Five places to volunteer this winter

Isabelle Neal, Staff Writer

While there are always people in need of help, the holiday season is often considered the time of year to give back. Opportunities to do so are always available, but they can sometimes be hard to find. Here are 5 places you can volunteer this holiday season:

  • The Interfaith Winter Shelter: The shelter, which has been in existence since 2009, is open at a different location every night of the week from November to March. According to the Shelter’s mission statement  the shelter is  “designed to offer a safe and warm place to sleep for men and women who—for whatever reason— have no other alternative but the streets.” The shelter runs entirely off of volunteers who can take shifts at night to help set up the shelter, or shifts in the morning to hand out coffee. You can sign up for shifts and training sessions on their website.
  • Global Gifts: Global Gifts is a fair-trade, non-profit organization with a location here in Bloomington. Each purchase from the store goes towards fighting for fair wages, safe working conditions and gender equality in the workplace. The store runs entirely on volunteers, and has flexible schedules. You can contact the store to volunteer here.
  • Food Rescue and Repack at Hoosier Hills Food Bank: While some of us come to expect warm meals on every cold winter night, this is not a luxury that everyone in our community has. The Hoosier Hills Food Bank provides meals to those in need year round, but in order to do so, they need volunteers to repack food into distributable, family sized portions. To volunteer for repack, contact [email protected] to set up a shift.
  • Youth Program Empowerment Services at Middle Way House: Middle Way House is an emergency shelter for women and children affected by domestic violence. People 16 years and older can volunteer with Youth Program Empowerment Services, and become mentors for children living in the shelter. In order to volunteer here, you must go through a training program, the next program is Dec. 3, no sign up is necessary, but you must complete the volunteer application and background check located on the Middle Way House website.
  • WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology: WonderLab is an interactive science museum located in Bloomington. According to their website “WonderLab welcomes people of all ages and abilities to play, experiment, innovate, discover, create and learn about science.” The museum relies on dedicated volunteers to bring science to the Bloomington community. To volunteer, you must attend a training session, and submit an application on their website.