Holiday Engagement Opportunities for the Entire Family

Volunteering in Alexandria takes many forms and is needed as much now as ever. Please consider giving of your time to help others in need. (Photos: Volunteer Alexandria)

By Marion Brunken

Alexandria, VA – Two years ago, I would have said it’s the time of giving. This year, it feels that many have not stopped giving of their time and resources. But because the pandemic is not over, we need to continue supporting our neighbors in need.

Our website, www.VolunteerAlexandria.org, offers a database of needs, from being a Snow Buddy to an elderly or disabled neighbor, mentoring an adult or child, serving and delivering a meal to seniors or neighbors in quarantine, to assisting with raising funds and implementing events for nonprofits serving our community. We are also planning a Family Volunteer Day on Saturday, November 20. All Holiday Opportunities can be found under the Volunteer tab.

Some good news is that our Annual Toy Drive is back! Since 2013, Volunteer Alexandria’s Annual Toy Drive has provided toys, games, and books to families who register with the Department of Community and Human Services’ Fund for Alexandria’s Children. These families are low-income, receive assistance from the City of Alexandria, and many are recent immigrants. Due to COVID, we are focusing on infants and toddlers three years old and under. Our goal is to provide two toys and two books per child to approximately 150 children.

How can you help? 1. Donate a toy or book: Visit https://bit.ly/toys4Alex to see recommendations and to order. We are asking the community to donate ONLY NEW books and NEW educational toys – UNWRAPPED.

2. Engage friends, colleagues, neighbors to donate and set up a donation box in their workplace or business. Email [email protected] for more details.

3. Donate oversized large gift bags. We need 150 bags to pack toys. Email [email protected] for more details.

4. Donate time to pick up bins of toys, sort and count, pack bags, or distribute items. Spanish and Amharic speakers are needed. Visit www.volunteeralexandria.org/toydrive to register and view dates and times. 5. Donate funds to help us implement this drive at http://bit.ly/GIVEVOLALEX.

Become a Snow Buddy to remove snow/ice and provide sidewalk treatment for eligible Alexandria residents. Volunteer Alexandria matches trained volunteers with low-income seniors and the homebound or disabled. Snow Buddy duty begins with the first snowfall or ice storm and usually ends by April 30. Assignments are generally within walking distance of the volunteer’s home. You can register to become a Snow Buddy at www.volunteeralexandria.org/snow. There will be virtual and in-person orientations for all Snow Buddies to review program and safety requirements and details.

The Snow Buddy Program is critical to the safety of these residents and the community. And it is even more important during COVID with so many people getting home deliveries. It helps ensure safe access for residents who need to leave their homes for medical or other essential appointments and those attending to the residents’ needs, such as home healthcare workers or those delivering groceries or meals, medications, or other necessities.

If you or someone you know would like to request a Snow Buddy, please go to www.volunteeralexandria.org/snow. Residents can apply online or mail the application. Application forms are also available at Alexandria libraries.

For more information or questions about this or other volunteer opportunities, contact Volunteer Alexandria at (703) 836-2176 or email [email protected].

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