The holidays are a time of giving and remembering how thankful we are.  Sometimes we get caught up in our own lives and forget how challenging the holidays are for some people.  Kansas City and Lawrence are full of opportunities for you and some friends to get together and give back to our wonderful community.


Allie Hicks

Harvesters is a food bank serving the Kansas City and Missouri areas. They supply food items to non-for-profit organizations and agencies as well as increase community awareness about hunger and proper nutrition. Harvesters also provides programs for children, families, seniors, and healthy eating. They are always looking to gain the support and help of volunteers in the area. Consider checking them out on your own or make it a group activity!  If you don't have the time, no worries - they are always accepting donations. 

Just Food

beer, coffee, tea
Photo courtesy of Just Food

Located in Douglas County, Just Food is the primary food bank in the area. Among their programs are Just Grow, Just Cook, and Cooking Healthy Futures, all of which promote health, wellness, and cooking to those in Douglas County. They rely in part on donations from the community and local organizations to distribute food to those in need. Just Food is always looking for volunteers to help with shopping and delivery. Check out their website for more information on how to get started - and who knows, it could turn into an incredible job opportunity!

Nursing Homes

Assisted living communities are a great place if you're social and wanting to share the holiday love.  Some of the residents don't have regular visitors, so providing them company is an easy act of kindness during the holidays. If you're feeling up to it, bake a few treats to take in and share. For those of you in Lawrence, Brandon Woods might be a good starting point - they are eager to have volunteers in their program. No matter where you decide to go, be sure to call ahead to make sure they allow volunteers and find time that works. 

Willow Domestic Violence Center

Willow, located in Lawrence, Kansas, supports families and individuals who are survivors of domestic abuse or trafficking.  All services are free of charge and open to all individuals regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression. Willow provides families with a safe environment (including basic needs and resources), children's programs, advocacy support, and employment programs.  Because Willow provides support to individuals free of charge, they look to the community for additional support.  There are a variety of opportunities for you to give back to Willow: donate, volunteer, intern, or check out their wish list. They've even included a holiday section full of gift suggestions for those staying in the shelter. 

Animal Love

Humans aren't the only ones who deserve some love during the holiday season. Shelters are always looking for treats and toys for their furry friends. Wayside Waifs has an Amazon Wish List full of suggestions.  For those in Lawrence, check out the Lawrence Humane Society.  They items listed on their website and in an Amazon Wish List too.  The best gift you can give all these furry friends is love. Shelters are always searching for humans who are ready to play, you might get repaid in cuddles and kisses.

These are only a few of the countless ways you can give back during this time of thanks and giving. Do whatever is right for you this holiday season. After all, there is no right or wrong way to celebrate the season.