For Some Nonprofits, Influx Of Volunteers During Holidays Is Needed

Many Organizations Have Special Needs During Winter Months

The American Red Cross is busier than usual with blood drives during the holiday season. Photo: Student Association (CC-BY-NC-SA).

Some nonprofits get an influx of volunteers during the holiday season — and while many groups have a need for help year-round, it’s perfect for those with special needs during the winter months.

Causeway Caregivers matches volunteers with La Crosse County residents who are elderly or have a disability. Volunteers help clients stay active by taking them to plays, helping them shop for groceries or stopping over for a cup of coffee.

Executive Director Sara Wrobel said their phones start ringing more after Thanksgiving with people looking to help. She said it’s a good thing, both because Causeway Caregivers always has waiting list of people who need a volunteer match, but also because there’s more of a need in the winter.

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“Especially with the shoveling and treatment and just helping people get out,” said Wrobel.

Wrobel said more than 360 volunteers clock in 10,000 hours of volunteer work each year with Causeway Caregivers.

The American Red Cross generally has a steady flow of volunteers throughout the year that help with disaster response or train people how to perform first aid and CPR. But during the holidays, the organization is much busier with blood drives.

Annie Taff, director of volunteer services with the American Red Cross of Wisconsin, said even though people’s lives are becoming busier, she encourages people to give their time to a cause they’re passionate about.

“It’s so important for people to volunteer with whatever agency they choose to go with. Whatever pulls on their heartstrings and motivates them to get involved. I think as they give of themselves, even if it is an hour or two hours, they’ll find themselves changed in that process.”

More than 3,000 people volunteer with the American Red Cross in Wisconsin.

Editor’s Note: This topic was recently featured on WPR’s “Newsmakers.”