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Ways to give back this holiday season

Nadia+Ciubotaru+at+the+Blue+Star+Equiculture+farm+in+Palmer%2C+Mass.
Nadia Ciubotaru at the Blue Star Equiculture farm in Palmer, Mass.

Nadia Ciubotaru at the Blue Star Equiculture farm in Palmer, Mass.

Nadia Ciubotaru at the Blue Star Equiculture farm in Palmer, Mass.

Nadia Ciubotaru, Staff Writer

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

With the semester almost complete and everyone heading to holiday parties and gifts waiting at home, a student can’t help but feel a sense of excitement.

This season is filled with joy. This is the season to give back, so when you go home this break and want to find ways to give back this season, here are some ideas.

Participate in holiday food drives. There are plenty of holiday food drives around so do some research in your local town to find local food drives that you can participate in.

If you are a local in the Springfield area, you might want to consider Open Pantry Community Services, which provides holiday meals to anyone in need of a meal or for those who wish to spend Christmas with others. Open Pantry welcomes individuals and groups of volunteers to help at their Holiday Meal Program.

Another great organization to volunteer for this holiday season is Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County. They are seeking dedicated adults to serve as positive role models in local children’s lives in our community.

Bigs (mentors) commit to three college semesters and meet once per week with their Little, as well as regular case supervision and volunteer training. So this is a great way to give back not just during the holiday season, but throughout the year and it is a great opportunity to be a good example in a child’s life.

During a time when warm homes are full of gathering families, the homeless are left feeling particularly isolated. There are a number of ways for volunteers can help the homeless during the holiday season, such as serving food at shelters and soup kitchens, building homes, or offering job training.

But the most simple of them all is just helping a regular homeless person on the street – maybe buying them a small gift, a hot meal, or bringing them socks or shoes.

I also want to share a personal organization that I had the pleasure of meeting this semester that is worthy of a mention.

Blue Star Equiculture is a Palmer-based horse sanctuary for retired, disabled and abandoned horses.

They specialize in retiring working horses whose owners can no longer keep them. Over the years, they have retired over 300 New York City and urban carriage horses, farm horses, logging horses and police horses.

“I think ours is one of the rare horse farms in the country where we are completely open to the public, we’re open in many different ways,” said Pam Rickenback, founder of Blue Star Equiculture. “You have volunteer opportunities here, and also have internships here where you can learn to drive the horses.”

The farm is completely open to the public, so if you are feeling stressed from all the finals, you can head to Palmer for a stress relieving bonding time with the amazing creatures.

In addition to their volunteer opportunities, if you are able to be a financial sponsor you can also join the herd and become a monthly sponsor.

While there are many ways of helping and giving back this holiday season, find a way to do something – whether big or small – when you go back home this break.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Ways to give back this holiday season”

  1. Pamela Robinson on December 5th, 2017 12:15 pm

    Hello, I think it’s wonderful that you are providing ways we can give back! I wanted to share also that the Office of the Registrar has ‘adopted’ several children from the local Children’s Study Home, right here in Springfield! We were provided with ‘wish lists’ from the Home and are able to buy these children a little something for the holiday.

    If you wanted to post this agency as another way to give, contact Scott Howell, Director of the Children’s Study Home at 413-739-5626 x147.
    Thanks,
    Pamela Robinson
    Associate Registrar

    [Reply]

    adviser Reply:

    Thanks for sharing this information, Pamela! And thanks for reading!
    -Robby Ollari

    [Reply]

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Ways to give back this holiday season