Holiday guide: The gift of giving
By donating goods and volunteering your time, you can help make this the most wonderful time of the year for those in need
A Christmas morning living-room tableau of gift-wrapped goodies crowding the tree is sure to bring a smile to your face (or, if you’re the one paying for it all, the clenched rictus of a silent scream). We’re totally down with living in a material world! But celebrating the spirit of the season by helping others may be the best gift of all: It makes our community a better place, makes you feel good and probably does some big favors to your credit score. Ready to help? Here’s how.
Adult Day Care Centers of Las Vegas and Henderson
This organization helps families avoid or postpone nursing home admission, bridging the gap between home and nursing home with compassionate, professional care.
Needs: Visit and assist clients; provide entertainment, event planning, fundraising, construction, facilities or other support services; lead a class or serve on a committee.
Aid for AIDS of Nevada
Provides medical case management, medical transportation, education and prevention, housing and nutritional services for adults and children living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
Needs: Donations of new, unwrapped toys and games for children up to age 15 for annual toy drive; assist with gift-wrapping and annual Kids’ Holiday Party benefitting children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS
Provides new and gently used infant clothing and gear to babies born to victims of domestic abuse, teen mothers and low-income families.
Needs: Help with collecting, sorting, cleaning and preparing clothing donations; fill diaper bags with receiving blankets, bottles, toiletries and other vital equipment
Volunteer: 702-485-2229, babysbounty.org/volunteers-lv
Best Buddies Nevada
Creates opportunities for friendships through socialization programs; job coaching; and tools in leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Needs: Individuals in corporate and civic communities, colleges, high schools and middle schools willing to befriend a Best Buddies participant or become an email pen pal to a Best Buddies participant
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Nevada
A mentoring network that provides children facing adversity with professionally supported positive relationships.
Needs: Volunteers interested in enjoying fun activities together, such as playing sports, hiking, reading, etc.
Blind Center of Nevada
Assists the blind and visually impaired by focusing on personal development, social interaction and meaningful employment.
Needs: Helping to greet members, serve lunch, shop, assist with various daily programs and activities such as ceramics, music, keyboarding and more; help make edible goodies for holiday gift baskets sold to raise funds to support center’s programs and services; prep and wrap baskets for shipping
Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas
Helps boost a child’s self-esteem.
Needs: Creating food baskets; wrapping toys; decorating for holiday celebrations; hanging with the kids as they make holiday crafts to take home.
Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada
Regardless of faith, provides counseling services, services to pregnant women, immigration legal assistance, transitional housing, aid to low-income families and more.
Needs: Preparing Thanksgiving baskets, stocking pantry shelves and assisting pantry shoppers
Volunteer: 702-385-2662, catholiccharities.com
A safe child-care center for abused and neglected children with a goal of empowering families to break the cycle of abuse and neglect and create lifelong loving relationships.
Needs: Classroom volunteers; participants for group projects, such as Brighter Birthday and Giving Tree programs; event volunteers; spreading awareness
Clark County READS
An initiative of the Public Education Foundation, Clark County READS offers literacy programs to children and families.
Needs: Tutor struggling students in reading; help with general clerical work; pick up and deliver books
Goodie Two Shoes Foundation
Provides disadvantaged children and children in crisis with new shoes and socks, as well as other essential items.
Needs: Assist with events during the school year; help participating children select a properly fitted pair of shoes; complete distribution process; assist with filling of backpacks, lunch, etc.
Helping Hands of Vegas Valley
Develops, coordinates and delivers home-based supportive and assistive services to frail elderly residents.
Needs: Basic administrative help, making phone calls to seniors, driving, food pantry assistance, food delivery, packing goodie and grocery bags, pet food distribution; intake coordinator assistance
Help of Southern Nevada
Assists more than 1,200 families to receive a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and more than 19,000 children in need to receive holiday gifts through its three signature programs: Adopt-A-Family, Turkey-A-Thon and Toy Drive/Holiday Assistance.
Needs: Adopt a family for the holidays to provide toy donations or donations of turkey and food/nonperishables for them
Volunteer: 702-369-4357, helpsonv.org
Jewish Family Service Agency
Supports people of all backgrounds by providing professional social services, including counseling, senior services, adoptions and emergency assistance.
Needs: Daily administrative tasks, food pantry help, driving seniors, assistance with events and fundraisers held throughout the year
Las Vegas Humane Society
Dedicated to improving the welfare of animals in the Las Vegas Valley, particularly stray and abandoned animals.
