Why You Should Think Twice Before Volunteering on Thanksgiving


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — If you’re thinking about volunteering this Thanksgiving, you might what to think again. Many organizations get an influx of volunteers during the holidays, and then struggle to keep them year-round.

Any organization is going to spend resources training volunteers. So if it takes an hour to train you, and you volunteer for a couple hours, how much does that really benefit the organization?

KOLR10 met with The Kitchen to find out. This holiday season, Theresa Oglesby, the volunteer coordinator at The Kitchen, says they’re making a list, and checking it twice.

“As far as donation needs, we’ve got a Christmas wishlist,” Oglesby said.

And there’s another option for those who lack a knack for gift-giving.

“We, as always, need cash,” Oglesby said.

She says she gets an influx of hands-on helpers during the holidays, but as the Christmas music will inevitably fade, so will the commitment to giving back.
“As far as consistent, ongoing volunteers, that probably is going to be closer to about 10,” she said.

The Kitchen has transformed its mission from a short-term goal of getting families off the streets and into the shelter, to a long-term solution of finding them permanent housing. And now The Kitchen is wondering if its volunteers can switch their mindsets as well.

“We have a lot of students, individuals, that are wanting, like, four hours for a class, or a couple hours for community service,” Oglesby said.

Cue Megan Craven, a Missouri State University student dropping off canned goods Friday.

“I decided to do a canned food drive for The Kitchen, for Thanksgiving,” Craven said.

But before you put yourself on the naughty list, Oglesby says donations are always nice. Even one-time volunteers can be put to good use doing simple tasks.

“I think that just giving things to those who need it the most, just kind of giving back to the community, is one of the best things to do, especially during the holiday season,” Craven said.    

Oglesby just wants to remind people that Santa works year-round, and so do non-profits. So if you have elf skills you can spare come January, they’ll save you a seat in the workshop.

The Kitchen has a wide variety of donation needs this time of year, from winter apparel, to furniture, to hygiene supplies. Donations can be made either at its receiving center at 420 E. Blaine, or at the Rare Breed Youth Outreach Center at 301 N. Main.

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