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Sure you try to be charitable all year, but there’s something about the holidays that just brings out the giver in families. Whether it’s the cold, the nature of the holiday season or faith, it is a wonderful time to introduce your family to the benefits and rewards of volunteerism. Teach children humility, gratitude and kindness at the best holiday volunteer opportunities for families in Houston.

Sam Houston Park
Houston Via Color

1100 Bagby St.
Houston, TX
(713) 655-1912

Date: Nov. 17 to 18

Join others in this unique and special annual street painting festival that benefits children with profound hearing problems. This event will feature fine foods, entertainment and street masterpieces created by hundreds of artists. Volunteers will be needed to help with set-up, food and ticket selling, assisting vendors, and helping with the children’s areas. Day and evening shifts will be available. Contact Katharine Schaafs at the Center for Hearing and Speech, (713) 523-3633 ext. 119, or kschaafs@centerhearingandspeech.org. The minimum age to volunteer is 10 with a parent, otherwise age 16.
George R. Brown Convention Center
City-Wide Club of Club’s Annual Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve feasts
1001 Avenida De Las Americas
Houston, TX 77010
(713) 853-8000

Date: Nov. 22

Up to 40,000 people are expected to attend this incredible event held at the George R. Brown Convention Center. There will be a need for volunteers to assist with set up and meal service. There is flexibility when selecting a shift as volunteers will be needed any time between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. As a volunteer, you are welcome to partake in the meal.

Date: Dec. 24

The George R. Brown Convention Center will host this event as well. Meal service will be served until roughly 5 p.m., however volunteers will be needed to assist the expected 35,000 to 40,000 people anytime between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Call City Wide Club of Clubs at (713 ) 523-1640 for either opportunity.

The Volunteer Houston Office
3015 Richmond, Suite 100
Houston, TX 77098

Grace Care Center of Cypress
9602 Huffmeister
Houston, TX 77095

Grace Care Center of Katy
23553 West Fernhurst Drive
Katy, TX 77494

Date: Nov. 22

Thanksgiving cards will be distributed to volunteers to offer to the individuals with whom you visit. Also consider volunteering to create some of the greeting cards in advance of the event as well. Maps to the various facilities will be available. There is no minimum age to volunteer, but everybody must be able to provide their own transportation.

Dec. 25

Volunteers will select from one of two meeting times — 9:30 a.m. or noon — and will share Christmas cards with individuals that have been created by other volunteers weeks prior to the visits. Feel free to volunteer to create cards as well. Maps to each facility will be available. Contact Walter Black with Volunteer Houston at (713) 965-0031.

Houston Food Bank
535 Portwall St.
Houston, TX 77029
(713) 223-3700

Help Houston’s hungry and volunteer at the Houston Food Bank near McCarty and I-10. Volunteers will assist with sorting and/or sacking food that will be given to those in need. Assistance with labeling and administration may be needed as well. Volunteer opportunities with The Food Bank are during their business hours Monday to Saturday. Contact the Volunteer Office at (713) 547-8663 or email volunteer@houstonfoodbank.org. Minimum age varies per the the assignment, but some opportunities are appropriate for volunteers as young as 8.

Related: Free Things to do in Houston

24161 Spring Drive
Hockley, TX 77447

Self-Improvement through Riding Education serves almost 200 people with disabilities each and every week and is a volunteer-driven program. This horseback riding therapy complies with the standards that have been established by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association and is offered to children as young as 3 as well as adults. Physical therapists are onsite. Volunteers are needed on weekdays during the day and on Saturdays in the evening. The minimum age for volunteers is 14.

Dreamcatcher Stables
6115 & 6215 Greens Road
Houston, TX 77032
(281) 216-3494

Another therapeutic horseback riding offering can be found at Dreamcatcher Stables. Much like the one mentioned above, Dreamcatcher Stables is a 92-acre ranch just off I-59. In the summer, the program runs both during the week and on the weekends, however during the rest of the year, it is weekends only. For more information, contact Sanna Rolling at (281) 397-4694 or e-mail dreamcatcherstables@att.net. The minimum age for volunteers is 14, but those younger children accompanied by a parent may be considered.

Related: Best Volunteer Opportunities for Kids in Houston

Liz Starr, native Houstonian, is crazy-proud of her five daughters ranging in age from toddler to adult and equally grateful for her husband, Michael. If she isnt cooking, she is writing -or chasing the girls wielding a pan and a laptop. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.