Staff Editorial: Volunteering is easier than you think

Around the winter holidays, soup kitchens are usually chock-full of volunteers looking to give back to the community. As homeless men, women and children wait in lines for their bowl of hot soup and piece of fresh bread, volunteers get a chance to do something for someone else for change.

Even though soup kitchens and charities such as the Houston Food Bank and Star of Hope play a vital role in providing food, shelter and clothing for countless Houston-area families during the holidays, it’s not the only time of year people are in desperate need of help.

So whether helping the less fortunate is part of your everyday life or just something you do around the holidays, be mindful that hunger and homelessness plague people year round and that every volunteer and every extra set of hands help.

For those who feel they haven’t enough time to volunteer in the community or for those who just aren’t aware of what they could be doing to help, there are several ways to start helping out more often.

A slew of campus organizations and departments including Metropolitan Volunteer Program, Cougars for Kids, UH Pre-Dental Society and even the Athletics Department offer ways for students to become more involved without having to commit a certain amount of time to a specific charity each week.

Empty Bowls Houston, an annual event that includes a wave of student and faculty involvement, serves as great opportunity for students to participate in one of the largest Houston Food Bank charities involving the University. With a broad range of types of volunteer programs and community events provided through the University, students may find working with a charity to be both easier and more effective than they thought.

Today marks the final day of Disney Alumni Association, Houston Chapter’s three-day dress drive. From 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the University Center, the group will accept new and gently used formal gowns, evening bags, dress shoes, jewelry, suits and cocktail dresses to benefit The Fairy Godmother Project of Houston, an organization that then gives the items to Houston-area high school students who can’t afford to purchase prom attire.

So, ladies, clean our your closet and donate your prom dress, those shoes you never wear and the cocktail dress that – let’s face it -†doesn’t fit you anymore. Guys, you can probably afford to lose those suits you’ve outgrown since high school, too.

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