There are so many opportunities to be involved in the community, sometimes it’s difficult to choose. Time, space and location are all factors to consider. My family supports two causes that are dear to our hearts–literacy and animals. Read on for two great volunteer opportunities in Washington D.C.
The Books to Prisons website states their mission is to provide free books to prisoners all over the country. Prisoners write letters of request, indicating topics or titles of interest. Volunteers then read the letters, verify prison package restrictions, then attempt to fulfill the requests based on stock on hand. All books have been donated, and the Foundry United Methodist Church has provided a room they use as a small “library.” Books are sorted by general category, to facilitate fulfilling prisoner requests. Volunteers write replies to the prisoners’ letters; the books and packaged, addressed, and postage is affixed. Hundreds more letters of request are received each month than can possibly be answered or fulfilled.
Volunteers are invited to meet together each Wednesday evening from 5:30 – 9:00 pm. A time commitment is not required; you can drop in one week a month or each week. The Foundry United Methodist Church is located in Washington DC. See “Volunteer” page on the Books to Prisons website for further details. Cash donations (tax-deductible) are also most welcome, to help pay the postage costs.
The second organization we devote our time and energy to is the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). My children were heartbroken at the stories of neglect and abuse on the SPCA-NOVA website. At their urging, we contacted the SPCA last year to apply to be foster parents. There is a great need in our community for families to open their hearts and homes to little animals in distress.
Being foster parents requires time and space in your home to shelter an abandoned or homeless animal. Applications are screened, then once an application is approved, you wait for your first charge to arrive. We received our first pair of kittens almost immediately–cousins, rescued from a hoarding situation with over 30 cats. We fell in love with those kittens immediately and applied to adopt them ourselves. Currently, we are fostering three 9-week old kittens that were abandoned outdoors in a box. The SPCA rescued them, gave them medical care, and we are their first foster parents. My daughter had the honor of naming them!
This is an important commitment of time and energy, but it is extremely rewarding. Take a look at the foster care application details. Cash donations (tax-deductible) are also welcome. My daughter chooses to support the SCPA with a donation each year on her birthday — friends are invited to contribute to the donation in lieu of gifts.