Give of Yourself This Season
Looking for a meaningful, one-of-a-kind gift that fits every budget? Volunteering in honor of your friends and family is a gift that embraces the idea of giving in every way. 

To get started, pick an activity important to your loved one from the Volunteer Center website. (Filter by a favorite "Cause" within our organization database or use the "Interest" filter while looking for specific activities within our volunteer opportunity database.) Then, sign up and serve. If you 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!

To make your gift of volunteering more official, you can 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.
Small Things Matter photo
Small Things Matter
Kid-Powered Kindness Helps Those in Need
Small acts of kindness can make a difference in someone’s life. That's the philosophy behind Small Things Matter, a student-run nonprofit dedicated to helping children grow and develop into happy and productive human beings. 

Since its founding in 2017, Small Things Matter has grown the ways in which it carries out this mission. The organization still hosts long-standing projects like community crafting events where children make things for hospitalized kids and others in need, building their sense of compassion and belief in the power of small acts of kindness. And it continues to focus on literacy activities, engaging volunteers to read to younger students and present them with new books in an aim to encourage them to become life-long readers. More recently, Small Things Matter has taken on food distribution work, providing fresh produce, grocery, and nonperishable items to 250 food insecure families in Montgomery County on a monthly basis through its Kokua Foods Program.

All of these programs need volunteers of various ages and a wide range of talents, particularly to fill these positions:
  • Kokua Foods Program adult drivers, to help pick up donated food on Friday mornings from Severn, Md., and deliver it to either Takoma Park or Rockville. Drivers with SUVs and vans are especially needed.
  • Kokua Foods Program distribution assistants, to help set up, clean up, and assist clients at food distributions held 11:30 am-2:30 pm on the third Sunday of the month at an elementary school in Takoma Park. (SSL hours are available for middle and high school students.)
  • Collection drive leaders, to organize collections of specific items for Small Things Matter programs, including new books, hotel/travel-sized toiletries, new crafting supplies, and canned and other nonperishable foods. (Middle and high school students who arrange collection drives that meet MCPS service-learning guidelines can receive SSL hours.)

