Service opportunities arise during holiday season


Alexis Hoedeman

Many BSM students seek to volunteer at PRISM not only during the holidays, but year-round.

As the holidays approach, the spirit of Christmas cheer seeps through BSM. With the Christmas mood comes a holiday that promises family, friends, and community. However, for some, this isn’t reality. Luckily, your help could very well make someone’s Christmas. “There’s a culture of service here at BSM that’s been present for a very long time, and that goes back decades and continues to remain alive and flourishing. I think that our kids are just really nice, caring people, and when asked to help others, they consistently, consistently answer the call for help,” says Service Learning Coordinator Lisa Lenhart-Murphy.

Besides the obvious Toys for Tots Christmas Tree in the library, there are other worthy volunteering opportunities around the Twin Cities. Here are some of our favorites, and how you can get involved.

Easily one of the most popular volunteering organizations around the Twin Cities, the iconic “bell ringers” from the Salvation Army can be found in nearly any public area. The bell ringers volunteer to be a friendly reminder to give back during the holiday season. While it may seem chilly, being a bell-ringer is an easy way to do good, only takes an hour of your time, and the hour you spend ringing raises enough money to provide a family in need with two bags of groceries. This holiday-oriented volunteer opportunity runs through Christmas Eve, and it’s simple to find volunteering near you. To register for bell ringing in the Twin Cities, call the bell ringing hotline at 651-746-3519 or sign up online on the Salvation Army’s website.

I think that not only is the culture of BSM service-oriented, but also so prevalent in many of the classrooms that teach about Catholic Social Teachings and social justice, especially in the Theology classes, but also in all the other academic areas.”

— Service Learning Coordinator Lisa Lenhart-Murphy

“Holiday Helpers,” as they’re called at People Serving People, can volunteer either individually or in a group to be a Meal Server to homeless men, women, and children over the holidays. People Serving People are in need of volunteers through January, and you (and a group of friends) can serve breakfast, lunch, or dinner to people in need. Most volunteering services are 2-4 hours, depending on the number of people, and can be hugely helpful towards people without homes over the cold holidays who are in need of a meal.

At Neighbors Inc., volunteers are offered a unique holiday volunteering opportunity, where you or a group are assigned a family or senior citizen for which you will shop. Volunteers are given a person’s first name, age, gender, size and most needed clothing items, colors they like and games or toys they want. Neighbors Inc. provides the number of family members for those who wish to include a holiday meal. Although you won’t actually be able to meet the family that you’ll be helping, it’s a different way to have a personal and meaningful way to share Christmas with people they haven’t met. For more information, visit their website, or call 651-272-1101.

Every week, Cub Foods donates food to PRISM, and this year is no exception. However, Cub is now offering another holiday opportunity for PRISM to bag groceries and spread awareness as well, for which they need volunteers. Cub is hosting volunteers for PRISM on December 22 and 23, from 10-6 both days (volunteer shifts are four hours).