8 Excellent Places to Volunteer This Holiday Season

City Guide


Written by Andrea Diedrich

Published on November 26, 2019

Volunteers handing out groceries / Photo courtesy of the Boxes of Love

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… You hear the songs, see the snow, maybe even feel the magic. The moment November 1st arrives, it is full on holiday mode. We expect this. While it is easy to become consumed by all the holiday chaos, we can’t forget that it is also the perfect time to give back. Whether it is helping out at a WNY soup kitchen or donating that untouched sweater that has been hanging in your closet for years, any ounce of your time could impact others immensely.

If you are feeling some of that holiday spirit and want to share it with your local non-profits, we know some ways you can get involved. It’s something you can feel good about that also benefits others in the process. Bam, a win-win situation. So with that being said, let’s truly make it the hap-happiest season of allllllll!


1. Totally Buffalo’s Hope for the Holidays



  • Christmas Toy Drive for Oishei Children’s Hospital
    • Located at WNY Spot Coffee locations
    • Tuesday, December 3rd
    • 5am- 12:30pm
    • Bring an unwrapped toy and get 15% off your Spot Coffee order
  • Fundraiser
    • Donate funds towards Oishei Children’s hospital and be entered to win two club seat tickets to the Bills home game against Baltimore on December 8th
  • Community Christmas Carol Sing-Along and Benefit
    • Located at St. John Lutheran Church of Amherst
    • Sunday, December 15th
    • 4:30pm-8pm
    • Gather around a bon fire and sing Christmas Carols while raising funds to help bring gifts to the children of Oishei’s Children Hospital. There will be crafts and activities, basket raffles, food trucks, and performances by the Niagara Frontier Chord Authority.


Volunteers packing groceries / Photo courtesy of the Boxes of Love

2. Boxes of Love 2019


The Boxes of Love has a big goals this holiday season including, packing thousands of bags of groceries and gifts! These items will then be given away throughout the holiday season to families in need. To help out, join the crew at the Buffalo Dream Center at a few different points throughout the holiday season. Volunteer opportunities can be found on their website.


3. Biddidi Bobbidi Boo Charity Ball


Hosted by the Tonawanda Castle, this event allows you to be a fairy godparent to a child in need. The fairytale evening includes a 3 hour top shelf open bar, hor’s d’oeuvres, dinner, dessert display, DJ, photo booth, and raffles. Bring a gift with you to put under the Christmas tree to be donated to those in need. Half of the proceeds from this event will go toward families in need inWNY. The event will take place on Saturday, December 7th from 6:30pm-11:30pm at the Tonawanda Castle. Check out the event on Facebook for full details and tickets.


4.  Friends of the Night People


The Friends of the Night People have so many ways to get involved this season whether it is through sponsoring a family, donating food and clothing, or a monetary donation. Their website calendar has a full rundown of all their events where volunteers are appreciated.


Wreaths Across America / Photo courtesy of the Oakwood Cemetery

5. Volunteer WNY


This organization is the hub to volunteering for the holidays, to just name a few upcoming events, here are some that peaked our interest. To see all the ways you can get involved, check out their website.


  • Community Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by the Matt Urban Hope Center
    • Located at 385 Paderewski Drive
    • Tuesday, November 26th from 1pm-4pm & Wednesday, November 27th from 2pm-7pm
    • Looking for volunteers to help serve each day
  • Wreath Across America hosted by Oakwood Cemetery Heritage foundation
    • Located at Oakwood Cemetery in Niagara Falls
    • Saturday, December 14th from 12pm-1:30pm
    • Remember our veterans by placing a wreath on the stones of those who have passed
  • Breakfast with Santa hosted by Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village
    • Located at the Amherst Museum
    • Sunday, December 15th 8:30am-12:30pm
    • Looking for volunteers to help with a variety of tasks including scanning tickets, serving breakfast, assisting with set up and take down, etc.


Cookie donations / Photo courtesy of the Hearts for the Homeless

6. Hearts for the Homeless


Ever seen one of those red donation bins around WNY? We have Hearts for the Homeless to thank for this easy way to donate. If you have some unneeded items that you are looking to give away, their site makes it simple to find a bin near you. Also with the holiday season upon us, Hearts for Homeless is reaching out to the community for 300 dozen of cookie donations. Baking lovers, this is for you. They are looking for donations to be dropped off by December 20th at the latest at 890 Tonawanda Street in Buffalo. If you are interested you can sign up here.


7. Salvation Army

Website / Facebook

The Salvation Army is another one of the big organizations that is bringing good deeds to WNY. There are so many options to get involved so we are sharing a few that seemed seasonally fitting. For a full rundown of ways you can help check out their website.


  • Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner service
    • Located at the 960 Main Street in Buffalo location
    • Thanksgiving and Christmas day at 11:00am
    • Come decorate and serve food to help those of the Buffalo community
  • Toy Shoppe
    • Located at the 960 Main Street in Buffalo location
    • December 16th-18th from 8:30am-4:30pm
    • Help others pick out toys to take home to their children
  • Bellringing
    • take the bellringing wherever you go
    • During the holiday season, bellringing for two hours can provide the funds to feed a family of four for a week


Canstruction Event/ Photo courtesy of the Food Bank of WNY

8. Food Bank of WNY Canstruction Event


Hosting multiple events this winter season one fun way you can get involved is through their Canstruction event at the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights. This event at the Erie County Fairgrounds involves teams working together to create a theme-based canned food structure. This years theme is Winter holiday movies. Teams will have 12 hours to build their displays over December 13-15th from 5pm-9pm. Judging will take place on December 16th & 17th but displays will remain up during the festival of lights. If you and some friends are interest, you can sign up here.

We launched a new look!

Our new design features a better browsing experience, modern mobile navigation, more visual displays of key info, better filtering options on the search page, and much more.

We hope you love our new look! That said, we’re #ForeverTweaking and would greatly appreciate your feedback so we can make *all* you want and need as your go-to resource for the best of Western New York!

Send feedback >

Written by <a href="" target="_self">Andrea Diedrich</a>

Written by Andrea Diedrich

Andrea is a Content Coordinator and writer for Step Out Buffalo. By day she enjoys using her creative side and researching all things Buffalo. By night you’ll find her exploring Buffalo’s waterfront, dining with friends or catching the latest show/concert in town.
Find More ➭


Forgotten Password?

You must be logged in to use this feature.