Wednesday, December 4, 2013

12 service project ideas for the holidays

Troop #108001 donated nearly 600 items to the Stonebridge Church Food Pantry recently.

Serving others is a cornerstone of Girl Scouting, and the holiday season is the perfect time to practice this. Whether your Girl Scout or troop is collecting and donating food and toys to a local animal shelter or volunteering at the Houston Food Bank, there are a number of ways to help people all across southeast Texas this holiday season. Here are a few suggestions for simple service projects perfect for the holidays:

  1. Bake a holiday treat for local heroes, like teachers, firefighters, police, etc. and write them a thank you card for their hard work.
  2. The holidays are a great time to show love to homeless pets. Find a local animal shelter, ask what they need most and hold a donation drive.
  3. Collect baby items, such as bottles, formula, for a young mother group. New mothers benefiting from the organization’s generosity may not have the money for presents – these practical items will go a long way.
  4. Look up a local child protective service group’s “wish list” and collect items they need. 
  5. Collect basic items like toiletries for kids and teens; donate them to a homeless shelter with a large youth population.
  6. Collect new toys or stuffed animals for local women's shelter.
  7. Keep others cozy! Collect socks for the homeless and diabetic socks for those in local hospitals.
  8. Winter is a great time to clean out your closet - collect women and men's professional clothing to donate to organizations helping people look for jobs.
  9. Help children in shelters, the hospital or low income areas celebrate the holidays. Create small boxes of holiday decorations and gifts and deliver them to the organization.
  10. Collect cold weather clothes, such as coats and gloves, for an organization centered on this type of donation. 
  11. Visit an area assisted living facility to celebrate the holidays with residents. Have your troop make cards and sing songs with their new friends.
  12. Partner with a local organization and write cards of encouragement to military personnel. 

With all of these suggestions, it is a good idea to contact the organization first to find out what they need, find out if you can deliver the items personally and what their guidelines might be for items like cards or baked goods. A little prep work can go a long way in making sure your service project is successful!

Looking for even more ideas? Be on the lookout for your Jan/Feb 2014 issue of The Golden Link and check out our list of nearly 100 service project ideas in the “Service Corner” column.