Every holiday season across the country, citizens come together to celebrate the past year, our families and the communities we love. In Northern Colorado, we’re no different. We celebrate with some of the most festive events, shows and festivals that remind us just how much we love to call this place home.
While we are lucky for the opportunity to live in such a generous and community-centered area, it can be easy to forget that we’re not all equally fortunate. As the harsh Colorado winter settles in, there are families who don’t have a place to stay — who need our help to stay afloat and provide a festive Christmas for their children. This season, we can rally around our needy families and individuals and extend a helping hand.
We found more than 15 opportunities for you to volunteer or donate — whether it’s time, materials or even just a smile. There are charitable events filled with fun, opportunities to spread warmth and even a chance to bake pies! Find something you’re passionate about and spread the cheer this holiday.
Last year, the Longmont Gift of Home Tour hosted over 1,000 guests. And this year, partnered with Meals on Wheels, the event is going to be even bigger! The tour will feature four homes ranging from old to new and smaller to larger. All the homes will be dressed up for the holidays by decorators and decor stores. Buy tickets to benefit Meals on Wheels and get all your holiday decor inspiration!
Photo courtesy of Dolls for Daughters / Katie Bradshaw + KB Digital Designs
Join Dolls for Daughters for its inaugural Fort Collins Toy Shop. On December 3, they’re expecting to serve at least 500 children at Knights of Columbus. Each child will receive a new toy, stocking, stocking stuffer, book and a toothbrush and toothpaste kit.
You can help with setup, cleanup, organization, handouts and making the event go off without a hitch. To sign up for a shift or task and to learn more about what you’ll be doing, click here.
Murphy Center for Hope strives to help people with their immediate and long-term needs while addressing the underlying causes of homelessness. The organization is helping to make the problem rare, short-lived and non-recurring. They work with organizations throughout the community to ensure efficiency.
On December 3, you can join them on the 0.8-mile walk from Catholic Charities Mission to the center — the same walk many of their homeless guests make every day. You’ll get the chance to learn more about what the center does and how they help our community. To assist even more, bring warm winter gear for the coat drive to keep our needy warm this winter.
NOCOShares is located in Fort Collins but serves the entire region. Every 90 days, the organization selects a project to not just support, but to encourage the community to support monetarily and/or by volunteering time and energy.
On December 3, join their current campaign to spread holiday cheer! You can help deliver 250 trees to needy families in the area who can’t afford their own. With a tree decorated with tinsel and festive ornaments, these families and children will be able to celebrate with one of Christmas’ most festive traditions.
Seeking to return their guests to the community as productive, self-sufficient citizens, the Fort Collins Rescue Mission feeds and houses many of our neighborhoods’ neediest members. During the holidays, as the cold weather sets in, the Mission needs more help than ever.
Help fill the kitchen with cheer and smells of fresh cookies on December 8. The organization will provide all the basic ingredients, but welcome donations of flour, sugar and other baking supplies. Everyone over the age of 11 can help so come along for a morning of baking and philanthropy!
Photo courtesy of Poudre Landmarks Foundation
If local history is more your speed, attend a holiday tea to benefit the Poudre Landmarks Foundation. The 1879 Avery House once belonged to Franklin Avery who was instrumental in the development of Fort Collins. Year-round you can take tours and this December you can share a formal tea inside.
The house will be beautifully decorated in Victorian style for the holidays. You can enjoy scones with traditional Devonshire cream and lemon curd, tea sandwiches, and dessert, along with plenty of warming, seasonally flavored teas—all served on gorgeous tableware at elegantly set tables. Tickets are $25 and benefit Poudre Landmarks Foundation.
All Aboard Animal Rescue is an animal shelter and rescue determined to find suitable homes for homeless pets in Northern Colorado. On December 9, they’re partnering with Raise the Woof to host a comedy show benefiting the rescue. There will be two comedians, a raffle and silent auction with food and drink available to purchase. Get tickets here.
With the purchase of a raffle ticket, you and five friends will get the chance to attend Super Bowl LI in Houston.The prize includes a private plane ride, three nights accommodations in the Houston area as well as transfers to and from the airport, hotel and game.
