12/14/2013 12:15 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST

Vancouver Christmas Volunteering: Where To Lend A Hand

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Looking to give back this holiday season? Good for you!

It can be difficult to navigate the many volunteering opportunities that are available in a large city like Vancouver, so we're here to help. Below is a list of some specific events, some broad organizations, and some in between, so that you can lend a hand in the city during Christmas.

Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.

Carnegie Community Centre Association

Carnegie Community Centre is an inner city community centre offering diverse recreation programs to meet the needs of the Downtown Eastside. Located at 401 Main St. They need volunteers for: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day to help serve food and beverages.

You must apply ahead of time. Click here for more information.

Be a kettle host in The Salvation Army's Christmas Kettle Campaign. Various locations across B.C. allow you to collect donations for shifts that last two to four hours. Click here to learn more.

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society has many opportunities for people to volunteer their time, whether it's at the warehouses, events, or depots. Find out more here.

First United Church is currently looking for prayer chain volunteers, thrift store volunteers, shelter phone volunteers, and more. 320 East Hastings St.

You can volunteer to wrap gifts with the Canadian Mental Health Association. Each year, hundreds of volunteers come together to wrap gifts that raise money for programs and services to support people struggling with the challenges and stigma of mental illness. Gift wrapping takes place at the Bay downtown Vancouver (674 Granville St.). To apply, go here.

CIAO (Christmas Inside And Out) Van, an organization that gives full stockings away to residents of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, is always in need of donations and helping hands. Check out their Wish List to see what items they still need, and contact them directly to find out where they need volunteers.

The 25th Annual Oppenheimer Christmas Dinner is taking place at Oppenheimer Park on Saturday, Dec. 21. Last year, volunteers served turkey dinner to over 3,500 people and gave away clothing and toiletries to many in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Preparations start at 8 a.m., with food being served at noon. Apply to help out here.

To lend a hand sorting toys and completing other tasks to make sure every child is happy on Christmas, check out the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. Contact them directly for specific opportunities.

Union Gospel Mission focuses on urban relief in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Email them at to find out what kind of help they need right now.

The Downtown Eastside Women's Centre (focused on providing basics like clothing, food, and refuge for downtown Vancouver's women) needs people to help out with everything from special events to food prep to clothing room attendants. Full list here.

Homeless aid organization the Lookout Emergency Aid Society is in constant need of volunteers for tasks such as Christmas coordinating, seasonal decorating, acting as Santa, and clothing room coordinating. Their full list can be found here.

A Loving Spoonful provides food for Vancouver men, women, and children suffering with AIDS. You can donate food, or volunteer your time as a driver, assistant, or special events coordinator.

Whether you want to make deliveries, help with events, register new families, or sort toys, there is lots of time to be given with the Surrey Christmas Bureau. To apply for a position, go here. 10688 King George Blvd.

Still not sure what you're looking for? Check out Go Volunteer—it lets you pick your location and browse current volunteer openings. And visit Volunteer BC for a full list of volunteer centres across the province. The Greater Vancouver Shelter Strategy lists out all of the homeless shelters in the area, allowing you to find and volunteer at one in your neighbourhood.

Happy Holidays!

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