A Guide To Volunteering In Montgomery County
Volunteering Options In Montgomery County
In my view, nothing quite compares with the spirit of volunteering, especially during the holidays. In Montgomery County, we’re lucky to live in communities where most of us have good jobs, safe homes, and sufficient resources to eat well and take care of our families.
But that doesn’t mean others don’t need help.
According to the Montgomery County Community Action Board, about 70,000 of our county neighbors live below the poverty line. That estimate includes about 1 in 4 households that are headed by a female and include a child. About 55,000 children in the county qualify for free or reduced school meals.
Among Montgomery County seniors, more than half of renters and more than a quarter or homeowners are “housing burdened,” meaning they spend at least 30 percent of their income on housing. About 9,000 seniors qualify but don’t receive food assistance.
When it comes to homelessness, we’ve made progress. But still, too many people have no place to live. A point-in-time survey earlier this year showed 647 people in Montgomery County without a home. That included 61 families and 130 children.
We may not often notice the struggles among our neighbors as we go about our daily lives. But the needs exist. And fortunately, so do the opportunities to lend a hand!
At DKG, we celebrate volunteering. I believe it’s important to apply passion to the causes that matters most to you. The Montgomery County Volunteer Center helps people weigh their choices by listing dozens of volunteer organizations that are looking for help. Here are a few, just to get the wheels turning:
- A Wider Circle: Provides basic need items for neighbors seeking to rise out of poverty, including furniture, linens, kitchen items, toys, and professional clothing and accessories. A Wider Circle furnishes 20 homes free of charge each day. 301-608-3504
- Adoptions Together: Builds healthy lifelong family connections for every child. Student volunteers assist during events helping adoptive families join together to share experiences and engage in fun. 301-422-5100
- The African American Health Program: Works to eliminate health disparities and improve the number and quality of years of life for African Americans. Focuses on infant mortality, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, oral health, cardiovascular disease and cancers. 240-777-1451.
- Rebuilding Together Montgomery County: Improves the homes and lives of low-income homeowners by addressing repair needs ranging from code violations, safety, health and security concerns. 301-947-9400 ext. Ext. 101
- Montgomery County Humane Society: Rescues cats and dogs from overcrowded shelters and provides them with expert care, veterinary treatments and other types of care to help them find permanent homes. 240-252-2555
- Best Buddies International:Helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities form meaningful friendships with their peers, secure successful jobs, live independently, improve self-advocacy and feel valued by society.410-327-9812 ext. 29.
- Bethesda – Chevy Chase Meals on Wheels: Delivers meals each weekday to persons who are elderly, physically challenged, recovering from illness or surgery, or simply unable to shop or prepare meals for themselves. 301-654-4610
- Building Bright Communities: Transforms distressed real estate properties into quality, energy efficient affordable homes for limited income individuals and families. 240-876-1617
- The Capital Area Food Bank: Partners with 444 community organizations in DC, MD, and VA to help 540,000 people each year get access to good, healthy food. 202-644-9800
- Caring Matters: Provides social supports and community education so that no one dies or grieves alone. Serves those facing life-threatening illness and experiencing the death of a loved one. 301-869-4673
- CASA de Maryland:Helps improve quality of life in low-income immigrant communities. Envisions diverse and thriving communities living free from discrimination and fear. 240-670-4849
- Community Food Rescue: Redirects unsold food from groceries, caterers, farmers, schools, hospitals, and restaurants to food assistance organizations that provide meals to their clients. 240-268-2502
- The Arc Montgomery County: Supports children, youth, adults and families by providing child care, work skills training, employment, community living services, resources, advocacy and respite care. 850-358-8826 ext. 1216
- Silver Spring Village: Helps aging neighbors remain in their homes and be active by providing transportation, assistance with household chores, and personal contact. 301-503-7401
- Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland: Builds affordable housing for those living in substandard conditions. 301-990-0014
While volunteering during the holidays is truly magical, don't forget that people need support year round. Challenge yourself to give back, even if it's only an hour or a few dollars to a worthwhile cause throughout the year.