5 ways to spread holiday cheer in Pittsburgh all year long

“Taking the holiday season to reflect and pledging to volunteer in 2019 is a great way to look forward to a new year.”

Get Stuffed with Love volunteers from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene readied turkey dinners for 3,500 families on Thanksgiving.

Get Stuffed with Love volunteers from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene readied turkey dinners for 3,500 families on Thanksgiving.

Jasmine Goldband / The Incline

With a vibrant community of do-gooders, many Pittsburghers are thinking of others and wanting to help during the holiday season.

In fact, Pittsburgh was recently recognized by the Corporation for National and Community Service as seventh in the nation for volunteering.

At Pittsburgh Cares, we want to encourage you in that — to give back this holiday season, but also well into the new year. With many nonprofit organizations overwhelmed with requests from those wanting to volunteer, here are five ways you can give back this holiday season and spread the cheer all year.

Happy Holidays, Pittsburgh.

Find your cause

Use this time of year to explore what you’re passionate about. Do some research about which causes are important to you or what skills you have to offer.

Are you a home chef? Consider cooking or baking for a local community kitchen. Can’t resist a cute puppy video? Maybe volunteering with an animal shelter is the place for you.

Once you find what you want to do, seek out places where you can volunteer, now and into 2019.

Use your vacation time for good

Do you have remaining PTO time this year? Are you a student on holiday break? Maybe your children are on vacation, too? Use it for good.

Many nonprofits are swamped with requests for volunteers on weekends and evenings during this busy time of year, but have operating hours and ability to host volunteers between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Replace what’s usually a work or school day with a volunteer day.

Consider a donation

If where you want to volunteer is booked up this holiday season, consider making a monetary or material donation to their cause and volunteering at a later time. Before shopping for donations, check to see if the nonprofit has a “wishlist” of things they need.

Say ‘thank you’

It’s a great time of year to say “Thank You” to your area firefighters, nonprofit workers, daycare providers, and the like. Better yet, most volunteer work can be done right from home — bake cookies, write thank-you notes, and then deliver the goods.

Look to the future

Consider volunteering at a time outside of this holiday season. During the summer months when many people are vacationing, volunteer numbers are lower, leaving many volunteer jobs unfilled.

Taking the holiday season to reflect and pledging to volunteer in 2019 is a great way to look forward to a new year.


Amanda Trocki is the executive director of Pittsburgh Cares, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and HandsOn Network affiliate. Founded in 1992, Pittsburgh Cares acts as a liaison between volunteers, nonprofits, and businesses to meet the most critical needs of the Western Pennsylvania community. 

To get involved, this holiday season or throughout the new year, visit www.pittsburghcares.org, call 412-471-2114, or stop by 3505 Butler Street (Lawrenceville).