Numerous volunteer opportunities available to Carson Valley residents | RecordCourier.com

Numerous volunteer opportunities available to Carson Valley residents

by Rachel Spacek
rspacek@recordcourier.com

As the holiday season rapidly approaches many families are gearing up for the holidays by buying food, gifts and decorations, however for many other families the holiday season presents a struggle to put food on the table and gifts under the tree. This holiday season, Carson Valley residents are offered numerous opportunities to volunteer and donate to local organizations that help support families in need.

This month presents a plethora of volunteer opportunities with the Carson City Salvation Army, that serves both Carson City and Douglas County. This Friday, Nov. 17, the Salvation Army will hold their Feed Nevada Red Kettle Kick-Off and needs volunteers from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to accept food donations, ring bells at the kettles, run the silent auction and several other tasks. Tuesday, Nov. 21 is the non-profit's Thanksgiving distribution day and volunteers are needed from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. to help distribute turkeys and boxes of food to registered families.

The Salvation Army has another set of needs starting next month for bell ringers, volunteers to register families for Christmas needs and help at their warehouse to sort toys, help clients shop and clean among other tasks.

Along with day to day volunteer needs, Carson Valley residents can also help with ongoing programs like Adopt-A- Family and Angel Tree. Adopt- A- Family is a program in which a volunteer or group of volunteers becomes a "sponsor" of a family. The volunteer or group is given a summary of the family and a list of items they need such as food, toys and clothing. Families are matched with volunteers based on their capacity to give. Angel Tree is a program where a child-in-need's name is placed on designated trees throughout the community, volunteers can pick out a name and purchase a gift for the child.

"Our volunteers are the army behind the army," said Mark Cyr, Captain at the Carson City Salvation Army. "We have to serve around 3,000 people and we can't do that without volunteers."

While there are numerous ways to give like donating financially, giving gift cards, food or gifts, Cyr said the non-profit particularly needs people to donate their time.

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"The most valuable gift is time, we need people to pick up gifts and food," Cyr said. "Volunteering not only changes the lives of people in need, but also the lives of those who chose to help."

Another non-profit serving Douglas County is requesting volunteers this holiday season, the Ron Wood Family Resource Center in Carson City needs volunteers for their food banks, serving Carson City and Douglas County, and for Toys for Tots.

Toys for Tots program coordinator, Joyce Buckingham said they always need volunteers at the food banks and need donations and other help with Toys for Tots. The Toys for Tots program serves Carson City, Douglas County, Storey County and Lyon County. Those in need can bring their identification and proof of residency to the Carson City office on Northgate Lane.

Families can request services from Toys for Tots and can set up a time and give their information by calling the hot line at (775) 600-3861 for English speakers and at (775) 600-3428 for Spanish speakers. When families call the hot line, operators will ask for information about the child in order to give them the best gift possible and will set up a convenient time and place for the family to pick up the toy.

Buckingham said she needs volunteers to pack toys and food in the evenings. She also needs clerical help and encouraged people to call her at (775) 884-2269 to figure out what volunteer position would best fit the volunteer's interest and abilities and the organization's needs.

"Giving from the heart is the most important gift to give, especially during the holidays," said Buckingham.

Buckingham is holding a volunteer orientation next week and encourage those wishing to volunteer to call her to get signed up for the orientation.

Buckingham said families who find themselves without important resources this season can call them (775) 884-2269 for any assistance.

Carson Valley Community Food Closet is also looking for donations and volunteers. They serve food to over 400 residents each month. People can donate online or by mail and can volunteer by filling out an application all online at http://www.carsonvalleycommunityfoodcloset.org/help-out.html.