November 2012 - Twin Cities Family Volunteer Opportunities


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November 2012
Volunteer Opportunities
for Families 
Help us help you

Better Together: a family service event  

Doing Good Together


Date/Time: Friday, November 16, 5-8 pm


Location: Midtown Global Market, 920 East Lake Street, Minneapolis
Better Together is a free, community-wide family service event hosted by the Midtown Global Market and Doing Good Together , in collaboration with Disney Friends for Change and generationOn. Families are invited to come together to do simple, hands-on service projects, reflect on the importance of giving back, and learn about opportunities to get involved in their community. A diverse group of organizations (including Metro Meals on Wheels, Jabbok Family Services and others) will be participating - each hosting a "station" with a kid-friendly service activity for families to complete. The organizations will also provide information about their mission and volunteer opportunities that are available for families. This event will be held in conjunction with Midtown Global Market's Family night, and will feature live, family entertainment from 5:30 to 7:30pm in the Market's Central Plaza.


Ages: All ages are welcome 


Time Commitment: Come for as long as you'd like between 5pm and 8pm


Contact: Rachel Chrastil at   


Sponsor a Homeless Youth this Holiday Season  

Lutheran Social Service, Metro Homeless Youth Programs


Date/Time: Now-December 12


Location: Midway area of St. Paul

Your giving spirit can make the holidays brighter for the homeless youth and children we work with! By being a holiday sponsor you will provide our youth with many basic household goods, personal supplies and fun items as well as warm their hearts by letting them know that someone out there is thinking of them during the holidays. Sponsors can receive wish lists that youth have completed, donate extra "fill in gifts" or a combination of both! This is a great opportunity for individuals, families, small and large groups, churches, businesses, a team of friends and is open to volunteers of all ages! It also is a great alternative giving option for the holidays - sponsor a youth as a holiday gift for a friend or family member! Thank you so much for supporting youth experiencing homelessness and for helping us bring the holiday spirit to all of the youth and children in our care.  


Ages: All ages


Time Commitment: Varies


Contact: Annie Harm, or 651.470.8801



Operation Comfort 


Date/Time: Flexible, but blankets should be delivered by December 2  


LocationBlankets can be delivered to Mary Rustad Herrera, 8468 Bryce Court, Inver Grove Heights

Over the last six years Operation Comfort volunteers have made and donated over 325 blankets. These blankets have been donated to social service agencies such as Cornerstone and the Children's Hospital. The making of fleece no-sew blankets is fast and simple; all you need to do is select your material and follow directions. You can accomplish this one of two ways:  

1.    JoAnn Fabrics has prepackaged blanket and pillow kits which include directions
2.    If you want to select from the bolts of fleece, these are the yardage requirements: 

  • Baby/Toddler Size - 1.5 yards x 2
  • Child/Lap Size - 2-2.5 yards x 2
  • Adult/Bed size - 2.5-3 yards x 2

You will need a top and coordinating bottom fabric. JoAnn Fabrics also has photocopies of directions for the blankets or you can follow these easy to use instructions:

  • Take the two pieces of fleece - any coordinating colors or patterns
  • Lay out one on top of the other
  • Cut off the salvage edge to make all sides even
  • Cut 4-5" squares from each corner
  • Make the same length cuts along each side about 1" apart
  • Double knot the fringe pieces together connecting the top and bottom pieces of fabric - be careful not to tie them too tight as the side will begin to curl up  

If you are unable to make a blanket but would still like to contribute - you can do so in a couple of different ways:
1.    You can donate money that will be used to purchase material for someone else to make the blankets
2.    Purchase fabric and drop it off before Nov 20th and we will put it together for you 


Ages: All ages can participate


Time Commitment: Each blanket will take approximately 1½ -2 hours, depending on the size - the smaller ones won't take as long as the larger ones


