The cooks and laborers who built the foundation of our county's culinary traditions have often gone unnoticed throughout history.
The end-of-year holiday season often inspires Washingtonians to donate time, money or talents to their communities. Kojo explores different opportunities to give back in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
- Mark Andersen Co-founder, Positive Force D.C.; Co-author "Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capitol" (Akashic); and Director, We Are Family Group
- Stacy Palmer Editor, Chronicle of Philanthropy
- Nicole Lynn Lewis Founder and CEO, Generation Hope
Volunteer Opportunities From Listeners
Black Benefactors provides grants and in-kind support to non-profit organizations serving D.C.’s black neighborhoods. Supporters can become part of a giving circle through a financial donation. Interested Washingtonians can learn more at the Black Benefactors’ upcoming benefit for their 10th anniversary.
The Capitol Hill Group Ministry provides services to homeless and vulnerable Washingtonians and its HART volunteers are deployed during the evenings year-round to check in on homeless neighbors and provide resources and snacks.
City Blossoms works with youth to bring community green spaces to urban neighborhoods. Volunteers can participate in garden workdays and assist with outreach activities for children. Plus, volunteers get to take home a portion of the harvest when available.
Pathways to Housing DC links Washingtonians experiencing homelessness with a team of wrap-around service providers which include a psychiatrist, nurse, social worker and peer specialist. Volunteers can serve as Ambassadors or help during tours and information sessions.
Street Sense Media uses different creative outlets, including a local street newspaper, to highlight solutions to homelessness. The organization provides opportunity to Washingtonians experiencing homelessness to write about their experiences, and earn funds as vendors. Volunteers can help distribute the newspaper to street vendors and help with event planning. Today, The Actors’ Center is hosting a staged reading of “Mr. Nobody” to benefit Street Sense Media.
We Are Family serves low-income seniors largely in the Shaw, Columbia Heights and Petworth neighborhoods with free, monthly grocery deliveries, transportation assistance, cleaning services and more. Year-round, volunteers help by packing and delivering groceries and being a helping friend to seniors in need of community. During the holiday season, volunteers can assist by delivering Thanksgiving meal baskets and distributing gifts on Christmas day.
The Washington English Center provides affordable English as a Second Language classes to Washington-based immigrants. Volunteers can teach during the week and on weekends.
Asian American LEAD mentors Asian American youth in the Washington region to enhance their belief in their own skills and potential. Volunteers can serve as youth mentors, program aides and community college coaches.
Brother, Help Thyself distributes grants to service providers that support the LGBTQ community. Brother, Help Thyself is volunteer-run. Volunteers can apply to serve as staff and board members.
ECDC serves the local African immigrant and refugee community through resettlement assistance, grant applications and other social services. Volunteers help by locating and setting up affordable homes and employment opportunities for resettled refugees.
Generation Hope pairs local teen parents with local sponsors who provide tuition assistance and one-on-one mentorship. Sponsors and scholars form a relationship over the summer, which lasts until scholars graduate.
LSS/NCA works to welcome and resettle refugees to the Washington region. This year, the organization is collecting gifts for refugee children, and volunteers can help by delivering gifts to families on Christmas day.
Manna Food Center addresses food insecurity in Montgomery County by distributing “Manna boxes” to those experiencing hunger and food insecurity. Volunteers can pack and distribute boxes, in addition to other jobs.
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Where can Washingtonians give back?
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