September 24, 2020
It’s the start of a new season, with temperatures dropping, leaf colors changing and above all, COVID-19 still existing. Pumpkin spice lattes have come out, the latest fall fashion trends have started and it’s the time of year where having a hot bowl of soup after a long, chilly day is just about the only thing to warm you back up.
But not every family gets to come home from a cold day to a warm bowl of soup and not every child is able to wait at the bus stop in a brand new fluffy jacket. Some don’t even have a house to find shelter in or are able to attend school.
For some, it’s a season of festivities and holiday joy, for others it’s a season of uncertainty and stress. For those of us who don’t have to worry about being cold while we sleep or walking to school, there are ways we can help those who do. Just because you get to sleep in a bed with warm blankets, and are able to wear a winter jacket, doesn’t always mean others get to as well. I’m going to be sharing a couple of different organizations and ways to volunteer your time, because helping others in need is a great way to help rebuild our community, and give those less fortunate than us a more joyful season.
Iowa is the second-best state in the country for fighting hunger, all because of the Food Bank of Iowa. To continue keeping hunger rates low, the food bank needs help packaging the meals they receive from donations, checking expiration dates on packages and more. Volunteering your time isn’t the only way to help, the food bank needs the actual food donations to feed the hungry and with the COVID-19 pandemic still going on, they are running low and are in desperate need of donations. Food donations aren’t the only thing they take though, they’ll also take fund donations to go out and buy the food themselves. This is a great option because then the food bank can buy what they are especially low on. The struggle to find food during the cold months and during a pandemic are escalating, our help is needed.
“Volunteering to help sort through the meals at the Food Bank of Iowa was actually really fun, and honestly make me feel good inside, knowing that I did something to help those in need,” said senior Drew Brown.
Shelter and warm blankets are something I know, and I definitely have taken advantage of it before in the past. Because of my privilege, I’ve never had to worry about where I was going to sleep because I always had a house with a warm bed to come home to. Not everyone does, and no one wants to sleep out in the streets during a chilly rain or snowstorm. The Central Iowa Shelter and Services is located in Des Moines to help those who need shelter during those times. In order to keep this organization going and growing, donating any amount of money and food to them is a great option. But not only do they need the funds to keep going, but they also need volunteers to help serve lunch to those staying there. You can also sign up to help with bigger projects on their website.
There are also ways to get our school community involved as well. Setting up fundraisers during the school week for your organization or cause of choice is a great way to get your community around you involved without that much time or effort. For example, last year my friends and I organized a book drive for Blank Children Hospital because we knew they were in need of new ones.
“It was super fun to organize the book drive,” said senior Michelle Mitchell. “In the end, it paid off and we collected over 700 books.”
It doesn’t take much to get your ideas approved, just go to the principal and ask. Doing a canned food drive or clothing drive at Waukee High School would be an amazing way to help those in need get essential cold-weather supplies this year.
These are just a few ideas of what you can be doing to help others in need, you can find more information on ways to help and volunteer on the internet. Help those who need help this season, and make someone’s day a little brighter.