Proceeds benefit Northern Colorado United For Youth whose goal is to provide young business leaders and entrepreneurs with an opportunity for personal growth, friendships and leadership development while improving the quality of life for children with special needs in our community. Don’t forget to attend the raffle event at The Boot Grill in Loveland!
Similar to their Holiday Baking event, Fort Collins Rescue Mission wants to ensure their guests are feeling the love and festivities this holiday season. On December 14, anyone over the age of 16 can help spread the cheer by baking pies in the Mission’s kitchen.
The Salvation Army has offices in Loveland, Greeley and Fort Collins. This holiday season, you can help raise funds by volunteering as a Kettle Bell Ringer in all three Northern Colorado cities. Just two hours of your time can generate enough donations to prevent a family of four from going hungry for one month. Sign up in Loveland, Greeley or Fort Collins.
Additionally, the Greeley branch needs help with their Community Feeding Program. To ensure community members don’t go hungry, you can help with general set-up, helping prepare and serve food, cleanup and unloading the weekly grocery and food donations. Learn more and sign up here.
Photo courtesy of Fort Collins Rescue Mission / Robert Bogan
Throughout the year, Fort Collins Rescue Mission serves meals for the hungry, homeless and needy in our communities. When winter settles in, living without a home becomes even harder and the need for volunteers becomes more severe. You can help by volunteering at any of the Mission’s breakfast, lunch or dinner services, in the kitchen or help organize holiday food and clothing donations at the Ministry Outreach Center.
The Ministry Outreach Center stores clothing, household items, and food items to donate to individuals and families in need. As more donations come in and need rises, they’ll need as many hands as possible. See all available volunteer opportunities and sign up here.
Adopt-A-Family is an outreach ministry that partners with families, local businesses and the community to help families in need during the holidays. As an adopter, you’ll be matched with a local family struggling to provide Christmas this year, then provide a holiday food basket or grocery gift card and gifts for the children.
To help the program you can adopt a family, donate money, items and gift cards, volunteer to help organize and hand out gifts or you can set up a Giving Tree in your business.
Santa Cops consists of representatives from Fort Collins Police Services, Loveland Police Department, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Patrol, and Colorado State University Police along with countless volunteers and organizations. During the holidays, the program provides gifts to struggling families in Northern Colorado in order to spread cheer and promote positive images and interactions with law enforcement.
Because it is a program built on volunteer assistance, they need your help with fundraisers, toy pickups, sorting, making craft items for sales and much more. To find out how to get started, go to their website.
For the eighth consecutive year, a volunteer staff of CooperSmith’s employees and friends will team with Catholic Charities North to provide a Christmas dinner and dessert for at least 250 people in need. While the volunteer needs are filled for the day, CooperSmith’s does need your help to provide donations to needy guests.
They are accepting donations of hand warmers, waterproof gloves, warm socks, bike locks and lights, backpacks, padlocks and gift cards to Walmart, Safeway, King Soopers and anywhere else a struggling family or individual may find necessities. There will be a drop-off bin on Pubside for your donations. If donating gift cards, please give them to a manager on duty, or feel free to mail them in.
Photo courtesy of Volunteers of America Colorado
At nine different Fort Collins locations, you can help Volunteers of America as a Dining Center Volunteer. You’ll be serving healthy food to seniors in our community who, otherwise, would be without. Learn more and fill out the volunteer form here.
Additionally, you can help struggling seniors in our community through the Volunteers of America Grocery Program. Not only will your visit and companionship be a highlight in the lives of these homebound seniors, but you’ll be able to ensure they’re getting food and staying healthy. This program is available for Loveland and Fort Collins. Learn more here.
While the holiday season is traditionally a time for generosity and coming together, many of these organizations offer year-round assistance and always need volunteers. Explore their websites, help out this holiday season and find one you’re passionate about so you can help Northern Colorado reach its fullest potential this year.
Share your experiences with us! If we missed your favorite volunteer opportunity, let us know.