Spreading Holiday Joy to People Experiencing Homelessness in Philadelphia

Community members looking to spread joy this holiday season to individuals experiencing homelessness at 16 shelters can volunteer or donate in Philadelphia.

Online PR News – 03-November-2021 – Philadelphia – This holiday season, people across the area can assist individuals experiencing homelessness at Bethesda Project. With the pandemic requiring social distancing and prohibiting visitors on-site, Bethesda Project is asking the public for their help building “that holiday feeling” at our 16 sites though volunteer opportunities or donating winter and holiday essentials.

“For many of our guests and residents, the holidays can be difficult or lonely, especially as the pandemic continues,” says Volunteer and Community Life Manager Jeffrey Isaacson. While many guests and residents don’t have the means or ability to travel to see their families due to COVID, people in the local area can help make guests and residents’ seasons bright and help give them a holiday to look forward to.
“People in our community really make a difference during the holidays and spread the spirit of the season – compassion, joy, and community – in small ways that make a huge impact,” notes Isaacson. “Community members can help by preparing and dropping off meals, helping provide small, but meaningful holiday gifts like backpacks and gift cards that guests and residents use throughout the year, or even sending holiday cards to our shelters and residences.”

Community members can also assist through outdoor and/or virtual volunteer opportunities that boost guests and residents’ holiday spirits. Such opportunities can be coordinated by large groups (such as schools, churches, or companies) or individuals.

Individuals can help make a difference for guests and residents this holiday season in several ways, including:
• Dropping off food (homecooked or sponsored from restaurant) throughout the season, including Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day
• Making holiday treats (cookies, candy canes, etc.) or holiday decorations. One fun remote volunteer activity is to create cookie decorating kits for sites to decorate cookies together
• Sending holiday cards to guests and residents (this is a great group activity!)
• Hosting a virtual or in-person (outdoor) festive event with guests and residents (such as caroling, hosting an outdoor hot cocoa + cookies event, etc.)
• Purchasing items for guest and residents’ holiday gifts such as $25 gift cards (for places such as Target, Walmart, Wawa, CVS, etc.), backpacks, and/or thermals/long-johns
• Individuals can also purchase items on our 2021 Amazon Holiday Wishlist.

For questions or to arrange a donation drop-off, please contact communitylife@bethesdaproject.org. For more information, please visit: https://www.bethesdaproject.org/how-to-help-during-the-holidays

About Bethesda Project:
Since 1979, Bethesda Project has been providing emergency shelter, housing, and supportive services for thousands of individuals experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia. For more information, please visit http://www.bethesdaproject.org.