Spreading the Love, Tips on how to Give Back

As the holiday is fast approaching, there are several organizations that are in need of assistance. What is near and dear to your heart? A good place to start is Volunteer Match.org. http://www.volunteermatch.org/?l=Orlando%2C+FL#. They match your skills and abilities to organizations that need your help. Also http://www.handsonorlando.com is a local Orlando volunteer site. Here are a few organizations I have volunteered with that may not be listed on the above sites.

Ronald McDonald House (https://www.ronaldmcdonaldhouseorlando.org) needs volunteers to do various positions such as signing people in at the front desk. The most fun I’ve had there is pulling together 5 or 6 people to cook for the guests. Schedule to serve a Lunch or Dinner at either House (near Arnold Palmer or FL Hospital Princeton). Gather donations, make a menu, purchase groceries (usually $200-300), and cook at the House. Keep it simple and easy such as Chili over rice, salad, bread and dessert or Rotisserie Chicken, salad, vegetable and dessert. All the dishes, pots and pans, and utensils are there. The average number of persons for lunch is 10-20 people and dinner is 20-40. Anyone want to put a group together let me know! Also if you have pocket change, donating trial size personal items such as deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, soap, shaving cream, etc is always appreciated.

Kids Against Hunger (http://kidsagainsthunger.org) is a National organization that packages food to feed hungry families. Yes, Danny they even have locations in Minnesota!! They host packaging events to make the highly nutritious, vitamin-fortified soy-rice casserole food packages to hand out. Each package feeds 4 people when you add water. One thing I like about this organization is they help in a couple of different areas. Whenever a disaster hits an area of the world, such as a tsunami or earthquake, they ship food there. However, at least 50-60% stays here in the US to feed homeless families. You can donate money but they also need people in 1 hour shifts to help at the packaging events.

Ok so holiday gifts for friends and relatives have already tapped out your wallet. How about donating time? Several organizations are happy to let you volunteer a few hours whenever you have them to spare.

Habitat for Humanity is always looking for someone to swing a hammer or put finishing touches inside a house. They list their builds a week in advance. http://habitat-orlando.volunteerhub.com/events/index. They also need volunteers daily at their ReStore Shops (N. OBT, E. Colonial and FL Mall) to help sort and organize donations.

Maybe put those brainiac skills to work and tutor a child in Math, Reading or Science. As little as 4 hours a month could help a child learn and possibly set them on the path of success. The Neighborhood Improvement Corporation does require a driver’s license and background check. You can reach ONIC at (407) 648-1623.

There are even organizations that need computer help, Stay at home in your PJs and volunteer. They need help building a newsletter or website or even assisting on social media. VolunteerMatch.org has a list of virtual volunteer positions that are available. My dad had a blast  helping to redesign the  Albin Polasek Museum website. I had never heard about the museum until he started working on it. Beautiful place in Winter Park and they are in need of gardeners if you would like to help. http://www.polasek.org/support/volunteers/

As some of you know may know, Cybis has a matching donation program. Cybis will match any qualifying donation over $25 and up to $100 annually per employee to eligible organizations. So what are those eligible organizations? They must be listed as a 501(c)(3) organization. All of the ones listed here qualify. Also many of the more well-known organizations such as March of Dimes, Red Cross, America’s Second Harvest, American Cancer Society and ASPCA qualify. (Usually alumni and religious associates do not qualify.) Please double check with me and I’ll be happy to help.

Don’t forget volunteer opportunities are available all year long…so reach out and help someone in need. You will be surprised what you will learn and how much helping someone else will enrich your own life.

Posted By: Heather Perkins, Accountant

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