With Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season around the corner, this time of year is prime for volunteering opportunities. November and December remind us to be grateful for all the blessings we have, whether it be friends, family, health, and so on. Many of us wonder How can I give back to the community? One of the most valuable gifts you can give to someone is your time. That being said, there are several places you can volunteer your time and kindness to those in need: animal shelters, hospitals, libraries, soup kitchens and much more! Many programs are in need of long-term volunteers rather than just a one time deal. Here’s a list of weekly volunteering opportunities in the Northwest Suburbs…

Raising a Reader (Palatine)

Help Children’s Home + Aid fill book bags to promote childhood literacy!  In low-income areas, there’s only one book title available for every 300 children, compared to 13 book titles for every child in middle-class communities. Raising a Reader gives children & parents the resources they need to improve their reading skills, such as bags filled with books, helpful educational materials and parents are given training to encourage reading activities at home. Volunteers are needed to restock book bags and check in/send out books.

Advocate Hospice Care (Barrington & Lake Zurich)

Advocate’s Companionship Volunteers visit hospice patients to spend quality time with them through activities such as reading together, writing letters, or listening to music. This rewarding experience calls upon people who are kind, patient, and demonstrate good social skills. Volunteers are required to attend training, must be at least 18 years old, and commit to volunteering 2 hours/week for one year.

Volunteering Opportunities Northwest Suburbs - Frank G. Karkazis

Blessings in a Backpack (Evanston)

Many people are unaware that Cook County has the fourth highest rate of childhood hunger in the nation. While federally programs provide students with meals during the week, these children go home for the weekend with nothing in the fridge. Blessings in a Backpack‘s goal is to feed the hungry children of America, one school at a time. Volunteers are needed for 2-3 hours/week at Oakton Elementary School to pack meals for the students to take home every week during the school year.

Heartland Animal Shelter (Northbrook)

Are you an animal lover? Give your love to an animal waiting for their forever home! Heartland is a non-profit, no-kill animal shelter looking for volunteers to help with their cats and dogs. Responsibilities include feeding, cleaning and playing with the animals. Volunteers are required to be at least 16 years old, attend training and commit to a 6 month period.