Contact: Mary Rustad Herrera, 651.451.2041 or 651.775.1480 or  



INSTEP Family Night Meal Provider  

Jabbok Family Services  


Date/Time: We are looking to schedule volunteers for the following Tuesday's: December 18, January 29, March 26, April 23 and May 21, 4-6pm. Volunteers may arrive as early as 3pm to start their meal preparation


Location: 2608 Blaisdell Avenue South, Minneapolis  

Family meal night providers purchase, prepare and serve a meal to approximately 10-15 parents and their children of preschool ages. Well-balanced meals including fruits, vegetables, protein and whole grains are appreciated. Meals are provided as part of our monthly parent nights.
Volunteer responsibilities include: 

  • Purchase and prepare the food for 10-15 parents and their children, including milk (no pork products)
  • Serve the meal at 5pm
  • Perform cleanup of serving supplies and kitchen
  • Fill out meal record form for statistical and liability purposes 

There is a full kitchen on-site that includes a commercial oven, refrigerator, pots, pans, cooking and serving utensils. The meal can be made in advance and warmed or prepared completely at the center. 


Ages: Children ages 10 and above are welcome to volunteer


Time Commitment: Two hours per shift plus additional time for planning and purchasing the meal


Contact: Kathi Eilers, 612.870.6118 or 



Share the Warmth-Blanket and Pillow Drive for Homeless Shelters  

Simpson Housing Services


Date/Time: This is an ongoing opportunity


Location: 2100 Pillsbury Avenue South, Minneapolis
Simpson Housing operates a shelter for homeless adults and we're running out of blankets and pillows! Clean out your linen closet and encourage your friends to do the same. We can accept any size washable blanket and the most important thing is that they are warm. So please no crocheted blankets. We also need gently used or new pillows. Tours of our shelters are also available; please contact us if you'd like to schedule a tour.  


Ages: Everyone can participate


Time Commitment: Varies, time to collect and deliver blankets and pillows


Contact: Christina Giese, 612.874.8683,



Adopt a Family for the Holidays  



Date/Time: Registration preferred by Thanksgiving (Nov 22), gifts should be delivered to RESOURCE by December 17


Location900 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis  

RESOURCE empowers people to achieve greater personal, social, and economic success through providing employment, training, chemical health, and mental health services to the Twin Cities. In 2011, we served over 19,000 individuals and impacted the lives of over 23,000 children. Many of our programs work with families and we'd like your help to make their holidays a little brighter. RESOURCE hosts an Adopt-a-Family program as a way to give the families we serve a chance to celebrate the holidays and find hope in their lives. When you register to adopt a family you will be asked what family size you feel most comfortable with and if you are interested in meeting the family you're adopting. We will provide you with the family's wish list and then you can purchase items for the family. Gifts can be wrapped or unwrapped. We can also accommodate larger groups that would like to adopt multiple families or provide gifts for a certain number of people for "Giving Trees"


Ages: Everyone can participate


Time Commitment: Varies


Contact: Samantha Sleeman, or 612.752.8030 



Snow Shoveling for Seniors  

Neighborhood Involvement Program (NIP) Seniors Program


Date/Time: Dependent on when it snows


Location: Exact location TBD in Minneapolis; depends upon where the senior lives

You can make a difference for a senior this winter, and get in shape too! Develop strong muscles by shoveling the snow off a grateful senior citizen's walkways and driveway. You can adopt a yard until the weather warms, or help out on a one-time basis. It's a great way to spend some time with your family in the snow AND make a difference for a senior in your community! Homeowners usually have a shovel but it's always helpful if volunteers bring their own shovels.  


