Volunteers Urgently Needed to Food Assistance Providers Serve Hungry Families
While the need for food assistance continues to rise, the number of volunteers signing up to help has significantly declined. Food assistance providers urgently need volunteers for Food Packaging, Food Distribution, and Contactless Driving as well as Donations, to feed hungry residents and distribute essential supplies across the County. Please consider volunteering at one of the County's eight Service Consolidation Hubs or another local food provider. Invite friends, family, or a club to join you~ Visit our Food Security Page for a list of these organizations with links to their opportunities and sign-up information. Questions? Email volunteer@montgomerycountymd.gov.
Holiday Giving Opportunities
With Thanksgiving and the winter holidays quickly approaching, a network of agencies is now collecting holiday meals and gifts for more than 10,000 area families in need through the Montgomery County Holiday Giving Project. You can help with these efforts and make a family's holiday brighter by donating food, gift cards, goods, and funds to one of the project's partner organizations.

To find their requests--and many more ways to help during this season--visit the Volunteer Center's online list of holiday-related opportunities. While opportunities to serve meals at shelters on Thanksgiving day are, thankfully, filled quickly (typically by organizations' regular volunteers), the list features a variety of ways to assist with holiday needs. Please check back regularly as additional opportunities are added throughout November and December.
Here are some of the current opportunities found using the "HOLIDAY NEEDS" filter on our website:

HELP NEEDED FOR THE 2021 THANKSGIVING PARADE: Volunteers are needed to act as unit leaders, leading the balloons and dressing up in costume to be on the floats. Assistance is also needed for set-up and breakdown. The parade is Saturday, November 20 in downtown Silver Spring from 7:30-1:30. For COVID-related details and to register, see the signup sheet link.

DONATE TO A HOLIDAY MEAL PROGRAM FOR HUNGRY KIDS: Women Who Care Ministries, Inc. provides nutritious non-perishable weekend meals to more than 2,500 hungry kids each Friday directly through their schools. For their food donation list, donation information, and more, visit this page. Questions? Contact wwcmvolunteers@yahoo.com or call 301-828-6850 and ask for Zoie.

MAKE THANKSGIVING BAGS FOR THE NEEDY: This project for families will help provide holiday essentials for families from Abram Simon Elementary School, N Street Village, National Capital Area YWCA, Friendship Place, and Carrie Simon House. For registration and SSL information, visit their opportunity page.  
Opportunities marked with the graduation cap icon meet the MCPS guidelines for 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.
KindWorks, according to Executive Director Debra Lang, was created to make volunteering a part of everyday life. Its mission is to meet pressing community needs and to build community by mobilizing individuals in volunteer service. "We know that all people would want to help if they understand how, if they get to know the needs that exist, and are given a clear path forward -- big or small -- to make a difference in the lives around them," Lang says.

KindWorks is currently focusing its volunteer efforts on food insecurity and equity issues. Their Digital Empowerment Initiative helps collect and refurbish computers for reuse by families who can't afford them. Teams and groups can also get involved with KindWorks, from sponsoring a home set-up for newly resettling immigrant families to providing meals for women living in a shelter.

Some of the current opportunities available through KindWorks on the Montgomery County Volunteer Center website include:
  • making KindCasseroles or KindBananaBreads for seniors
  • delivering meals
  • packing food boxes for a home-bound family
  • or donating used computers for students and families in need.

One of KindWork's strengths is its volunteer management. "We make it easy to get involved," says Lang. "You will get any information you need before you show up and you will leave feeling great about what you did with your time. You may even find a community that you hadn't known you were missing."
Save the Date for MLK Week 2022
Every year for more than two decades, local residents have come together to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by serving our community on MLK Day, the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service. In January of 2022, due to the continued precautions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Montgomery County Volunteer Center will once again offer a week-long service event around the holiday from January 15-22 with a combination of virtual, at-home, and socially distanced volunteer activities suitable for all ages. Keep checking this newsletter and the MCVC website's Day of Service page for updates.
Tax-Aide Program Seeks Tax Season Support
Want to provide an important service to our community during tax season? Consider volunteering to prepare taxes, schedule appointments, or greet clients through the AmeriCorps Senior RSVP/AARP Tax-Aide Program which offers tax preparation for low-to-moderate-income taxpayers (with special attention to those age 60+). Each year, this program helps local residents receive millions of dollars in tax refunds, and planning for next year is now underway. Extensive free training is provided. This is a collegial group of dedicated volunteers who find great joy (yes joy!) helping others with their tax returns.

