Serve a meal at a shelter
There are homeless shelters providing a bed and food in Hoboken, Jersey City, and Union City.
The Hoboken Homeless Shelter at 300 Bloomfield St. serves more than 27,000 meals a year and has 30 beds, which are full most nights. The shelter is always looking for volunteers to maintain the facilities and help serve meals from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
It also accepts contributions of money, clothes, toiletries, and food left over from parties and entertainment functions. For more information on how to help call (201) 656-5069.
Another nearby shelter is St. Lucy's Shelter, at 619 Grove St. in Jersey City. St. Lucy's is a supervised 24-hour, seven-day-a-week emergency shelter for single women and men, offering emergency housing and food for those in need. Individuals are offered a 45-day stay. For more information on how to volunteer call (201) 656-7201.
A third shelter is the Palisades Emergency Residence Corporation (PERC) at 108 36th St. in Union City. The co-ed facility has 40 beds available nightly. For information, call (201) 348-8150.
Be an advocate for abused and neglected children
Hudson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is an independent, non-profit organization committed to advocating for the best interests of abused and neglected children.
CASA volunteers speak in court on behalf of children who have been abused, neglected and removed from their homes and placed into out-of-home placements such as shelters, group homes, and foster care.
These volunteers are appointed by family court judges and are provided the authority to investigate the facts of a case, recommend a course of action to the court, facilitate the resolution of problems, and monitor the progress.
According to officials from CASA, approximately 731 children in Hudson County are without a permanent home.
If you are interested in volunteering, you can attend an information session on Tuesday Dec. 5, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in room 901 in the Hudson County Administration Building at 595 Newark Ave. in Jersey City.
For further information, call (201) 795-9856 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Man a Red Kettle
The Salvation Army's annual Red Kettle campaign is under way, and volunteers are needed for four-hour shifts at numerous locations throughout New Jersey.
Kettle donations are used during the holidays to provide hot meals, warm clothing and small toys for children. The money also helps fund soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, emergency disaster services, youth and senior programs, and emergency assistance for prescriptions and housing.
Individuals, school groups, churches, service organizations, and clubs are encouraged to call The Salvation Army's New Jersey Headquarters at (908) 851-8207 for more information.
Give to the United Way
The United Way of Hudson County is a community-based organization that funds health and human care services. For every dollar raised, 89 cents of that dollar goes to help people in need, according to United Way officials. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (201) 434-2628.
Be a hospice volunteer
One form of volunteerism that involves very personal emotional investment, but can also be the most rewarding, is being a hospice counselor. A hospice is an environment designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments. Hospice care neither prolongs life nor hastens death. The goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of a patient's last days by offering comfort and dignity.
Hospice staff and volunteers offer a specialized knowledge of medical care, including pain management.
Volunteer roles might include companionship for the patients, emotional support for the patient and family, errands, telephone reassurance, and transportation. The patients are often cared for in their own homes.
Although the training takes place in Jersey City, volunteering is done throughout Hudson County. Volunteer hours are flexible, according to the needs of the patient and family and the availability of the volunteer. For an application and further information, call (201) 433-3303.
Mentor a local youth
The local schools and youth organizations present another excellent opportunity to give back to the community's youngest residents. The Hoboken and Jersey City Boys and Girls clubs are always looking for volunteers to spend their time as a mentor or role model.
Whether you have an interest in athletics, technology, the arts or any other skills, the Boys and Girls clubs always has room for more volunteers. For more information on how to be a mentor, call (201) 333-4100.
According to the American Red Cross, the country faces a critical blood shortage. National blood inventory levels have dropped well below a safe and adequate supply. In order to meet the needs of hospital patients across the nation, Red Cross strongly urges anyone who is eligible to give blood.
People who weigh at least 110 pounds and are in general good health are eligible to donate. The first step is to call the nearest blood center at (888) USBLOOD or (800) GIVE LIFE to find the nearest blood center and schedule an appointment. During the appointment you will be asked general health and lifestyle questions in a private setting while a medical professional takes your vital signs.
Donors must meet guidelines set by the Food and Drug Administration. If qualified, the entire process of giving blood will take six to eight minutes. For more information, visit http://www.americasblood.org.
Volunteer for an AIDS charity
Franciscan Initiative To Help (FAITH) Services was founded in 1988 in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The service is located at 307 Willow Ave.
Today FAITH Services is one of the largest and most diversified providers of services to persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in Hudson County. The agency has five offices, and operates the county emergency programs, which provide medicine, emergency housing, utility assistance, rental assistance and food.
All services are provided free of charge to eligible individuals active in case management. FAITH services can always use volunteers to assist in its outreach programs, or to help organize fundraisers and special events.
For more information call (201) 792-6161.
Help build a house
Habitat for Humanity of greater Jersey City, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization, works in partnership with people in need to build and renovate decent, affordable housing. The houses then are sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged.
Volunteers and the future homeowners provide most of the labor, and individual and corporate donors provide money and materials to build Habitat houses. The partner families themselves invest hundreds of hours of labor into building their homes and the homes of others. Their mortgage payments go into a revolving Fund for Humanity that is used to build more houses.
For more information, call Habitat for Humanity of Greater Jersey City, (201) 222-8030, or e-mail email@example.com.