The holiday season is upon us, and that means many people must decide where to volunteer to help others.
Not sure where to volunteer? There are many nonprofit organizations that provide special holiday events in the central San Joaquin Valley. Among them, the Salvation Army in Selma needs bell ringers in Fowler, Reedley, Sanger and Selma, and The Cat House on the Kings seeks Santa’s helpers. Other organizations want volunteers year-round, such as Shinzen Gardens and Friends of the Gillis Library.
To help, The Bee invites Valley organizations to provide information about the opportunities for people to volunteer — and has come up with a list.
Officials with organizations say their opportunities increase in the holiday season. They also say volunteers can feel a sense of reward in helping others.
St. Benedict Catholic Worker, a ministry that provides a soup line in front of Fresno County Jail, is seeking volunteers to help prepare and serve meals — dinners on Tuesday nights and lunches on some Saturdays.
Liza Apper, co-founder/director of St. Benedict Catholic Worker with husband Bryan Apper, says the mission is do the corporal works of mercy, such as feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, bring to the thirsty, and visit the imprisoned.
“(Volunteers) have direct contact with the people they serve, and there are all sorts of people in our soup line — homeless people, lawyers, friends or relatives visiting the jail, and sheriff’s officers,” she says. “It’s an amazing thing.
“We’re here for everyone — not just the people visiting others in jail, but also the people on the streets. We’re here for the hungry. Come and do.”