There are many, many wonderful, charitable places worthy of your precious time. Here are just a few ideas from the Times' staff. But don't stop here — especially if none of these strikes your fancy. Just Google your passion and the word "volunteer." Chances are good something will pop up. Patti Ewald, Times staff writer
These groups could use a little of your time
THE SALVATION ARMY needs you — from ringing a bell to serving food to collecting canned goods to reading a story to a child, you can help. For information, email gail_Stark@uss.salvationarmy.org or call (727) 550-8080 ext. 332.
HERITAGE VILLAGE: Uses volunteers for everything from docents to groundskeepers to craft demonstrators. pinellascounty.org/heritage/volunteering.htm or (727) 582-2125.
ELVES FOR ELDERS: The Office on Aging provides gifts for those who might otherwise be forgotten during the holidays by having "Elf Givers" pick names off Christmas trees located around Pinellas County and buy the gifts requested. It needs volunteers the first two weeks of December to act as elves, sorting, organizing and filling bags. Then, help is needed getting the gifts to the agencies that provided the names. Contact Carol Radin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-7102 for information.
GIRLS INC., 7700 61st St. N, Pinellas Park, was established in 1961 to inspire girls to be strong despite the challenges they face, such as poverty and abuse. It needs volunteers in several capacities. Information at girlsinc-pinellas.org.
ST. ANTHONY'S HOSPITAL, 1200 Seventh Ave. N, St. Petersburg, is looking for volunteers to work the information desk and many other places. stanthonys.com/body.cfm?id=744
ST. PETERSBURG FREE CLINIC, 863 Third Ave N, St. Petersburg, always needs people to help the less fortunate find basic needs such as food, shelter and medical care. The clinic also needs people to stock food shelves, clean up a little and perform other duties. stpetersburgfreeclinic.org/volunteer-openings.
MEALS ON WHEELS: Pasco County is currently in need of delivery drivers in its Elderly Nutrition program. You'll find many other Pasco volunteer opportunities here, too: pascocountyfl.net/index.aspx?NID=282
THE DR. CARTER G. WOODSON AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM, 2240 Ninth Ave. S, St. Petersburg, is always looking for volunteers. (727) 323-1104. (Check out other museums, too.)
THE MISSION OF DAYSTAR LIFE CENTER, 226 Sixth St. S, St. Petersburg, is people helping people. Director Jane Trocheck Walker and her staff could use your help. (727) 825-0442.
The neonatal intensive care unit at ALL CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL uses volunteers to hold babies when parents can't be there and to sew quilts, blankets and items for the babies.
Somebody's got to build and maintain the 2,000 miles of HIKING TRAILS in Florida. Want to help? floridatrail.org/html/for_our_volunteers.cfm or floridatrail.org/html/page.cfm/suncoast.
• Guardian Ad Litem programs (check your county courts)
• Menorah Manor
• Suncoast and other hospices. thehospice.org/special-pages/volunteer
• Pet shelters and humane societies (check your county's listings). They also need foster homes for pets.
• Pinellas County Volunteer Services. pinellascounty.org/volserv/default.htm
• Mentoring programs
• Help veterans at www.volunteer.va.gov/apps/volunteernow