The holiday season is a great time to volunteer with the family.
It's a meaningful way to spend time together and teach the kids about empathy and gratitude.
There are a handful of places in Tucson where you can volunteer with your kids listed below, but there are also things you can do on your own like hosting a food or diaper drive, or making sandwiches to distribute to the homeless.
Here are some ideas on places to volunteer together.
Ring a bell or serve a holiday meal
Every year the Salvation Army serves free Christmas dinners to needy Tucson families and help is needed to serve, prepare and clean up. This year's event takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 25 at the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave. Go here to learn more.
You and your kids can also be bell ringers in front of stores to solicit monetary donations to the Salvation Army. Call 520-795-9671 or go here for details.
Donate, sort and distribute clothes and food
Pop-Cycle Shop on Fourth Ave. hosts an annual holiday clothing drive where they collect clothing, blankets and snack items the weekend after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve.
On the morning of Christmas Eve, volunteers gather to sort the items, make food bags and then distribute them to homeless people.
Drop off donations at Pop Cycle, 422 N. Fourth Ave. by Dec. 23.
Tucson Village Farm
Bring the kids to U-Pick at Tucson Village Farm from 4-6 p.m. every Tuesday, where the family can help on the farm.
If you have kids 12 and older you can volunteer on Mondays from 8:30 a.m. to noon.
Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona
The organization provides diapers and incontinence supplies to children and adults through community partners.
It currently needs volunteers to help package diapers into ten packs for distribution.
Volunteers must be at least 14-years old and can work one-, two- or three-hour sessions as often as they'd like.
Click here for more volunteer info or call 325-1400.
Children's Museum Tucson and Oro Valley
The museum has a variety of tasks for youth volunteers. It needs help prepping hands-on arts and crafts. Youth volunteers also help facilitate activities and interact with visitors.
Volunteers must be at least age 15.
Click here for more info.
Ben's Bells Project
The organization creates bells out of clay that are then hung randomly around the community for people to find and take home as a reminder to practice intentional kindness.
Anyone can volunteer, but kids under the age of 18 must be with an adult. Kids as young as 2 or 3 have been known to drop in with their families to paint or sculpt the beads and centerpieces of the bells that the organization distributes.
Volunteers can drop in anytime between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 816 E. University Blvd.
The farm grows organic fruits and veggies, collects eggs from its chickens and donates 100 percent of it to Casa Maria Soup Kitchen, which distributes lunches and grocery bags to Tucson's needy families.
Families are welcome to volunteer as long as the kids under 12 are supervised. The work varies from weeding to turning compost and planting.
Drop in from 6:30 a.m. to noon on Mondays and Fridays at 3761 E. River Road.
Click here for more info about the farm.
This organization provides transitional housing, workforce development and meals for Tucson's homeless.
Families can volunteer to be on meal teams, where they cook and serve meals, at the men's shelter.
Another option for families is to make sack lunches at home for the people in Primavera's job training programs.
Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona
The food bank provides food and food-related services throughout southern Arizona.
Normally, you have to be at least 16 to volunteer at the food bank, but because there was lots of interest, it added a monthly Youth & Family Volunteer Day, which allows younger people a chance to help out and learn what the food bank does.
Advance registration is required. Click here for more information.
Humane Society of Southern Arizona
The Humane Society is a full-service animal welfare organization that takes in homeless pets and finds them new homes. It is also known for its spay and neuter program to prevent more homeless pets from being born.
Families with children ages 15 and older can volunteer together at the shelter.
If you have younger kids, fostering a dog or cat is another option, giving children the chance to directly care for animals.
Helping animals at a young age helps children learn to be more responsible pet owners and develops a sense of empathy in the role they play in an animal's life.
Click here for more information.
Interfaith Community Services
The ICS mission is to help seniors and disabled individuals lead stable, independent and healthy lives in their own homes.
Families can volunteer by organizing and executing a food drive in their community then delivering the food to the ICS Food Bank.
Kids ages 10 and up can go along with parents to deliver Mobile Meals. It gives recipients the chance to interact with children.
You can also get the kids together to make greeting cards for Mobile Meal recipients.
To volunteer with ICS, email Tori Carlson-Foscz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 297-6049, ext. 217.
Click here for more information about ICS.
Reid Park Zoo
Families with kids ages 11-13 can be Community Engagement Volunteers, which assist with animal interactions, assist guests in completing Zoo Passports and more. You must commit to volunteering at least three hours per month for six months. You must also complete five continuing education units during that six month time period.
Go here for more info.
Hermitage No-Kill Cat Shelter
Families can volunteer to work with kitties! Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult or parent. You'll be able to help clean up the shelter, socialize cats, go to events, do administrative work and transport donations.
Click here to fill out a volunteer application.