How You Can Give Back This Holiday Season

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The holidays are a time for cheer, caring and giving —for friends, family and strangers too. There are plenty of ways to spread the love this season, and you can start right here in State College.

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Lion’s Pantry

Lion’s Pantry is Penn State’s on-campus food pantry that helps to mitigate food insecurity by providing food and other resources directly to students. There are many ways to help out and contribute to the Lion’s Pantry.

One way is by donating food. The Lion’s Pantry accepts non-perishable, unopened and unexpired food and household item donations. Check out their Amazon Wish List to have most needed items shipped directly to The Pantry. Another way to give back is by giving your time! They are open Sundays and Fridays from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. and Tuesdays from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.

For volunteer opportunities, email Emily Griffin, Volunteer Coordinator, at

Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Centre County

Big Brothers and Big Sisters is an organization that pairs a youth, ages 5 to 16 years, with an adult who will serve as the child’s mentor. Matches meet on their own schedule, two to 4 four a month doing things that they both enjoy. This big-little program is an incredible way to create opportunities for hope, build confidence and add some magic to this holiday season.

For more information about scheduling, requirements and more, visit their website here.

Centre House Shelter

The Centre House shelter provides temporary housing for people struggling to get back on their feet. The shelter is always looking for volunteers to help with a variety of different things, such as working in the office on a weekly or monthly basis to help with administrative efforts or help with fundraising.

Donations are just as helpful, check out their website to see what items are on their wish list or to get more information about volunteer opportunities.

St Andrew’s Community Cafe

Located right on College Ave. in downtown State College, St. Andrews Community Cafe offers tons of different ways to give back to your community. From cooking to serving to preparing menus based on grocery items donated from Trader Joe’s and Wegmans, there is something for everyone! Visit their website for more information regarding sign-up sheets and times.

Fleece and Thank You

Like to DIY? Love helping those around you? Fleece and Thank you is a charity program dedicated to providing blankets to children’s hospitals to make children undergoing treatment feel a little cozier and at home. Visit their website to get started!

Beyond the State College circle, there are so many virtual charity programs to get involved with as well. Below is a list of charities that you can get involved with from anywhere.

Angel Tree Christmas

There are 1.5 children in America with an incarcerated parent, according to These kids can feel lonely or sad around the holidays. Angel Tree Christmas takes gift suggestions from incarcerated parents and then distributes the presents on their behalf, to remind those children that they are cared for and loved —even from afar. To learn more visit: to register or donate.

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels is an awesome organization on a mission to provide nutritious food and quality time to seniors citizens who struggle with food insecurity and lack transportation to places like soup kitchens or food banks. Help stop seniors from going hungry over the holidays by delivering warm meals, spending time and making friendships with some of the elderly or making a donation to support independent senior living. You can be a part of Meals on Wheels in your home town or contact the Meals on Wheels located right here in State College.

How do you give back around the holidays? Tweet us and let us know @VALLEYmag!


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