Between enjoying the family fun that Lake Country has to offer and being wrapped up in the chaos that can be the holiday season, it’s easy to forget that this time of year can be really tough for some families out there. When I say “out there,” I mean down the street, around the corner, on the next block, maybe in the backyard. There are many families in Waukesha County and the Lake Country area that are in need this holiday season, especially this 2020 holiday season. Giving back to the community also cultivates gratitude, perspective, and connection. It’s about families helping families and building the village to support strong families in our community. Here are some ideas to get you started if you are looking to give back this holiday season to build a stronger community. Find where to volunteer with your kids and volunteer with your family in Waukesha County below.
Please note that due to the circumstances, many places are looking for contactless drop-offs of supplies or monetary donations.
15 Holiday Volunteer Ideas for 2020-2021
Family Promise of Waukesha County*
Family Promise is a non-profit organization that assists homeless families in Waukesha County by providing overnight shelter, meals, and supportive services to help families achieve permanent housing and independence in partnership with community churches. If interested in volunteering, contact: email@example.com to see volunteer opportunities and items needed for donation. Follow the Family Promise of Waukesha County Facebook page as they often post items needed and share the good work they are doing.
Salvation Army of Waukesha
The Salvation Army of Waukesha provides a variety of programs and services including providing shelter and meals to those in need. Some of the volunteer opportunities include serving meals, ringing bells, and providing office support. If you are interested, check out their website or Facebook page to view the opportunities available and sign up.
See HERE how they are handing out free Thanksgiving meals safely.
Lad Lake provides services to at-risk youth through education and outreach as well as providing residential and independent living services. Volunteer opportunities include being a family advocate, handy person, and assisting at special events. Information about how to get involved can be found here.
Lake Area Free Clinic*
Lake Area Free Clinic provides medical and dental services to low income individuals and families who do not have health insurance. Volunteer opportunities include those who can meet and greet at the clinic, interpreters, screeners, and various medical positions. Click here to view volunteer opportunities and to sign up. *Not currently onboarding new volunteers in 2020.
Christmas Clearing Council of Waukesha County
The Christmas Clearing Council of Waukesha County coordinates giving to families in need during the holidays. Volunteer opportunities include sponsoring a family, donating toys, and working at the toy shop. Further information and sign up is available on their website and Facebook page.
*In 2019, Lake Country Family Fun along with the Ingleside Hotel delivered over 700 books to the Waukesha Christmas Clearing Council.
Chosen is a non-profit adoption and foster care ministry which offers community education and provides necessary items to foster and adoptive families. Volunteer opportunities include sorting inventory, event planning/promoting, and carpentry work. Information about opportunities to give and volunteer can be found here.
In 2018, Lake Country Family Fun donated our costumes from our past Costume Swap event to Chosen so foster children could have access to like new costumes at no cost.
The Women’s Center
The mission of The Women’s Center is to provide safety, shelter, and support to empower all impacted by domestic abuse, sexual violence, child abuse, and trafficking.
Lake Country Family Fun owner, Erin, donated her old cell phones to the Women’s Center in fall 2020. When you donate your old smart phones and cell phones to The Women’s Center, they keep some for clients to use for emergencies, and the rest they send to Shelter Alliance, which pays them for every phone they send in.
Find out all the ways to help out at the holidays HERE, including:
- December Holiday Food Boxes *register by December 10
- Gifts for the Holidays *register by December 10
- Donating Holiday Items
Lake Country Caring*
Lake Country Caring is a 100% volunteer-run 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides new and gently-used clothing, household items, hygiene items, appliances and furniture to people in need, at no cost. Find volunteer opportunities here.
Women and Girls Fund of Waukesha County
The Women and Girls Fund of Waukesha County seeks to aid and enrich the lives of women and girls in our community by providing financial grants that enable opportunities otherwise unavailable to them. Opportunities to donate and volunteer can be found here.
Canadian Pacific Holiday Train Food Drive
Just because the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will not be rolling through this year, doesn’t not mean that our local food pantries are set. In fact, they need food and monetary donations more than ever this year. In 2018 and 2019, Oconomowoc and Hartland had a friendly contest to see which community could give the most donations. Be a change for good in the community!
In 2020, the Village of Hartland is looking for volunteers to be “bell ringers” of sorts to help encourage collection for the food pantry. Together, the community can make up the difference between the amount of food gathered last year and this year! If you are interested in donating your time and smiles to help encourage donations please let Elise Miller of Lake Country Bed Barn know! The open shifts are the week of November 30, Monday through Thursday (starting at 9-4:30), and Friday during Hartland Lights (6-9pm).
HAWS: Humane Animal Welfare Society
There are age requirements at HAWS (13), but HAWS also offers other opportunities, such as their Kids ‘N Critters Day Camp for younger children. Find all the opportunities to get involved with the animals through the link just above.
Gals on the Go
Gals on the Go Project is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization established by Gals Institute. The project’s mission is to improve the social and emotional well-being of children and adolescents through prevention and resiliency building workshops and other programs. The fun and interactive workshops focus on topics such as healthy relationships, resiliency building, effective coping strategies, confidence boosting, calming anxiety, and many others. Gals on the Go Project events will be led by trained licensed clinicians through Gals Institute LLC. “I Am, I Can, I Will” and “Calm, Cool, Capable” are among two of the trademarked workshops.
Funds raised will be used to offer individual scholarships to those who can’t afford mental health support and for schools and organizations who do not have funds in their budgets to provide socio-emotional education. Since inception in 2018, Gals on the Go Project has reached more than 500 boys and girls in Waukesha County through our resiliency based workshops.
La Casa de Esperanza
Established in 1966, La Casa de Esperanza is a community-based organization committed to providing opportunities for those within our community to achieve full social and economic participation in society, with an emphasis on the Hispanic population. La Casa helps more than 20,000 individuals and families annually through a variety of programs and services to create positive change in the community. La Casa continues to transform every individual and family it touches, fostering hope and providing opportunities for a prosperous, engaged and connected community.
Find volunteer opportunities here.
Coats for Kids
Organized by Fox 6 News in Milwaukee, Brookfield Center for the Arts will be taking in donations from now through December 6th. Donate your gently used coats and help ensure no child goes cold through another harsh Wisconsin winter. Their drop off site is conveniently located 2945 N Brookfield Rd., on the Brookfield Center for the Arts front porch.
Bonus, reader recommendation:
Sunbeam Kids: Lending a Little Hand
Sunbeam Kids, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides resources and consistent, turn-key, volunteer opportunities for busy families who want a way for the whole family to get involved in community service.
Lastly, check out our Food Pantry Guide as well to volunteer or donate.
*Those with an asterisk are available to accept AmazonSmile donations. “AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.”
We hope this information has inspired you to give back to our beautiful community this holiday season. We would love to see how your family gives back to Lake Country. Please share your experiences with us and tag us in your photos @lakecountryfamilyfun #lovelcff. Happy Holidays!
Looking for more opportunities? Check out our Foster Care Guide which offers many ways, including but not limited to foster care, to help vulnerable children in our community.