How to help out during the holidays

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By Madison Kitch

Giving Back This Season/ The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village is one of the best places to go for the Christmas spirit. Opportunity Village usually has sponsorship trees from local businesses up in their Magical Forest. “Opportunity Village Christmas Forest” by ShardsOfBlue is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

When the holiday season rolls around, people want to spread joy and give back to their community. This can include anything from picking up trash at the park to getting involved at the local library, but one of the most popular and effective ways to give back during this cheerful time of year is by volunteering. There’s no other activity that ignites the holiday spirit like spending time helping others, so get to it!

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels is one of the most well-known food distribution charities. Volunteers for this organization do exactly you’d think -deliver food to those that can’t get it themselves, specifically elderly or disabled people. This volunteer-based organization is best for older teens since it requires having a license to deliver the food. 

Heaven Can Wait Animal Society

Volunteering at animal shelters is another great option, especially for those that already love animals. Heaven Can Wait is a nonprofit focused on low-cost spaying and neutering. They also focus on saving cats and dogs from kill shelters. Unfortunately, Heaven Can Wait is currently only accepting volunteers over the age of 18. This program would be best for high school seniors and older; however, anyone of any age can donate.

Opportunity Village

Almost all Las Vegas locals have heard of Opportunity Village; visiting the Magical Forest this time of year is a holiday staple. Opportunity Village works to give people with mental disabilities jobs and skills training, but they also accept volunteers. You can fill out an application to volunteer, and they accept volunteers as young as 12 (with adult supervision,) and 16 year olds can volunteer independently. Similar to LVRM, they have a thrift store that is open after school ends (other activities may clash with school start and end times). Opportunity Village is a great organization based in Las Vegas; there’s no reason not to get involved.

“I play in a small ensemble every year at Opportunity Village, and I play the flute,” junior Lily Bybee said. “It has a really friendly environment, and I love the lights and decorations.”

Volunteer at Las Vegas Rescue Mission

Las Vegas Rescue Mission (LVRM) is an organization that helps low-income and homeless people with necessities such as food, shelter and everyday items. They also help those struggling with addiction. You can sign up on their website for activities such as preparing food, sorting items for their local thrift store or even sorting and wrapping Christmas presents for kids. They usually do giveaways to raise money and deliver people essential items, but that is currently on hold because of Covid-19.  LVRM also allows people as young as eight to volunteer; bring the whole family and make it an experience to remember.

Golden Retriever Rescue of Southern Nevada

GRRSN is a local, all-volunteer shelter focused specifically on golden retrievers. They offer so many different ways to help the dogs, such as volunteering and fostering. They are currently accepting volunteers under the age of 18, as long as they come with an adult. Take a trip down to GRRSN, and spend time with some cute dogs today.

“I definitely think when I’m volunteering at the shelter, I’m giving back to the community,” sophomore Olivia Amrhein said. “I feel like I’m making a difference.”

Whether you decide to help the homeless or help some hounds, make sure to give back this holiday season. Things are much harder than usual, and it’s important to remember that not everyone (or every animal) is as fortunate as others. Giving back to the community is the best way to spend this holiday season (provided it’s not in a group of six or more).

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Madison Kitch is a junior and the A&E editor for “The Roar.” This is her third year on staff, and she is excited to continue gaining experience and making new relationships. She enjoys hanging out with friends, but values her time alone more than anything. She also enjoys writing, reading, baking, and filming. Her favorite shows include “Archer,” “Daria,” and “Gilmore Girls.” Her favorite movies are “Donnie Darko” and “The Princess Bride.” She loves listening to the “Practical Magic” soundtrack while singing in the shower. She doesn’t know where she wants to go to college yet, but she knows she’ll love it, no matter what