‘Tis the Season! With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we often forget the real meaning of the season – Giving. The old saying “Tis better to give than to receive” holds so much truth, and I don’t think that there’s any better way to get into the holiday spirit than to give back to those in need. Pittsburgh offers plenty of volunteering opportunities, both during the holidays, and year-round. Please check out these organizations and consider getting your whole family involved – the efforts of your volunteer work may be the best gifts many people receive this year.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the holiday volunteering opportunities in Pittsburgh. I encourage everyone to find some way to give back this holiday season, and to leave comments below with additional organizations needing your support now and throughout the year!
Jubilee Soup Kitchen
2005 Wyandotte Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-5536
Volunteer Hours: Daily 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
This independent, non-profit organization serves the Greater Pittsburgh community by providing a number of services, including a health clinic, child care, food bank, job center, and free daily hot meals to individuals challenged by poverty, homelessness, joblessness, and illness. Volunteers are always welcome in the Soup Kitchen, where your efforts will have an immediate impact, since the food you prepare helps feed over 150 people each day. The Soup Kitchen also prides itself on the sense of community its volunteers feel. Not only do you have the chance to interact with other volunteers in the kitchen, but you can directly interact with guests; hugs, handshakes, and friendly conversations are all encouraged!
Treasures for Children
Salvation Army – Western Pennsylvania
700 N. Bell Avenue
Carnegie, PA 15106
Brighten the lives of needy area children this holiday season and volunteer your efforts with Salvation Army’s Treasures for Children. This program aims to provide toys for needy children, ages 0 – 13 by having people pick up toy tags corresponding to a certain child and purchasing a gift to be delivered to that child on Christmas. There are a number of ways to get involved, so feel free to help out in any way you can. You can volunteer to help sort and distribute toy tags all throughout December, or you can pick up a TFC toy tag at participating locations and purchase a gift for a needy child. You can even sponsor a child in your area and ensure that your gift is delivered to them on Christmas morning. With the tough economy and rising unemployment, help families bring joy to the children by helping out Treasures for Children.
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
1 North Linden Street
Duquesne, PA 15110
412-460-3663 (Ext 301 for Volunteering; Ext 209 for Organizing a Food Drive)
Help to end hunger this holiday season by volunteering your efforts with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. There are plenty of ways to get involved with this organization, so there’s no excuse not to help out. Volunteers can work on special events, sort food at the warehouse, harvest vegetables on a farm, or make a long-term commitment to end hunger and join a committee. If you have a large group, consider organizing a food drive to benefit the GPCFB. With 1.7 million pounds of food distributed every month, the efforts of your food drive can make an impressive difference. If neither of these options work for you, simply consider donating non-perishable food items to the Food Bank. You can bring donations to the Duquesne location weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. or click here for additional drop-off locations.
Jessica LaRosa is a fitness and Pittsburgh enthusiast currently displaced in suburban Philadelphia. You can follow her healthy living journey at For the Fun of Fit.