-- President George H.W. Bush
In This Issue
Give of Yourself This Holiday Season
Looking for a meaningful holiday gift that embraces the concept of giving in every way? Try this: Volunteer in honor of your loved ones. 

Pick a cause they care about from among those you can search for on the Volunteer Center's online organization database--everything from animal welfare to health to arts & culture--to find ways to help. Then simply sign up and serve. Don't have time to fit in your volunteer service before your gift-giving time? You could pledge to volunteer for a particular project, perhaps committing to serve every month for one or more organizations. That way, maybe your gift recipients will be able to join you!

Once you decide on a volunteer activity, you can even print out a Gift of Volunteering certificate offered by the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection as part of its Gift Outside the Box holiday campaign. This program encourages sustainable gift choices to reduce waste, support local businesses, and encourage volunteerism during the holiday season. 
Bethesda Help logo
In Case of Emergency, 
This Nonprofit & Volunteers Are There 
Sometimes, a little help goes a long way. Just ask those served by Bethesda Help, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting families in need in its southern Montgomery County service area. Bethesda Help provides these families with emergency food and financial assistance for prescription medications and to prevent eviction or loss of utility service. 

The entire Bethesda Help organization--from the executive director to the people who pack kids' snack bags--are volunteers, and they're able to make a big impact with only a small time commitment. Training is provided before volunteers begin, and the organization provides ongoing support. 

In particular, Bethesda Help relies heavily on two types of volunteers to carry out day-to-day operations:
  • Officers of the Day volunteer from their homes one day per month. On their assigned day, they check for and respond to client messages during operating hours (9 am-4 pm). To be an OD, all you need is a telephone and a computer with an internet connection and email to perform the basic duties of determining a caller's location and referring their needs to Bethesda Help's food deliverers and financial consultants.
  • Drivers also commit to volunteering one day per month. They receive food delivery assignments from the OD on their designated day, pick up bags of pre-packed groceries from the organization's food pantry in Bethesda, and deliver the groceries to clients. Drivers must have their own car, a valid driver's license, and insurance, and they must be able to use email.

Officers of the Day and drivers can work the same day every month, or they can select a day each month that works best with their schedules. Through this small commitment of time, each Bethesda Help volunteer becomes an integral part of an organization that families can turn to when they are in crisis and are having difficulty making ends meet. 


Bethesda Help volunteers are passionate about fulfilling the organization's mission of delivering emergency food and financial assistance to neighbors in need, regardless of their income or financial means. And, as volunteer Karen Frank notes, "We've been doing it for 50 years! This says so much about the commitment and dedication of all those who volunteer now and have through the years."


Visit the Bethesda Help website to learn more. To inquire about volunteering, email info@bethesdahelp.org or call 301-365-2022.

Help Make the Holidays Bright
Find ways to give back to the community during the winter holiday season on Volunteer Center's online holiday help page, which includes volunteer opportunities as well as requests for donations of food, gifts, and financial contributions. At "press time," needs include assisting at holiday parties, wrapping and delivering gifts, and sponsoring a family or child through gift donations. (There are many, many requests for gift donations.) Additional opportunities are posted regularly. 

Holiday volunteer shifts tend to fill quickly, but don't forget there are lots of ways to serve year-round. Find them on the Volunteer Center website, where you can search for volunteer needs based on location, keyword, interest area, and more.
Close the Year in Volunteer Style
Bid farewell to 2018 as a volunteer for one or more of the many opportunities available in our area. Find some of the hundreds of volunteer positions listed on the Volunteer Center website below. Check our calendar for more date-specific opportunities or use the search box at the top of this email or the top of our home page to search for more ways to serve. 
SSL preapproved
These opportunities meet the guidelines to provide MCPS Student Service Learning (SSL) hours--but  they're not just for students! Other opportunities may be eligible for SSL hours; visit the MCPS SSL website to learn more.

