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Local non-profits see volunteer spikes around the holidays

Many local non-profits need volunteering year round, but as NCC News reporter Marlee Tuskes tells us, there's a certain time of year when they get the most help.

By Marlee Tuskes  SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — For just a couple months out of the year, many non-profits see a shift in how many volunteers come through their door.

Charities that often have a steady group who come in and help weekly are joined by holiday helpers.

For Meals on Wheels in Syracuse, this is no different.

Tina Casella, volunteer coordinator for Meals on Wheels, said she has been with the organization since June, and while there have been several volunteers come and go within her five months at the non-profit, she has recently seen a spike.

“I’ve noticed a definite increase in the last two weeks, people looking for a volunteer opportunity on Thanksgiving specifically,” she said.

According to Casella, often times families want to contribute while on vacation.

She said parents especially say they want to teach their children about doing good deeds during the holiday season.

“I really think people are thinking about giving back and trying to find different ways to do so,” Casella said.

Maggie DeMarco, a student at SUNY ESF, said since she was younger her parents would take she and her siblings to volunteer at soup kitchens right before Thanksgiving and then again before Christmas.

Because of this, DeMarco said she continues to volunteer around the holiday season even when she is away from home.

“It’s still really important [for me to do each year]. There’s so much need out there, especially around the holidays,” she said. “It’s good to spread the love.”

But Casella said although it’s nice to have more help right around the holidays, all non-profits would “appreciate more help” year-round.

For Meals on Wheels, she said volunteers prepare more than 800 meals to deliver to clientele each day.

“We have to deliver the meals, all the time, year-round, so we don’t stop just because it’s not the h0liday season,” Casella said.

For anyone looking to volunteer throughout the year – including during this holiday season – contact your local non-profit organizations for more information.