5 Best Holiday Volunteer Opportunities in Minnesota for Families

Family volunteers at local soup kitchen

For many of us, the holidays are a busy time of year, especially when it comes to gift giving. As you check off presents on your shopping list, make time to volunteer with your family, and give a gift that impacts those around you. It’s a great way to teach your children about the spirit of giving, as well as encourage a more empathetic mindset. Here’s where to find holiday volunteer opportunities in Minnesota.

Salvation Army

Every holiday, the Salvation Army ramps up another year of helping the elderly, homeless and families in need. While bell ringing is the most well-known volunteer opportunity, there are plenty of other ways you can get your family involved. You can sign up to prepare or serve a meal in the Minneapolis or St. Paul area (children must be at least 16 years old). There are also group opportunities for Christmas decorating, lunch bagging, and coat sorting for those without the comfort and warmth of shelter this holiday season.

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels provides thousands of healthy meals to the elderly and disabled all year long. By delivering meals with your children, you can help them build relationships with the community and learn about nutrition. This program’s biggest need is meal delivery; however, there are plenty of other volunteer opportunities for families. You can buy oven mitts for delivery drivers, create holiday cards, and decorate lunch bags for the recipients.

Toys for Tots

Give a child an unforgettable holiday by donating a toy through Toys for Tots. Your kids can pick out the toy and deliver the unwrapped present to the closest drop-off location. It’s a great way to share the spirit of giving with your children, and get an idea of items on their wishlist! If you don’t have a drop-off location, consider hosting an event at your residence.   

Gift Wrapping at Lyngblomsten

Lyngblomsten is a senior center that welcomes volunteers of all ages. On December 15, your family can wrap gifts that are purchased through the Spirit of Giving program. These presents are given to the 237 residents of the center. Other volunteer opportunities include cookie decorating, blanket tying, and serving holiday refreshments.

Operation Christmas Child

While there are great local opportunities, your family can extend their services to even farther reaches of the globe. Samaritan’s Purse is an international relief organization that provides toys and other items to children from more than 100 countries. Your family can pack a shoebox with toys, stuffed animals, hygiene items, and more. If you’re short on time, you can also build a shoebox online. Either method is a wonderful way to get your children involved in humanitarian efforts that go beyond their hometown.

The holidays are a great time of year to volunteer; however, it’s not always the most opportune time. If your schedule is too busy this season, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities in Minnesota year-round. Donate a few hours of your time each month as a family commitment. It’ll teach your children about community involvement, and help them understand the importance of lending a hand.

Looking for other activities to do this season? Read our blog on the “5 Ways You Can Encourage Physical Activity This Winter With Your Kids.”