In an initiative called “Light the World,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the LDS Church) is encouraging people around the globe to perform acts of service this holiday season. This article is the fourth in a continuing series highlighting local Colorado organizations that are doing their part to “Light the World.” The Volunteers of America (VOA), a JustServe partner, has been around for 121 years, lightens the holiday season for others, and does so year-round.
With so many years and varied avenues of service, where does one begin with the VOA? Let’s look at their programs specific to the holidays.
Through the Basket of Joy program, volunteers sign up to deliver fruit baskets to the homebound elderly. This annual tradition is one that many seniors anticipate for months in advance. There are also opportunities to assemble baskets, handle registration and help with traffic management. This year’s goal is to deliver 5,280 baskets in the Denver area next Saturday, December 9th.
Such a noteworthy goal is attainable through many volunteers. Delivering Baskets of Joy is an opportunity that especially lends itself to all sizes of groups. Parents who volunteer find that they not only have the satisfaction of serving others, but can help teach their children to do so, too.
As Ms. Bradley Gulley, Director of Volunteer Services, has observed, “It’s good for children to learn to give back and that they can do it at a young age.” She’s seen families who start with young children who, years later, are still helping in their teens, and they look forward to their service.
Another way to help is to serve a family in need by adopting them for Christmas. The Adopt-a-Family program matches willing volunteers with families who need it most. This opportunity gives volunteers the flexibility of doing personalized shopping for a family by age and gender, and the joy of knowing they provided Christmas for a family who would otherwise go without. Over 500 families in the Denver area will benefit from such generosity.
Donors also help provide gifts and the manpower (behind the scenes and at the events) for the thousands of families who will come through the VOA to collect baskets of Christmas dinners and wrapped gifts for their children. Last year alone, the VOA served 3,000 families (of four or more people) through this program.
These are just a sampling of the ways that are still available to help others through the Volunteers of America. Further options for serving include the Santa Shop and Christmas Basket Distribution, which are popular enough that slots fill quickly. Through this link you can find the opportunity that is right for you: https://www.voacolorado.org/holidays .
Once you’ve been inspired to help, feel free to carry that over to the new year. Ms. Gulley reminds us that the VOA provides service year-round. As she illustrates, “So you help provide a meal on Thanksgiving. We need you next Thursday as well. We can use you in February, or March. These are all especially good months to consider volunteering.”
The motto of the Volunteers of America is “Helping America’s most vulnerable.” As Bradley says, she and her peers truly work in their field for that mission. “We get to go to work and make a difference, and who wouldn’t want to do that?”
As you consider ways to emulate the mission of Jesus Christ this holiday season, please consider the Volunteers of America. VOA is a place where you can serve as Jesus served and help those who may need a little more light in their lives. Let’s help “Light the World.”