Volunteering: a holiday special?

Levels of compassion spike during the holiday season

Alyssa Lusk, staff writer

Holidays mark the time for joyous celebrations and serve as the perfect opportunity to spend time with those you care about the most. Full of this loving spirit, many people feel the need to give back or help those less fortunate than themselves. Although this feeling is prevalent during the holidays, it fails to be a part of many people’s lives once the season is over.

“I definitely notice more people in the holidays, especially during Christmas and New Year time,” sophomore Celina Selvathambi, who volunteers at INOVA Fairfax Hospital, said. “I think it’s because that’s when they have free time and when we need a lot more volunteers, especially with a lot more accidents happening.”

Even volunteer work that is not as demanding and intense as helping in a hospital seems to significantly increase in the number of volunteers that are eager to assist during the holidays.

“More people come to volunteer during the holidays,” sophomore Dahin Song, who helps out at Open Door Presbyterian Church, said. “I guess they are in a happy mood and they feel the need to give to other people who aren’t as privileged.”

For some, the goal of the holiday season is to genuinely participate in bettering the community.

“We get more friends coming in the holidays because they feel like they lose sight of the season and what it really means,” sophomore Barrett Kinnier, who works with New Life Christian Church to distribute lunches to the homeless people of D.C., said.

With so much emphasis placed on volunteering during the holidays, people tend to forget about helping out during the rest of the year, which can lead to a shortage of volunteers.

“During the end of the school year, from June to July, it’s really bad because we never have enough volunteers,” Selvathambi said. “Everyone’s on vacation and there are so many patients, so we are just frantically running everywhere.”

If feelings of unity and generosity remained after the holiday season and more people volunteered throughout the year, there would be more progress within the community, which would foster prosperity.

“It would definitely make more of a positive impact,” Song said.“Just showing up and showing you care for the people that you serve makes things run a lot more smoothly.”

Allocating time to volunteer is a direct way to help your community, but it is also a major obstacle that holds people back from volunteering. Luckily, there are other ways to help.

“People could donate to the hospital because we need more clothes for the incoming infants and the other kids in pediatrics,” junior Rahul Rampuria, who volunteers at INOVA Fair Oaks Hospital, said.

Although the holidays are a time when volunteering is the most prominent, there is always something that can be done to help, no matter the day, month or year.

“There is always room,” Song said. “Whenever you feel the need to volunteer, whether it’s at a church or another organization, I’d say go for it.” Bharathi Mathivanan