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The gift wrapping booth at Park City Center, which benefits United Disabilities Services, needs volunteers from Nov. 24 through Dec. 24.

This week’s Thanksgiving holiday gives us time to give thanks for good things in our lives, including safety, health, family, friends and community. Thanksgiving is a celebration of the things that bring us together, and I am thankful for everything that volunteers do in our community that bring us together.

Volunteers in our community give their time, labor and expertise to serve in a vast variety of ways. Some volunteer work is focused on doing work that directly advances an organization’s mission, like tutoring or staffing a resource center. Other kinds of volunteer work focus on providing support by assisting with office work or doing cleanup so an organization’s staff has more time to spend with people the organization serves. Both kinds of volunteer service are of great value, allowing for more good work to get done that benefits the community.

Around Lancaster County you will find volunteers stocking food and serving at food pantries and community meals, caring for community and school gardens, leading environmental restoration and cleanup efforts and painting the walls of community centers and transitional housing spaces. Volunteers are all around our community, helping in classrooms, serving as poll workers, aiding in retirement communities and nursing homes, shelving books at the library, coaching children’s sports and supporting the performing arts. Volunteers are also guiding and leading nonprofit organizations that are pillars of our community by serving on their governance boards and committees.

In addition to all these ways that people formally volunteer, our community is full of people who serve informally by helping neighbors with their groceries, doing their raking and shoveling or watching their children when some extra help is needed.

Every act of service in our community makes it a better place to live. Thank you volunteers!

Holiday volunteering

Join in the holiday spirit and take some time to serve by volunteering or donating to benefit neighbors in our community. There are a variety of holiday-related opportunities for volunteering and donating at

Volunteer gift wrapping

Serve as a volunteer gift wrapper at Park City Center to benefit United Disabilities Services. Volunteers can sign up for a shift as an individual or a small group from Nov. 24 through Dec. 24. Last year over 100 volunteers helped wrap more than 2,000 gifts. The funds raised through the Gift Wrap Booth support UDS programs and services that benefit people with physical and age-related disabilities.

To find out more, see a great gift-wrapping tutorial video and volunteer, visit

Volunteer with library bookstore

Lancaster Public Library’s Marshall Street Bookstore is looking for a volunteer to serve as bookstore manager. The bookstore, which is staffed by volunteers, sells gently used books, with the proceeds helping support the public library.

This is a perfect role for someone who enjoys mixing with people of all ages and helping customers find books, and who doesn’t mind using a cash register and credit card machine.

The manager maintains stock, coordinates and trains volunteers, creates reports and works shifts each month. Ideally, the volunteer will have flexible weekday availability. This is a big role, and co-managers leading together is possible.

To find out more and to volunteer, visit

More volunteer opportunities

Visit the United Way of Lancaster County’s Get Connected volunteer portal at

At the site you’ll find a variety of volunteer needs from around the county, including direct service, skills-based service and nonprofit board service, and you’ll be able to sign up for updates as new needs are submitted.

Joel Janisewski is director of the volunteer center and community listening for United Way of Lancaster County.

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