Holiday Volunteering

Howard Students Gear Up for a Season of Giving

With the Christmas season upon us, Howard students are filling their holiday schedules with more then just Christmas shopping. Volunteering at local non-profits or at community organizations in their hometowns, students are sharing their own personal tidings of comfort and joy.

Toys for Tots, an organization helping less fortunate children experience a better holiday, holds a toy collection and distribution campaign each year. For the students on the move Toys for Tots offers an opportunity to contribute without spending hours of volunteering time.

“I always want to do something for the holiday season and Toys for Tots is perfect because I work and don’t really have extra time to volunteer although I would like to,” said Lauren Walker, a senior from Philadelphia. .

Other local non-profits looking for holiday volunteers include Food & Friends and Holiday Project. Food & Friends provides meals to support people living with life threatening illnesses. Holiday Project arranges visits to people in nursing homes and hospitals in the area.

Located in Northeast, Food & Friends begins volunteer services this month and carries through to February. Volunteers are needed in various ways including helping with cooking and making deliveries.

“We do so much during the holiday season. My brothers and I have a full list of volunteering events this year,” said Apuje Kahlu, a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity in Washington, D.C..

Like Kahlu’s fraternity, many greek organizations get involved with volunteering during the holiday season.

For Jessica Detiege, senior public relations major, going home to Louisiana for the holidays means donating her time to a place she’s been volunteering at since she graduated high school.

“I volunteer with a women’s social organization called Les Martinique, and basically what they do is teach social etiquette to young black girls in the community,” Detiege said.

Established in 1953 this organization not only depends on volunteers during the holiday season, but all year round.

“After my senior year in high school I have volunteered all the years since then. Partly because my grandmother and mother are members but most of all I really enjoy it,” Detiege said. This year’s plans include a brunch, which Detiege is organizing.

“I’ve planned a brunch for the girls who were presented last year to just get the chance to discuss their first year in college and how the program has helped them.”

Some students at Howard have done the same type of volunteering the past few years and want to switch it up this year. Courtney Parker, a senior from Ohio, has new ideas for this holiday season.

“Soup kitchens are always good places to volunteer your time, but I want to do something different. So this year I plan to pass out gifts and read stories to children at a shelter for abused women and children here in D.C. I think it will be rewarding to see women and children overjoyed by a complete stranger giving them holiday love,” Parker said.