By Holly Glen Gearhart, Contributing Writer
Whether your preference is helping at your local food bank or giving a hand to afterschool programs, the approaching holiday season reminds us all of the bounty we enjoy as a community.
It takes so little to show another you care, so look over the volunteer opportunities gathered below and see if you can donate a half hour or so. Your efforts are guaranteed to bring a little warmth to someone in the coming winter cold.
The Sky Valley Food Bank could use some additional hands at their warehouse packing food for distribution. They also need relief drivers to deliver food to shut-ins, as well as folks to help in preparation of their annual Thanksgiving turkey giveaway Nov. 26. Contact the Sky Valley Food Bank at (360) 794-7959, visit 233 Sky River Pkwy., or check them out online at www.svfoodbank.org/ or on Facebook at Sky-Valley-Food-Bank.
Volunteers of America in Sultan could always use a few extra hands with their Senior Center activities, as well as at the food bank for deliveries and donations. They are currently seeking volunteer drivers for their delivery van. Call (360) 793-2400 or check out their web page, http://www.voaww.org/Get-Help/Food/Sultan-Food-Bank. Visit the VOA at 701 1st St., in Sultan.
The Monroe Family YMCA has ongoing volunteer opportunities for their health and wellness programs, youth sports activities and family groups. Call (360) 805-1879. The YMCA is located at 14033 Fryelands Blvd. in Monroe.
The East County Senior Center is looking for volunteers to staff morning and afternoon shifts at the center and the thrift store. Bingo activities could also use an extra hand or two for their fast and fun-filled bingo calls! The senior center is always looking for more community involvement from people of any age. Contact Jacob McGee at the center at (360) 794-6359; visit at 276 Sky River Pkwy. in Monroe.
The United Way has begun looking for volunteers to train to help people file their taxes during the upcoming tax season. Volunteers need not be tax experts, just people wanting to help others save money on taxes. The United Way will have free classes to bring the volunteers up to speed so they can help others prepare their individual -simple- tax reports.
According to Neil Parekh, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the United Way of Snohomish County, the deadline for volunteer registration is November 30. Trainings will be held in December and January. Each volunteer will be asked to contribute three to five hours a week from January 21 until April 15. For more information and to volunteer, please visit uwsc.org and click on “volunteer.”
The Boys and Girls Club at 261 Sky River Pkwy. in Monroe is actively looking for volunteers who know how to sew. They have an afterschool program that has really taken off, growing from just a handful of teens, preteens and middle school boys and girls to a full house every Tuesday. Volunteer Michelle Jowett started the class by donating three sewing machines to see if the kids had any interest. It caught on, and Michelle and her daughter now have overflowing classes that necessitated more sewing machines. Now the program needs more hands to help. Call (360) 794-4775 if you have some sewing skills and a free hour or, ahem, sew, on Tuesdays.
The Senior Gift Tree, a program allowing shoppers to select and fulfill seniors’ wishes written on cards and affixed to a tree at Ben Franklin, is not returning this year so there is a need for someone to help grant gifts to seniors who are on low incomes or homebound.
If you have information on someone doing this in our area please call the Monroe Monitor at (360) 794-7116 and let us know who, what, when, where so we can spread the word.