The holidays are the ideal time to volunteer in Des Moines. A great deal of effort goes into making sure that everyone -- regardless of ability and resources -- has a memorable holiday. Below we highlight several opportunities available within the city that you can take part in.
1. Amanda the Panda Holiday Cheer Boxes
Amanda the Panda is a non-profit organization that provides grief support all year long. The holiday season can be especially difficult for those who have lost loved ones. Every year, Amanda the Panda volunteers help put together Cheer Boxes for families who are going through the pain of a loved one's loss. There are a number of ways you can help including providing the gifts that go inside the Cheer Boxes as well as wrapping and delivering the gifts. You can volunteer by yourself or with a group of friends. The Cheer Box project starts in mid-November and runs through early December. You can also nominate a family that you think could benefit from a Cheer Box.
2. Bidwell Riverside Center
The Bidwell Riverside Center is a private non-profit with a long history of serving the community. The "Bidwell" portion began in 1898 while the "Riverside" portion was established during the early 1900s. The two organizations came together in 1954 and provided 40 boxes of food to families. By 2012, that number had jumped to 867 and it continues to increase. Bidwell Riverside Center needs help with holiday projects, food baskets, toy drives and more.
The Boys & Girls Club of Central Iowa always has volunteer opportunities. During the holiday season, though, their need ramps up as they seek to staff a number of seasonal projects. In addition to donating toys, canned food and clothing, you can also adopt a family through the Boys & Girls Club of Central Iowa.
4. Children and Family Urban Movement
The Children and Family Urban Movement (CFUM) is dedicated to supporting the youth, children and families of the community through a combination of engagement, educational success and healthy living. This non-profit organization counts on volunteers to staff its daily programs including the Supper Club, Breakfast Club, The Haven and other events. Thanksgiving Eve, a family-style meal is served, requiring an enormous contingent of volunteers. Help is also needed for holiday projects and parties.
If you're looking for things to do in Des Moines that are sure to make you feel good, our list above is a great place to start! At Springs Apartments, our two Des Moines-area locations -- Springs at Waukee in Waukee and Springs at Jordan Creek in West Des Moines -- offer convenient locations with the amenities of an upscale suburban community. Our townhome-style apartments are all two-story with your own private entrance. Both communities also welcome pets.