"We are very much hoping to be able to offer our tax clients traditional services in person this year," says District Coordinator Ginnie Kiesewetter. "Our ability to provide those services depends on the pandemic and what AARP and AARP Foundation risk assessment teams decide. This is the model we know and love -- seeing our clients and working in our site teams in person, enjoying the knowledge and camaraderie of our fellow volunteers. We will do whatever we can to provide services in person."

Get more details about joining the Tax-Aide Program team by visiting the Tax-Aide volunteer website, or email montgomerycountytaxaide@gmail.com or call 240-777-2612.
MCPS's New SSL Hub For Students & Families
SSL icon
MCPS has recently released a new SSL Hub for Students and Families -- a one-stop-shop for accessing SSL forms, opportunities, guidelines, and more! We encourage anyone interested in learning more about the SSL program and its resources to check out the new MCPS SSL Hub. Student Service Learning is a requirement for high school graduation in Montgomery County. In the process of gaining those SSL hours, students can learn about the number of ways they can be of service to the community.

The school system has extended its temporarily established virtual SSL guidelines. This means students may continue to earn SSL hours for select virtual/remote service completed from home under the remote supervision of an approved nonprofit organization (or school sponsor) throughout this summer and until the end of the 2021-2022 school year. In addition, students may continue to engage in traditional MCPS SSL opportunities offered in a public space under the direct supervision of a nonprofit representative, at the discretion of the student’s parent/guardian.
Due to extenuating circumstances related to the pandemic, any unsubmitted SSL forms for service completed after June 1, 2019, will be accepted by schools’ SSL coordinators when students return to school in the fall. Please note that after the 2021-2022 school year, SSL forms will no longer be accepted from previous school years. A complete list of SSL coordinators may be found on the MCPS SSL webpage at www.mcps-ssl.org.
Any questions about the SSL program may be directed to the SSL dropbox at SSL@mcpsmd.org.

There are many SSL opportunities in our database and in this newsletter. These opportunities are identifiable with the blue graduation cap icon. Here are just a few of the possibilities available for this month:

URGENT NEED TO PACK NON-PERISHABLE GROCERIES: Hughes United Methodist Church serves as one of eight Consolidated Services Hubs in the county delivering food assistance and other vital services to residents impacted by the pandemic. Learn more here.

5K VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Girls on the Run needs volunteers ages 14 and older to help with a number of activities for their next 5K being held at Westfield Montgomery Mall on Sunday, November 21. To volunteer, learn more here and sign up using the link to their sign-up sheet.

SEEKING CREATIVE SUBMISSIONS: MCPS Show Us Your Hope is looking for students and/or schools to submit videos, presentations, artwork, stories, poetry, songs, from their culture, heritage, family, and background. This is an alliance of The Hispanic Alliance for Education, League of Educators for Asian American Progress, and Montgomery County Alliance of Black School Educators. Please carefully respond to the instructions here.

VIRTUAL TUTORS NEEDED: ABLE (Advancing Black Lives in Education, Inc.) is seeking high school students to serve as tutors in math, reading, and writing for students in MCPS in kindergarten, grades 1-5, 6-8, and high school. Learn more here about guidelines for student service through live virtual platforms and find a link to their volunteer form.
50+ Volunteer Network logo
Are you over age 50 and looking for ways to contribute significant time and talent to serve our community?

Our advisors can help you find your best volunteer fit! Watch this video to learn more about the program.

Watch How We Make A Difference
Make a Difference, a monthly County Cable Montgomery program highlights the contributions of stellar county volunteers and organizations that work to better our community. On the November show, Heather Bruskin of the Montgomery County Food Council was interviewed and discussed County food security issues and how you can get engaged.
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The Montgomery County Volunteer Center is part of the Office of Community Partnerships, which works to strengthen the relationship between the Montgomery County government and the residents it serves, with special emphasis on underserved and emerging communities. Subscribe to the monthly OCP newsletter to keep up with these activities.

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