Ways to spread kindness this holiday season

Jordis Kieffer, Staff Writer

   To some people, the holiday season is a time for giving, thanking, and spreading joy and kindness. This holiday season there are many opportunities to do these things around our community.

Volunteering & Donating Opportunities:

  • Monroe County Animal Shelter-

  The Monroe County Animal Shelter (Bloomington Animal Care and Control) cares for animals, giving them shelter, food, and a safe place. This holiday season the shelter is allowing volunteers and donations to help animals through the cold harsh season. If you opt to volunteer this winter, the work consists of being around animals (cats, dogs, rabbits) and doing multiple tasks such as walking dogs, taking photos of the animals, caring for the animals in the shelter, and more. Along with volunteering at the shelter this winter, they are also taking donations like animal toys, blankets/towels, dog food, and much more, included in the link below. 

https://bloomington.in.gov/animal-shelter/donate-supplies 

  • The Shalom Center-

   The Shalom Center is a center open during the day for people facing poverty or homelessness in Bloomington. People who come can take a shower, eat a meal, do their laundry, and get mail. This season you can help out at the center by being a kitchen assistant and helping at the front desk. Along with the volunteering opportunities, the Shalom Center is also taking donations of clothes, blankets, canned food, sleeping bags, and other items included on the list below.

https://www.bloomingtonvolunteernetwork.org/need/detail/?need_id=540952 

  • Middle Way House-

   The Middle Way House is a domestic violence and rape shelter for those in need of help. The shelter offers housing and housing help anytime of the year for those who need it, legal advocacy, support services, and childcare services. All year the Middle Way House is accepting volunteers and donations. 

   To be a volunteer you must be able to put in four hours a week, commit to it for a year, and be up to date on vaccinations. They have many positions you can do to help out, though some vary with age. Some volunteering positions include sorting through donations, planning and helping at events, interacting/helping kids in the youth programs, and multiple other positions.

   Along with volunteering this winter, the Middle Way House is also accepting donations that go to helping survivors and their children who come to the shelter. Some items that they are accepting are toys, clothes, books, food, kitchen materials, and much more (included in the link below).

https://middlewayhouse.org/takeanaction/wish-list/ 

  • Other Places to Volunteer/Donate-

    There are many other places in Bloomington and around Bloomington this winter that are also accepting volunteers and donations. Places such as Habitat for Humanity, the Community Kitchen of Monroe County Inc., and Hoosier Hills Food Bank are also great places to help others out this holiday season and spread joy.

https://www.hhfoodbank.org/

https://monroecountyhabitat.org/ 

https://www.monroecommunitykitchen.com/ 

Events to Participate in to Help Out:

  • Wreaths Across America-

    On Dec. 18, help out with Wreaths Across America. During this day all around America, people put a wreath on  veterans’ headstones at local cemeteries. In Bloomington from 11:30 to 2:30, many can go to Rose Hill Cemetery and help put up the 528 wreaths they have. Doing this event can ensure that no one is forgotten about during the holiday season and makes the cemetery nice and decorative for the holidays.

https://www.bloomingtonvolunteernetwork.org/event/detail/?event_id=76909 

  • Morgan County Blanket Drive- 

    The Morgan County Blanket Drive is an event happening on Dec. 11 from     10 to 2 in Mooresville. Even though the event is not in Monroe County, Morgan County is our neighboring county and can make for a good time to be nice, help out, be kind, and meet new people from the state of Indiana. At this event you can donate blankets that go towards animals and people in need. Also at the event there will be a lot of things for kids to do such as take pictures with Santa, get free hot chocolate, and an ornament decorating contest.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/morgan-county-blanket-drive-santa-free-hot-coco-prize-giveaways-tickets-212644414167?aff=ebdssbdestsearch 

  • Gingerbread House Building Contest-

     The Gingerbread House Building Contest is an event hosted by BHSS Habitat for Humanity Club. The event is $5 to get in. All the proceeds from the event go towards Habitat for Humanity and building a house for families who need one.

Other Things to Do to Spread Joy:

      Besides volunteering, donating, and going to events that better the community you can also do kind things on your own. One thing you can do this holiday season to make someone’s day is writing notes with compliments for people you know. Another way to spread kindness and joy is by buying a gift for someone who may be less fortunate. One other thing you can do is make cat boxes. There are many stray and outdoor cats in Bloomington, and during the winter these cats can get cold. To help make a cat’s winter better you can line a plastic storage container with thick blankets. Also, you can go caroling and spend time at local nursing homes such as Brookdale; especially because during the holidays many people in these nursing homes don’t have many family and friends that come and visit them.