Editor's Note: This story has been updated.
For some, giving and gathering isn’t always an option during the holidays, but with the help of organizations like the Soup Kitchen of Muncie and Second Harvest Food Bank, families can participate in festivities with peace of mind.
In turn, these groups need help from the community, so there are many volunteering options for students looking to lend a helping hand.
The help that volunteers offer ranges from donating time to supplies.
Loretta Parsons, the director of the Soup Kitchen of Muncie, said she knows students don’t always have time to give but wishes their time would be more regular.
Second Harvest Food Bank will host an evening event on Nov. 29 for the Thanksgiving holiday.
On Thanksgiving, the Soup Kitchen of Muncie will host regularly scheduled meals 9:30-11:00 a.m.
Regular doesn’t necessarily mean volunteering every day, Parsons said. Instead, she said weekly participation would be ideal.
All volunteers benefit organizations like the Soup Kitchen of Muncie and Second Harvest Food Bank — two organizations that work together in many ways.
“I’m able to order food from Second Harvest, and it’s much cheaper than going to a grocery store,” Parsons said.
Parsons said all donations from the community are welcome, but the Soup Kitchen “encourages people to get goods that aren’t readily available — mainly baking goods.”
The food pantry, on the other hand, hopes to bring in more toiletry items and laundry detergent, said Kellie Arrowood, the volunteer coordinator for Second Harvest Food Bank.
To get involved with either organization, Arrowood and Parsons both said they prefer students go through Ball State Student Voluntary Services (SVS).
Parsons said the SVS system has a database of students, as well as better communication tools which allow her to get in touch with prospective volunteers, while Arrowood said she likes the system because it allows her to keep track of who is working when and what hours they log.
Students can get involved with SVS by emailing them or calling them to get added to the list of students and plan a schedule. Students can also respond to the emails sent out when there are volunteering options available.
This Thanksgiving, Parsons said the Soup Kitchen of Muncie will host regularly scheduled meals, but they will be prepared differently than normal.
“For Thanksgiving the past couple of years, we’ve had a family that has prepared meals with some of our regular volunteers,” Parsons said.
Second Harvest Food Bank will also host an evening event on Nov. 29 for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Parsons said the holiday season usually means student volunteering numbers go down, but that doesn’t mean those who stick around aren’t invited to help.
“Once breaks come, we lose some support from BSU,” Parsons said. “But, it provides a nice alternative for people with no commitments over the holidays.”
Contact Trevor Weldy with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.