The best gift any one person can give another this holiday is the gift of community spirit. By volunteering time, talents, food or clothing, we infuse the true meaning of the holidays into our communities. There is an abundance of opportunities available this December for donating and volunteering in Anacortes, Mount Vernon and around Skagit County. Or, organize a food or clothing drive in your neighborhood, or within your own family. Check with your local shelter, church, school or food bank for their particular needs. During the winter, coats, hats, gloves and socks are always welcomed. Not sure where to go? Here is a list of ways to give back in Skagit County during the holidays.
330 Pacific Place, Mount Vernon
This Skagit Valley organization works with over 160 non-profits in the area to coordinate volunteer opportunities. Their website is set up to match a potential volunteer with their interest for an opportunity. You can match your availability with volunteer opportunities by visiting the Community Action of Skagit Valley website.
Open Door Community Kitchen
Central United Methodist Church, 1013 Polte Road, Sedro-Woolley
On a monthly basis, the Open Door Community Kitchen serves dinner the last full week of every month. All are welcome, no questions asked. As a part of this service, meals are delivered to those who can’t attend in person. During December, meals will be served December 16-20 from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., with coffee service beginning at 4:00 p.m. Volunteers are needed to prepare, serve and deliver meals, and clean up afterward. Your volunteer commitment can range from one to five hours. On Friday, December 20, they will host a Christmas party with a raffle of donated goods along with their regular dinner service. For more information or to volunteer your time, contact Virginia Good-Vlahovich, 360-854-5502.
Skagit Valley Herald Christmas Fund
Skagit County Fairgrounds, 1410 Virginia Street, Mount Vernon
According to Lynne Postler, the Fund’s Director, the Skagit Valley Herald Christmas Fund is a non-profit, charitable organization that has provided toys, books, and a holiday meal to needy children and their families in Skagit County for 69 years. In 2018 the Fund helped 1,741 families with 4,866 children.
This year, their volunteer opportunities are:
Phone Registration. English and Spanish speaking volunteers are needed to answer the phones and register clients for this program. November 11 – December 6. Shifts available are Monday – Friday, from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Gift Bag Packing. Santa needs your help packing gift bags for families with one toy for each child. December 2 – 6, any time from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Gift Distribution. It takes a lot of great volunteers to help distribute gifts to more than 1,700 families. Distribution is on December 11 and 12, working shifts from 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., or 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
To volunteer and sign up for a shift please call Alex at 360-419-7263.
Anacortes Family Center
2702 Commercial Avenue, Anacortes
Anacortes Family Center’s mission is “to serve homeless women, children and families in crisis by providing shelter in addition to comprehensive transformational services to achieve long lasting personal success and self-sufficiency.,” according to their website. This holiday season they welcome donations of holiday meals, warm clothes, family games, gift cards for area businesses andart supplies. They also offer the opportunity to sponsor gifts for children and entire families. Find more information on their website or contact Heather Geer at 360-293-2993, ext. 114.
Salvation Army Red Kettle Bell Ringers
Salvation Army, 2001 R Avenue #100, Anacortes
Salvation Army Bell Ringers are located outside businesses around the county. Bell ringers raise money for the Salvation Army which helps improve the lives of people in need. Bell Ringers are active from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. If you are an organization that would like to volunteer, the Salvation Army asks that you disperse the entire eight-hour shift amongst the members of your organization. If you are an individual, they would ask that you commit to a two-hour shift. Contact Sierra Mayberry at 360-293-6682 for bell ringing opportunities.
Skagit Valley Neighbors in Need Food Bank
1615 South 2nd Street, Mount Vernon
Since 1972, the Skagit Valley Neighbors in Need Food Bank has been serving those in need. They are the second largest food bank in the region, serving, on the average, 8,000 people per month.
They are open Tuesday, 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. for food distribution, and welcome donations and volunteer interest Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 9:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m. and Tuesday 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Contact Edith Guadarrama at 360-610-7551 to schedule a time or learn more at their website.