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Tips To Volunteering This Holiday Season

Posted On12/22/2014

ContributorTracy Fischer

There are many opportunities to donate items to people in need this holiday season, but sometimes the options can be overwhelming! We recently offered our support to the Sonoma Valley Holiday Program in providing gifts to nearly 200 local adopted families and we thought we’d pass on some of what we learned from the experience.


Back to basics.

While it’s fun to select specialty items, our team was surprised at how many kids really wished for basic toys, including: Legos, footballs, baseball gloves, baby dolls, Barbies, etc. Also, reconsider donating anything that requires batteries.

Safety first.

It’s wonderful to give gifts such as bikes, scooters, and skateboards, which are sure to delight young recipients. If you do give such a gift, however, consider including a helmet and lock as well to address safety and security concerns.

Age gaps.

Frequently, there are shortages of gift donations for teens (not surprising to anyone who has a teenager). In high-demand are art supplies, cosmetics, hooded sweatshirts, jewelry, toiletry items, and movie tickets.

Warm & cozy.

Many people lack the necessary items to keep them warm in cold weather. Jackets, hats, scarves, socks, boots, blankets, slippers, and robes all make terrific holiday gifts.

Ways to donate.

Oftentimes we believe charities want money more than anything else, but as we found at our local charity, volunteers are often needed more. Instead of just dropping off toys, stick around to help wrap, assign, and shop for additional gifts. If you don’t have money this holiday season, volunteer your time. It could be the most valuable gift you give!


Giving back to your community, whether it be financially or with your time, is always important, but at this time of the year, especially, it’s crucial. Here at Nelson, we serve many communities and all of them are important to us. Our people are volunteering and giving back in meaningful ways, and we encourage you to do the same. Put some of these ideas into play to help your local charities this holiday season. You’ll probably find, as we do, that you’ll get more out of it than you ever expected!