If you're planning on volunteering this holiday season, you're not the only one. Places like the Salvation Army and the Mission of Kern County say volunteer numbers spike at this time of the year and if you're looking for ways to help, you may be surprised by what you find.
Instead of a Thanksgiving meal, the Salvation Army is handing out 100 food boxes today to families in need but, when it comes to finding volunteers, there's definitely not a shortage of help during the holiday season.
"We are getting phone calls, phone calls, phone calls of people wanting to volunteer," said Carole Abella with the Salvation Army. The only problem is there's not enough thanksgiving work to go around. "We have had our volunteers in place to pack the food boxes for weeks actually," said Abella.
It's the same story at the Mission of Kern County. last minute volunteers are looking to hand out meals. "I know for a fact we'll be getting a lot more come Tuesday and Wednesday of this coming week," said Executive Director Carlos Baldovinos. When it comes to thanksgiving, officials say its like any other day. "That's routine for us. We're serving 200,000 meals a year that it becomes really easy to put on something like this," said Baldovinos.
So does that mean the extra holiday spirit is going to waste? Not quite says officials with the Volunteer Center of Kern County. "Find out if there's other ways they can help that organization if its not volunteering right now," said Executive Director Brenda Ratliff.
There's other work that needs to be done. "Can you help us park cars? Can you help us with counting people? Can you help us not just with dishing out food, but clean up after the meal," said Baldovinos.
Or plan ahead for Christmas. "We would love to have volunteers start thinking about Christmas now so they won't have that answer from us, we're sorry we're full for this event," said Abella.
You can even take a look in your own neighborhood. "Maybe they have a neighbor that's older that's alone and doesn't have someone to spend the holidays with, they might invite them in for dinner," said Ratliff.
If you're looking for more ways to help, the Volunteer Center of Kern County has a list of opportunities available. You can give them a call at 661-395-9787.