Needs: Foster an animal, walk dogs, help rescue animals, fundraise, assist with bake sales, make or provide blankets, donate food or toys and more
Las Vegas Rescue Mission
Provides children with Christmas gifts, as well as food and other essentials.
Needs: Aid with special events; serve meals; seek donations and collect items to distribute to those in need; drive residents to church; assist with chapel service; sort nonperishable items; gift-wrapping
Lutheran Social Services of Nevada
Provides professional social services to people of all backgrounds, including counseling, senior services, adoptions and emergency assistance.
Needs: Help assemble and distribute Thanksgiving dinners; Christmas Adopt-A-Family program; purchasing gift items from a supplied wish list; organizing and distributing the gifts; emergency services food pantry; office tasks; maintenance at housing units; assembling and delivering baskets for holiday food drives; fundraising
Marine Toys 4 Tots
Collects new, unwrapped toys and distributes them as Christmas gifts to needy children.
Needs: Toy donations; help with the transportation and storage of donated toys; warehouse assistance; help with meals; and more
Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth
Provides youth services, including street outreach, 24-hour crisis intervention, full-time drop-in center and independent-living program.
Needs: Provide food, clothing, hygiene items, school supplies and other needed items in at-risk neighborhoods; bring supplies and assemble sack lunches for distribution; host a barbecue for homeless youth; participate in monthly baking contest; creating hygiene kits; answering phones and other clerical tasks; food pantry help; restocking of clothing closet; and more
Volunteer: 702-383-1332, nphy.org
Helps people with severe intellectual and related disabilities seek independence by providing vocational training, community employment, day services, advocacy, arts and social recreation.
Needs: Work with men and women with intellectual disabilities; assist with various events, including Magical Forest, which requires 70-90 nightly volunteers; and more
The Ronald McDonald House of Greater Las Vegas
Provide lodging, transportation and support to families while their children receive medical treatment.
Needs: Help clean and organize house; family transportation; office work; building and grounds maintenance; hospital lunch program; weekend breakfast program and cleanup; special events; driving of shuttle van; lunch program delivery
The Salvation Army
Offers adult rehabilitation, emergency disaster, family, homeless, human-trafficking victims and veteran services, as well as prayer requests, vocational, summer camp and youth club programs.
Needs: Assistance sorting and wrapping donated Christmas gifts; unpacking, storing food pantry donations; organizing donated items; building shelving and other fixtures; visiting senior care centers; serving food; cleaning up at community homeless meals
Volunteer: 702-870-4430, salvationarmysouthernnevada.org/volunteer
The Shade Tree
Provides a safe shelter for homeless and abused women and children in crisis, and offers services promoting stability, dignity and self-reliance.
Needs: Help prepare and serve daily meals; organize pantry; assist in clinic; tutor; teach life skills classes; organize arts and craft projects; sort donated items; provide transportation; cleaning, painting and yard work; assist with special events
Spread the Word Nevada
Advances early childhood literacy by giving books to children in at-risk, low-income communities.
Needs: Cleaning books; Books and Buddies mentors; reading companion; help with Breakfast with Books event; assist with storytelling; lending a hand at community events
Volunteer: 702-564-7809, spreadthewordnevada.org
St. Jude’s Ranch for Children
Works with abused, neglected and at-risk children, young adults and families through residential foster care; pregnant and parenting teens; transitional living, housing and services for homeless 18-25 year-olds; child-focused sibling preservation; emergency placement; and child-nutrition programs.
Needs: Donations of holiday decorations; volunteers to hang lights and decorate for Christmas
The Backpack for Kids program provides Clark County schoolchildren in need with bags of nourishing food for after school, weekends, holidays and school breaks.
Needs: Sort and repackage food; fill backpacks with food; package meals for school programs; help out at special events; box meals for the Senior Share Program; and more
Volunteer: 702-644-3663, threesquare.org
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System
Helps provide for the comfort and well-being of veteran patients and makes their hospital stays more enjoyable.
Needs: Help transport patients to medical appointments; information desk; filing, answering phones, greeting and directing patients; making calls; donating new clothes and hygiene items
Provides personal and social change through Christian principles and opportunities to learn, grow and thrive side-by-side, regardless of age, income or background.
Needs: Assistance sorting and wrapping toy donations; setting up facility for annual Reindeer Rock event and distributing toys at the event; raising funds; coaching sports teams and teaching classes