Giving back in spirit of the holidays

Korrie Bysted

During the holiday break, we have plenty of extra time. We’re in a good mood, and we’re surrounded by the spirit of giving. 

If you’d like to give your time to those less fortunate than you, there are several opportunities to volunteer and to give back in the spirit of the holidays.

There are many ways you can give back during the holidays. Many people enjoy volunteering to be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army.

Every year since I can remember, my mom, my sister and I have done this. It’s a great way to spend time with your family and give back. To make it a little more fun, we like to wear silly holiday-themed hats and sing festive songs.

Bell ringing starts in mid-November and goes all the way through December. It is a great opportunity, according to

“The Red Kettle Christmas Campaign enables the Army to provide food, toys and clothing to over 6 million people during the Christmas season and helps more than 34 million Americans recovering from all kinds of personal disasters nationwide,” the website says.

Another great opportunity through the Salvation Army is Christmas meal and toy distribution.

Volunteers will sort and distribute toys and gift cards to families in need. This will take place from Dec. 18-22.  More information is available at

Youth and Shelter Services, Inc., also offers many volunteer opportunities for the holiday season.

You can serve a meal, adopt a youth to shop for, go grocery shopping for those who might need help, help at events or just hang out with the kids.

All of these opportunities plus many others are listed on the Youth and Shelter Services’ website, which is

There are many other great opportunities to give back here in Ames. In your hometowns, you just have to put forth a little effort and search for them.