Time to volunteer

How students can volunteer for the holidays

One way students can give back to the community is by ringing bells and collecting donations for the Salvation Army. Torch file photo

The holiday season is a huge time for volunteers and there are many opportunities in Big Rapids for students to give back.

There are many places that love and need volunteers during the holiday season, starting now. Volunteering also looks great on resumes for all types of majors. Some stores and organizations even offer volunteer opportunities over winter break. With many students leaving for the break, companies need volunteers to fill in.

For those more interested in helping animals than humans, there are opportunities at the Animal Rescue Coalition (ARC), located at 18400 220th Ave. in Big Rapids. During school sessions, they normally have 50 to 100 volunteers. With exams and the holiday season approaching, they are becoming desperate for help.

“We have less volunteers during the holiday season, and we absolutely need more during the holiday season. What our volunteers do is choose either 7 to 9 in the morning or 5 to 7 in the evening to work,” ARC Director Cate Arroe said.

ARC volunteers can help out on the cat side or the dog side of the humane society. This is decided by answering a few questions over the phone about the student’s interests. ARC then chooses the best position for the volunteer. Volunteers on the cat side are responsible for cleaning, feeding and socializing with the cats. Volunteers on the dog side take the dogs on walks for two hours of the day. For those interested in dogs, ARC prefers people who have some experience walking dogs.

ARC also prefers volunteers to have cars because the society is not within walking distance of the school.

For anyone interested, contact Arroe at (231) 796- 2683.

For those who live off campus and get bored over the break, there are likely many opportunities in your area. Some of these include working at a food pantry, helping out for galas and ringing bells with the Salvation Army.

Volunteering is a good way to feel better and get experience for the workforce. It also helps students stand out to employers, which can be helpful for those anxious about entering the workforce. Most volunteering opportunities only require a few hours of service a week. It can be a great way to show the holiday spirit and give back to the community.

Winter volunteer opportunities

Animal Rescue Coalition

What: Volunteers are needed to walk dogs and clean, feed and socialize with cats

When: 7 – 9 a.m. and 5 – 7 p.m. weekdays

Contact: Cate Arroe: (231) 796-2683

Annual Chamber of Commerce Gala

What: Ten to 12 volunteers are needed to help at their 34th annual holiday gala

When: 5 – 11 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6

Contact: Jennifer: djbuwalda@nullmecostacountry.com or (231) 796 – 7649

Mid-Michigan Community Action Agency

What: Volunteers are needed at the Reed City United Methodist Church

When: The third Thursday of every month:

Contact: Sheri Nartker: snartker@nullmmcaa.org or (989) 386 – 3805 extension: 1024

Mecosta-Osceola ISD

What: Volunteers are needed to babysit while parents attend meetings.

When: 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays

Contact: Shelby Vanscoyoc: scanscoyoc@nullmoisd.org

The Salvation Army

What: Volunteers are needed for bell ringing and holiday season assistance

When: Times vary

Contact: jdbuwalda@nullmecostacounty.com