7 Ways to Give Back in Pittsburgh Over the Holidays

“The More You Grow Into a Helpful Person Yourself, The Happier You’ll Find This World of Ours is.” - Fred Rogers.

Pittsburghers take a lot of pride in being a good neighbor, following the lead of local icon and everyone’s favorite cardigan-wearing, kind-hearted, and timeless teacher, Mr. Rogers. This holiday season, there’s no better way to embrace the Pittsburgh spirit and give back to those in the Steel City than by taking part in one of many events or by joining a volunteer organization in the area. Below are just a few of the many ways to give back to others this holiday season here in Pittsburgh: 

Donate to those in need!

Now through Dec. 13, our Welcome Centers in Fifth Avenue Place and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center are accepting donations for the Hosanna House, a community center aiming to help individuals and families reach their maximum potential. Get details on how you can help here.

1. Help a neighbor clear their snowy driveway

Pittsburgh is no stranger to snowy winters, or even snowy Springs for that matter! The City of Pittsburgh’s Snow Angels Program helps dealing with the wintry seasons a little easier for seniors. Specifically, this program serves as a connection between older residents and residents with disabilities with nearby neighbors to assist them with snow removal from their sidewalks and walkways. Not only does this program help make winter weather less stressful, it helps strengthen neighborhoods and fosters relationships with local residents. 

2. Help a furry friend find a home for the holidays (and forever!) 

Organizations like Animal Friends offer animal-lover volunteers a wide range of opportunities such as spending time with shelter animals, bringing pet therapy to those who need it most, lending a hand at a low-cost clinic, greeting guests at a signature gala, and everything in between! 

3. Run for a good cause

If you’re looking to give back and get a fun winter workout in at the same time, check out the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis taking place on the North Shore on Dec. 14th, 2019. Runners and non-runners alike will enjoy the family-oriented nature of this race including participants dressed up in costumes, clowns, and an appearance from Santa Claus, all while supporting a great cause. 

4. Give diapers to families in need

Diapers are a much-needed and often costly expense for families with little financial support resources available. The Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank helps to provide disposable diapers by coordinating collection drives and then distributing to families in need. Volunteers can help with the coordination and distribution efforts, as well as help be advocates and ambassadors in the community to raise awareness. 

5. Serve a holiday meal to the homeless

For most of us, the holiday season triggers excitement for festive foods and treats shared with our loved ones. But for others, that’s not always the case, and there are several local organizations that have set out to help. Holiday Meals for the Homeless is a program from the Salvation Army that sponsors both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners in the days before and after the holidays. The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank looks for volunteers to help sort, inspect, and box food donations, as well as distribute to people in the area through food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. 412 Food Rescue is an organization where volunteers can help transport food from donors to nonprofit partners. With pick-ups happening daily and logistics coordinated through an easy-to-use mobile app, giving back can take as little as 30 minutes! 

6. Donate a toy to a child in need

Getting presents on Christmas day is an extra special memory for children everywhere, and there are several organizations that have set out to help all children get to experience that joyful moment. Specifically, Toys for Tots is a foundation that helps provide toys to children in need all across the country, and roughly 50,000 children in the Greater Pittsburgh area alone. Volunteers can donate new, unwrapped toys through collection boxes positioned at local businesses.  

7. Deliver a present to a patient

For patients in nursing home facilities, sometimes the holiday season can feel very different than it looks for many of us with jam-packed calendars of family gatherings, social events, and gift giving. Presents for Patients hopes to make the holiday season a less lonely time for patients and connect them with others in the community. Volunteers opportunities include spending time, donating gifts, and hand-delivering presents to nursing homes and assisted living patients located across southwestern Pennsylvania. 

For even more opportunities to get involved and give back in the Pittsburgh area, please check out Pittsburgh Cares