hold a Crock-Pot drive, collecting Crock-Pots for families in need. Or you can build soup kits to be prepared in said pots. For items to be processed and distributed to families prior to the start of winter break, donations must be ready for pick up on or before December 15. Donations received after that date will be distributed to families in January.

1501 Pacific Avenue, Suite 400, Tacoma

Feeling short on time but want to help? There are still plenty of local non-profits who need your donations of goods. Here are just a few:

Fish Food Banks of Pierce County could use financial donations for fresh produce, canned goods, non-perishable items and toiletries. See their website for detailed wish lists, locations and hours.

NW Furniture Bank collects lightly used and new furniture for families in need.

117 Puyallup Avenue, Tacoma

YWCA aids women and children in domestic situations through transition. New socks, undergarments, pajamas, bedding, car seats and strollers are all useful. They also accept donations for full-sized toiletries, diapers (sizes 4, 5 and 6 especially) and wipes, $25 gift cards to stores like Target and Fred Meyer, and even used cell phones.

405 Broadway, Tacoma

Peace Out
Teens contribute their time with University Place non-profit Peace Out. Photo courtesy: Peace Out.

Emergency Food Network is looking for many items, including peanut butter, canned stews, canned meats, infant formula, baby food, diapers, canned fruits, and canned vegetables.

3318 92nd Street South, Lakewood

Family Renewal Center is another Tacoma locale helping women and children escape domestic violence, and is always accepting donations. Gift cards for retail, grocery stores and gas stations, children’s books, toys, journals, nightgowns and pajamas for women and children, dish sets, pots and pans, and personal care items are all needed.

6831 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma

Team Backpack Tacoma collects backpacks and shoulder bags filled with clothing, personal hygiene supplies, gift cards to food establishments, coats, blankets, and gift items for homeless teens students. You can donate individual items or a pack loaded up with items.

1625 E 72nd Street, Tacoma

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