By Councilmember Tawnee McCay
A few years ago, my kids came to me with a great idea. They told me that “all their friends” had various advent calendars leading up to Christmas Day. They would get 25 little treats, toys or small gifts each day before Christmas. They wanted to start this new family tradition at our home. I was left with the feeling that my kids were acting like kids do, a little entitled and not realizing how to feel the true spirit of the season. I thought about it for a few weeks and decided that instead of them getting more gifts, our family would do the 12 Days of Service leading up to Christmas. We were bell ringers, delivered meals, did sub for Santa, worked at the food pantry and my kids were always on the lookout for someone in need. That year was my all-time favorite Christmas!
This year has been extra stressful with the pandemic, earthquakes, job insecurity and the political environment. I am once again feeling the need to focus on serving others this Christmas season to help our family bond, heal and feel the happiness that comes from thinking more about others than ourselves. I decided to share a few local service ideas:
- Andrew Food Pantry – Help with food distribution, call 801-871-5080 to schedule a time to volunteer or donate at 11835 S 3600 W in Riverton. Learn more at standrewut.com/food-pantry.
- Candy Cane Corner – Riverton City is collecting new, unwrapped items that will be distributed through The Road Home. The Road Home has volunteer slots available. You can sign up to volunteer or see items to donate at com.
- Utah Food Bank – Help sort, assemble, deliver or decorate food boxes. Learn more at org/give-time.
- Just Serve – There are many varying volunteer opportunities listed at org.
- Salvation Army Bell Ringers – For details, visit salvationarmy.org.
- Utah Refugee Connection – For details, visit org.
- River High School’s Silver Rush – Go RHS! You are awesome!
- Bear-O Care – Help support individuals with multiple disabilities and their families by donating needed items or your time. Find details at org.
- South Valley Services – Domestic violence service provider, volunteer opportunities or donate urgently needed items, org/get-involved
- A Child’s Hope Foundation – Participate in a service trip for your family or group to serve and play with kids in a family-style orphanage in Mexico. Find details at org.
- Write letters or make cards for residents of assisted living centers.
- Take out a neighbor’s trash, shovel their walks or deliver groceries to a family with COVID-19.
Several of these ideas can also be used for youth or work groups looking to do service. I do not want to create any extra work or stress for anyone during this busy time of year, but if your family is looking for ways to serve others, I thought my research may be helpful. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your city council member if there is anything we can do to help you or your family. The Riverton City Council and our great city staff want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope for a wonderful new year!