Ages: Family teams and small groups welcome; youth must be age 7 or older and supervised by an adult


Time Commitment: Adopt a yard for the winter or help out on a one-time basis


Contact: Jeanne, 612.746.8549,



Walk to End Hunger

Greater Twin Cities United Way and the Mosaic Company


Date/Time: Thursday, November 22, 7-10am. Volunteer shift times may vary; walk registration runs from 7:30-9:30am


Location: Mall of America, 60 East Broadway, Bloomington. For easy access to registration on Thanksgiving morning, park in the West Parking Ramp and enter via the West Entrance. Please note: this is a change from previous years

The Walk to End Hunger, a family-friendly 5K fun walk held on Thanksgiving morning at the Mall of America, is a great way to start your holiday off right - giving back before you give thanks! Since its inception in 2008, the Walk to End Hunger has raised nearly $900,000 to help support 12 hunger relief organizations that work together to eliminate hunger in the Twin Cities metro area. 100% of the net proceeds of the Walk are distributed to the 12 partner organizations. The entire Walk to End Hunger 5K route is equal to six laps around the first floor of the Mall of America. Walkers are welcome to walk as much or as little as they like. Activities and entertainment will take place at three locations along the Walk route. Families are welcome to volunteer at the Water Stations, as Greeters/Traffic (helping people know where to go) and at Creative Activities.   


Ages: Everyone is welcome to participate


Time Commitment: Varies, most volunteer shifts are two-three hours


Contact: Kristi Shepherd at Register for volunteer opportunities online. To register for the walk and to create a personal fundraising page for the walk click here 



Volunteer Bell Ringers

Salvation Army


Date/Time: November 10-December 24, shifts available Monday-Saturday


Location: Opportunities are available throughout the metro area

You, too, can be a bell-ringer this Christmas season. Join the tradition of giving and discover the joy of making a difference in your community. Individuals, families, and groups can all volunteer. You sign up for a time, date, and location that are convenient for you. After your time slot has been confirmed simply show up at the appointed location. A kettle and bell will be at your location or you will take over for the ringer stationed there before you. Just start ringing and smiling!  Wish shoppers a "Merry Christmas" and be sure to thank people for their donation. Click here to read our bell ringing frequently asked questions for more information.  


Ages: Everyone of any age is welcome to ring at the kettle! Youth under the age of 16 must have their parent's permission and children under the age of 14 need to have adult supervision while volunteering


Time Commitment: Varies depending on location, 2 hour shift minimum


Contact: For more information and to sign up for bell ringing click volunteer bell ringing  



Holiday Mail for Heroes  


Date/Time: Cards need to be received no later than Friday, December 7. Holiday cards received after this date cannot be guaranteed delivery


LocationSend cards to: Holiday Mail For Heroes, P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456  

Be part of the 2012 American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes. Each year the American Red Cross provides assistance to more than 2 million service members and many of our nation's 24 million veterans. We support military families, military and veterans hospitals and provide emergency communications across the globe. And once a year, we get the joy of delivering holiday cards to veterans, military families and active-duty service members at hospitals and installations around the world. The cards and personal messages, sent by tens of thousands of Americans, provide a welcome "touch of home" for our troops during the holiday season. The process is very simple and takes no time at all. All you need is a pen and piece of paper to share your appreciation for the sacrifices members of the U.S. Armed Forces make to protect our freedom.
Every card received will be screened for hazardous materials by Pitney Bowes and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working around the country. 

  • Ensure that all cards are signed
  • Use generic salutations such as "Dear Service Member." Cards addressed to specific individuals cannot be delivered through this program
  • Only cards are being accepted. Do not send letters
  • Do not include email or home addresses on the cards, as the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships
  • Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos, as these items will be removed during the reviewing process
  • We encourage participants to mail as many cards as they are comfortable sending. If you are mailing a large quantity, please bundle the cards and place them in large mailing envelopes or use a flat rate box from the post office. Each card does not need its own envelope, as cards will be removed from all envelopes before distribution
  • Please refrain from sending holiday cards with glitter. Many of these cards will be delivered to military and veterans' medical facilities and the glitter could interfere with a patient's recovery  


Ages: All ages can participate


Time Commitment: Varies






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This list was compiled by Doing Good Together ( When calling to volunteer for any of the opportunities listed above, please let the coordinator know you found it through this listing. You are encouraged to ask any questions you may have of the sponsoring organization before committing to a project.

                                                                                                     © 2012 Doing Good Together



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