To learn more about Small Things Matter, its volunteer opportunities, and how to join this team united in the goal of making a big impact through small acts of kindness, visit www.smallthingsmatter.org, email Lana Anderson, or call 202-669-8550.
Never Too Busy to Volunteer?
December is often jam-packed with activities, but many of the volunteers we know always seem to have time for one more thing. If that describes you, here are just a few of the hundreds of volunteer positions you'll find on the Volunteer Center website. Learn about ways to serve this season through our compilation of holiday needs. And check our online volunteer 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.
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.
CRAFTING ASSISTANTS: Sunday, Dec. 8, 11:30 am-5 pm, Gaithersburg. Help individuals with developmental disabilities create crafts and gifts for the holidays. Sponsored by Community Support Services. Volunteers will be assigned a specific station and should expect to help about 75 individuals throughout the day. Minimum age: 16, or younger if accompanied by a parent. Email Ashley Chatneuff or call 301-926-2300.
MARTIAL ARTS TOURNAMENT STAFF: Sunday, Dec. 8, 9 am-5 pm, Wheaton. Help with participant check-in, timekeeping, scorekeeping, setup, and cleanup at the King of the Hill Martial Arts Open, sponsored by DMV Sport Karate League. No experience necessary and light lunch provided. Email Jae Chang or call 301-299-7500.
JINGLE BELL RUN VOLUNTEERS: Saturday, Dec. 14, 6 am-12 noon, Gaithersburg. Help with course setup, event break-down, registration, cheering, and more for the Arthritis Foundation, Mid-Atlantic Region's 5K fundraising race. Minimum age: 14. Email Pim Saeung or call 301-357-8672.
WINTER FESTIVAL ASSISTANTS: Saturday, Dec. 14, 2-8 pm, Glen Echo. Set up, clean up, and/or staff arts and craft stations at the Winter's Eve celebration sponsored by Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture. Minimum age: 13. Email Rebecca Sherman or call 301-634-2222.
PARK TRAIL WORKERS: Sunday, Dec. 15, 9 am-1 pm, Silver Spring. Help build and improve a new trail in Northwest Branch Stream Valley Park, part of Montgomery Parks. All tools and gloves provided. Minimum age: 15, or 13 if accompanied by an adult volunteer. Sign up online, email Lynn Vismara, or call 301-495-2504.
THEATER USHERS: Assist Unexpected Stage Company with preparing its Bethesda theater space for patrons, distributing tickets, directing guests, selling concessions, and more. Volunteers can watch productions free of charge. Minimum age: 14. Email Rachel Stroud-Goodrich or call 301-337-8290.
TAX PREP SERVICES VOLUNTEERS: Schedule appointments, greet clients, or prepare taxes for low-to-moderate income residents (especially those age 60+) through the RSVP/AARP Tax-Aide Program. Training and materials provided. Email the Tax-Aide volunteer coordinator or call 240-777-2610.
YOUTH MENTORS: Work with young scholar-athletes in various games and activities designed to help them grow into determined students, supportive teammates, and catalysts for positive change in the community. Sponsored by Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. Volunteer mentors serve in DC one hour per week (6:30-7:30 pm) on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday during the school year. Training provided each week. Minimum age: 21. Email Rose Broberg or call 202-827-8960 x6020.
SENIOR SOCIAL CLUB VOLUNTEERS: Present games and activities for members of the Jewish Council for the Aging's Kensington Club, made up of 10 seniors in the early stages of memory loss. Volunteers needed on Mondays, 10 am- 2 pm, in Rockville. Volunteers dine family style with the group. Training provided. Minimum age: 15. Email Dana Hirsch or call 301-255-4205.
BASIC COMPUTER SKILL INSTRUCTORS: Teach or co-teach computer fundamentals--including introduction to Microsoft Windows, Word, internet, and email--for classes sponsored by the Charles W. Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center. Classes are held weekly in White Oak, Wheaton, Briggs Chaney, and Gaithersburg, and are taught in English or Spanish. Training provided. Minimum age: 18. Email Kaori Hirakawa or call 240-777-4940.
Help Fill Holiday Needs
You can help make the winter holidays brighter for those in need by donating food, gift cards, toys, and other items to one of the agencies participating in Montgomery County's Holiday Giving Project, which is collecting holiday meals and gifts for more than 10,000 local families. To find these needs--and many more ways to help during this season--visit the Volunteer Center's online list of holiday donation and volunteer opportunities.

As you think about volunteering for the holidays, please remember that organizations that serve the needy seek assistance all year--and especially after the holidays. Find these volunteer opportunities on our website and fine-tune your search by using the filter tool to locate those devoted to a particular interest, distance from a zip code, and/or filter criteria you choose.
Registration Now Open!
Sign Up to Be Part of MLK Day of Service
On Monday, Jan. 20, join thousands of other area residents to celebrate the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through service to our community. The Volunteer Center will hold its annual MLK Day of Service event--featuring a wide variety of volunteer projects suitable for all ages, plus a volunteer fair for learning about local organizations' missions and volunteer needs--at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 1-3 pm that day. Participants will have the chance to help with everything from packaging food for the needy to crafting blankets for hospice patients to making cards for seniors.

There will be additional multi-project service events at our partner sites in Gaithersburg (9-11 am), Silver Spring (10 am-12 noon), Rockville (10 am-12 noon), Olney (11 am-2 pm), and Germantown (1-3 pm). All sites, including the main site in North Bethesda, require advance registration. Follow the location links to sign up or visit our MLK Day page in the coming days to find registration details for sites not yet available.
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 work to better our community. This month's episode highlights Catholic Charities, which provides food and other assistance to families in need and offers English literacy education for speakers of other languages.
Subscribe to Our Partner Newsletters
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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