MCPS SSL JINGLE BELL RUN VOLUNTEEERS: Saturday, Dec. 8, 7 am-12 noon, Gaithersburg. Set up/break down the course, register participants, cheer them on, and more for the Arthritis Foundation, Mid Atlantic Region's annual festive 5K race for charity. Minimum age: 16. Email Glory Carr, call 202-787-5333, or sign up online

MCPS SSL CRAFT DAY ASSISTANTS: Sunday, Dec. 9, 12 noon-5 pm, Gaithersburg. Help individuals with developmental disabilities create crafts and gifts for the holidays. Sponsored by Community Support Services Inc. Volunteers will be assigned a specific craft station and should expect to assist about 50 people throughout the afternoon. Email Ashley Chatneuff or call 301-926-2300. 

LEAF RAKERS: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 1-3 pm, Derwood. Rake leaves and possibly help with other landscaping projects at a group home for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities managed by Jubilee Association of MarylandEmail Dominique Clark or call 301-949-8628 x 198.

MCPS SSL SPLASH PARTY VOLUNTEERS: Thursday, Dec. 27, 1:30-4:30 pm, Takoma Park. Assist Let's Play America with a community party at the Piney Branch Elementary School indoor pool. Minimum age: 12. Swimming ability helpful but not required. Email Pat Rumbaugh or call 301-928-9962.

SPANISH-SPEAKING COMPUTER INSTRUCTORS: Teach or co-teach basic computer skills--including use of Windows, Word, internet searches, and email--in Spanish for clients of the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center in Wheaton. Teaching materials, curriculum, and ongoing support provided. Email Josephine Garnem, call 240-777-8406, or apply online.

READERS FOR THE BLIND: Read various local and national newspapers--as well as magazines, TV listings, and more--for the Metropolitan Washington Ear, a radio and dial-in reading service for blind and visually impaired individuals. Volunteers are recorded at the organization's studios in Silver Spring and are asked to commit to two hours of service per week. Minimum age: 18. Email Rene Schecker or call 301-681-6636.

MCPS SSL THRIFT STORE VOLUNTEERS: Assist with sales and customer service at the Montgomery County Thrift Shop in Bethesda. Staff the store on Saturdays (two shifts available) on behalf of EveryMind. Minimum age: 15. Email Rameela Tuladhar or call 301-424-0656.

MCPS SSL HORSE THERAPY ASSISTANTS: Help care for horses and assist individuals served by the Madison House Autism Foundation's therapeutic riding program in Dickerson. Volunteers groom horses, assist participants with getting on and off the horses, serve as a sidewalker or horse leader during lessons, and assist with barn chores. Minimum age to participate in lessons is 14, but volunteers age 9 and up can serve in the barn with parental supervision. Email Steve Robinson or call 240-246-7140.

MCPS SSL HOSPITAL VOLUNTEERS: Greet visitors, answer phones, deliver flowers to patients, and assist with other needs at the main information desk for Medstar Montgomery Medical Center in Olney. Minimum age: 16. Email volunteer services, call 301-774-8629, or apply online
Registration Now Underway!
Make Your Plans to Be Part of MLK Day of Service
On Monday, Jan. 21, join thousands of other Montgomery County residents in celebrating the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by serving our community. The Volunteer Center will hold its annual MLK Day of Service event --featuring a wide variety of family-friendly service projects, plus a volunteer fair--at the Bethesda North Marriott Conference Center, 1-3 pm that day. Participants will have the chance to help with everything from packaging food for the needy to making cuddly scarves for hospice clients.

In addition, there will be multi-project service events in Gaithersburg (9-11 am), Silver Spring (10 am-12 noon), Germantown (1-3 pm), Rockville (details coming soon), and Olney (details coming soon). All sites, including North Bethesda, require advance registration. Find the sign-up links and the latest details about all the day's projects online.
Watch the Ways to Make a Difference
Make a Difference, a monthly County Cable Montgomery program, highlights the contributions of stellar county volunteers and organizations that contribute positively to our community. This month's program features representatives from Junior Achievement discussing its Finance Park program, which relies on volunteers to help teach 7th graders throughout the county about real-world financial literacy.  Watch it online here beginning in early December.
Follow Us on Social Media and Get the Latest!
Learn about new and last-minute service opportunities, volunteer news, and information to inspire on the Montgomery County Volunteer Center Facebook page. If you haven't already done so, Like us to get the latest information in your Facebook feed. 

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