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More holiday volunteer jobs available this year

11/22/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

DOWNTOWN AKRON — There are a few more holiday volunteering opportunities this year and a new way to sign up to help with area projects, according to officials from the United Way of Summit County’s (UWSC) Volunteer Center.

Andrea Metzler, director of volunteer services, said this year the UWSC started using a new online sign-up program that makes it easier for interested individuals to search for volunteer programs in the Akron area.

“Go to our website, and once you get there, it’s pretty easy,” Metzler said.

She added that the Volunteer Center helps local organizations find willing volunteers all year, but the holiday season sees a big spike in the number of people interested.

“People are really in the spirit this time of year and want to give back,” she said.

The Volunteer Center works with organizations that are and aren’t affiliated with the UWSC, Metzler said. She has been working to bring more organizations that rely on volunteers into the fold.

As a result, she said there are more holiday volunteer opportunities listed for this season.

Among the most common projects needing volunteers are adopt-a-family programs. Usually a family, workplace or organization will take part in these projects because purchasing gifts for a needy family can be split up among the participants.

“Companies love to do the adopt-a-family because it’s a way to get the whole office involved,” Metzler said.

Organizations that are seeking adopt-a-family volunteers usually provide detailed information such as sizes and ages of the family members in need, she added.

Some volunteer jobs just require time and an interest in having fun, Metzler said.

“We have some fun ones like volunteering at Dinner With Santa and also the Polar Express, as well as some gift wrapping,” she said.

Another opportunity available is providing homemade holiday baked goods for local organizations.

“That can be done from home and dropped off there,” Metzler said.

The advantage of the new online system, Metzler said, is that those who are interested can access the site at all times.

“It’s nice because if we’re not in the office, people can still get to the information they need,” she said.

Once an interested party shows an interest in an opportunity, the charitable organization will respond with details, Metzler said.

To check out holiday volunteer opportunities, go to the website www.uwsummit.org and click on the Volunteer tab. Interested volunteers can register on the site or just do a Volunteer Opportunities Search and look under Holiday Projects, Metzler said. The site can also be used all year, Metzler said.

For more information, call 330-643-5512.

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