Good Deeds: Show You Care This Holiday Season by Volunteering Time and Food

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Most of the year we use this blog to tell you about all the great food there is in Houston. We tell you what gifts to buy for the food-lovers on your list, where to eat a nice meal out and which hot restaurants are opening.

But this time of year, we want to remind you that for many, these words are meaningless. Thousands of Houstonians don't have the money to go out for a fancy dinner or the means to care about which new restaurant excites us this month.

So if you have time this holiday season, consider thinking about one of the following organizations. You can volunteer time, money or food to make sure that your fellow Houstonians have enough to eat in this season of plenty. Spread the love, you guys.

Here are some ways to show you care...

Host a food drive for the Houston Food Bank If you've been trying to figure out ways to get your office more involved with the community, set up a food drive and invite your co-workers to help. The Houston Food Bank provides plenty of information about how to get a food drive started. Here's what they suggest, and it's not too late:

1. Choose a person to lead your efforts 2. Decide on a time and place to collect food 3. Register your food drive at houstonfoodbank.org/fooddrive.aspx 4. Pick up food drive supplies - boxes, posters, money canisters (after you register) 5. Start collecting

You can check online for the items that the Food Bank needs the most, and contact Yolanda Alexander, community events and engagement coordinator, at 713-547-8670 for more information.

Volunteer for City Wide Club's Annual Christmas Eve Big Feast For the past 35 years, City Wide Club has hosted thousands of people for the Christmas Eve Big Feast on December 24. At the event, held at the George R. Brown Convention Center, people will get not only hot, nutritious meals, but also, according to the organization's website, "clothing, household items, shoes, blankets, coats, jackets, flu shots, medical examinations, food baskets and more." City Wide Club needs volunteers for two shifts on Christmas Eve -- a 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. shift and a 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. shift. The organization also needs nonperishable food items and household goods. To find out how to help by donating items or time, call 713-752-2582.

Serve a meal for Star of Hope Because Houstonians are so generous and awesome, Star of Hope already has all the volunteers it needs to serve meals on Christmas Day. However, the Christian organization for homeless men, women and children serves three meals a day, 365 days a year. They may not need your help on Christmas, but they sure could use it on any other day of the year. Why not volunteer to cook and serve some meals (and clean up afterward) on the day after Christmas, when many people are over the holiday spirit of giving and return to the daily grind? Check out the list of volunteer and service opportunities online to see how you can help.

Help out Houston's hungry pets We tend to think alot about our hungry neighbors during the holiday season, but what about the millions of animals in the city? The Houston SPCA wants to make sure that the pets of Meals on Wheels seniors aren't forgotten, so they're collecting wet and dry dog and cat food for the aniMeals on Wheels program through December 13. The HSPCA hopes to collect 48,000 pounds of pet food to feed the animals for the first six months of 2014. Every month, volunteers deliver more than 8,000 pounds of dog and cat food to more than 1,100 pets and their homebound owners, and all of that food is acquired through donations. Go online to see the drop off locations and to find out how you can volunteer to bring food to seniors throughout the year.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

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Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.