Want to volunteer this holiday season? Lots of charities could use your help

Opportunity Village’s Magical Forest, the nonprofit’s biggest fundraiser of the year, has plenty of volunteer opportunities available.
Photo: Sam Morris

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Work with animals? Dog person? Cat person? It doesn’t matter when you volunteer for the Animal Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to housing adoptable pets and lost and found animals. Take your pick—long walks with dogs, playing with cats, taking corny photos for the website, training other volunteers or helping visitors adopt a pet at the Foundation’s headquarters at 655 N. Mojave Road. You’ll need a bit of training, but isn’t it worth it? For more information, go to animalfoundation.com or call 384-3333.

Work with children? Helping boost a child’s self-esteem is one of the noblest causes, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas could really use your help during the holidays. Indulge your creative side while creating food baskets, wrapping toys or decorating for holiday celebrations, or hang with the kids as they make holiday crafts to take home to their families. Volunteers must go through a 30-day screening process, after which they’ll be asked to commit to at least three to four hours a week for at least 12 weeks. For more information, go to bgclv.org or call 253-2801.

Feed the homeless or hungry? Southern Nevada has too many of both, and Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada is a big provider during the holidays. They need your help preparing Thanksgiving baskets, stocking pantry shelves and assisting pantry shoppers. All you have to do is show up at the Hands of Hope Community Food Pantry at 1501 Las Vegas Blvd. N. between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, go to catholiccharities.com or call 366-2050.

Help the less fortunate? Thanks to the efforts of the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, many children will be getting gifts this Christmas, as well as food and other essentials. If you choose to volunteer at the Mission’s facilities at 480 W. Bonanza Road, you’ll be asked to do everything from sorting non-perishable items to gift wrapping. For more information, go to vegasrescue.org or call 382-1766.

Help build something? Habitat for Humanity isn’t currently building homes in Southern Nevada, but since the nonprofit is completing construction on its new offices and ReStore (a nonprofit home improvement store that sells gently used furnishings and home accessories) at 4580 W. Sahara Ave., you can still chip in—hanging cabinets, painting, polishing floors or moving merchandise. Volunteers are most needed Tuesday through Friday, 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (Saturdays book up far in advance.) For more information, go to habitatlasvegas.org or call 638-6477, ext. 21.

Dress like a Christmas elf? Opportunity Village’s Magical Forest, its biggest fundraiser of the year, is crazy with volunteer opportunities—including, yes, dressing up as mascot OV the Bear or Boris the Elf. (There are also 1950s reindeer, complete with poodle skirts and leather jackets and jeans. Sweet!) If dressing up isn’t your thing, try your hand at conducting the Forest Express Railroad. (A short safety course is required.) Other positions include ticket takers, food or beverage servers and forest greeters. Hours of operation for the Magical Forest at 6300 W. Oakey Blvd. are 5:30-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5:30-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday (through January 6). For more information, email [email protected] or call 880-4054.

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Magazine's managing editor, having previously served as associate editor at Las Vegas Weekly, assistant features ...

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