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One of the greatest gifts mom and dad can bestow upon their children during the season of giving is the opportunity to play the role of giver. Atlanta is filled with amazing non-profit organizations that rely on volunteers and donations. As the holidays approach, parents can sit down with their family to discuss ways they might help the community, participate in a worthy cause or give another family something to be thankful for. Not only is volunteering one’s time and talents a wonderful thing to do, it’s a terrific excuse to share a very special experience as a family.

Senior Connections
5238 Peachtree Road
Atlanta, GA 30341
(770) 455-7602

Senior Connections is a locally based non-profit organization that provides prepared meals, housecleaning, home repairs and visits to thousands of metro Atlanta seniors each year. Families can volunteer to help prepare and deliver meals to seniors through a day of service or on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. This year, special deliveries will be made on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult and children must be 12 or older in order to help pack meals. Children of all ages are welcome to accompany their parents for deliveries to seniors.

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Global Soap Project
6901 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Suite D
Norcross, GA 30092
(678) 235-8095

Global Soap Project (GSP) is dedicated to giving back on a worldwide scale. In its simplest form, GSP collects partially used soap from hundreds of hotels across the nation, processes and recycles them into new bars of soap and then packages and distributes the soap all over the world to orphans, refugees and victims of natural disasters and extreme poverty. Families can volunteer to take part in a warehouse shift at Global Soap Project together. The minimum age to help with warehouse work is 12 and work involves tasks such as sorting soap by brand, inspecting and cleaning partially used soap, packing soap for shipping and more.

Clean & Green Makeover Team
Piedmont Park Conservancy

1071 Piedmont Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 875-7275

For eco-conscious families who love the Great Outdoors, Piedmont Park offers the ideal family-focused volunteer opportunity – the Clean & Green Makeover Team. Participants can be as young as eight and activities range from mulching and laying pine straw to seasonal planting and litter patrol. Teams meet every Tuesday through Friday and nearly every third Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Once the shift has ended, families can enjoy the fruits of their labor throughout the historic park, which spans nearly 215 acres in the heart of Midtown Atlanta.

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Atlanta Community Food Bank
732 Joseph E. Lowery Blvd., N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 892-9822

The Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) distributes 37 million pounds of food each year through more than 600 partner agencies all over Atlanta and north Georgia, but they can’t do it alone. In order to feed scores of hungry men, women and children day in and day out, ACFB relies on the support of an estimated 15,000 volunteers annually. Families can offer their support in a number of ways. Choose to host a food drive by collecting much-needed items from friends, family, neighbors, etc. Families with children eight years or older can volunteer at the Product Rescue Center to inspect, sort and pack items donated through food drives, grocery stores and manufacturers. Weekend volunteer opportunities are often booked six months in advance, but plenty of weekday opportunities still exist. Another option is for families with children eight years or older who can volunteer to help at one of 175 community gardens all over Atlanta by gardening, beautifying and harvesting.

Buckhead Christian Ministry
2847 Piedmont Road, N.E.            
Atlanta, GA 30305                       
(404) 239-0058

Buckhead Christian Ministry (BCM) provides a number of excellent ways for families to give back to those in need throughout the holiday season. You can either host a toy drive to stock the shelves at the ministry’s annual Joyous Toys Store – where needy parents are given vouchers to “shop” for toys for their children. Another option is to “Adopt-a-Family” and fulfill the wishes on their holiday list. Furthermore, you can volunteer to set up/break down the Joyous Toys Store at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in December. Lastly, offer to collect donations of non-perishable food and hygiene items from friends, family and neighbors to fill the BCM Pantry.

Kasie Bolling is a freelance writer covering all things Atlanta. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.