Volunteering during the holidays is a great way to give the less fortunate a holiday to remember. Whether you help feed the hungry, visit the elderly, deliver meals to those who are sick or home bound, or spend time with patients in a hospital, your time is one of the best gifts you can give. Grab the family and help out one of these Boston organizations this holiday season.

(Photo Credit: Greater Boston Food Bank)

Greater Boston Food Bank
70 S. Bay Ave.
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 427-5200

When you volunteer with the Greater Boston Food Bank, you help local food banks and pantries in Eastern Massachusetts. Help feed the hungry by sorting, bagging and boxing food for families. Children must be at least 16 years old, and must be accompanied by an adult if they’re younger than 18. Children as young as 10 years old can volunteer in the Kids Who Care program. Groups of five or more must schedule in advance. The GBFB requires a minimum of three hours because there is training involved.

(Photo Credit: Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly)

Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly
3305 Washington St.
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
(617) 524-8882

Help make someone’s holiday brighter by spending time with them. Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly is an organization geared toward bringing companionship to the elderly who might otherwise have none. Bring food and flowers, and visit with an elderly individual this holiday season. Anticipate about three hours for both travel and visiting time. If you’re unable to tote around your young ones, but want to teach them the gift of giving, participate in holiday baking. Your children can help bake cookies, pies, brownies or other desserts for the many holiday parties and programs put on by Friends of the Elderly.

Related: Boston’s Best Volunteer Opportunities for Kids

(Photo Credit: Christmas in the City)

Christmas in the City
45 Franklin St.
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 651-2482

Christmas in the City helps families who may be homeless or living in poverty celebrate the holidays regardless. It provides meals and gifts, and hosts an annual holiday party for families and children living in shelters. Be part of the magic, and help create a memorable holiday season for those living in shelters. Teach your children the value of giving to others, and take part in buying gifts for other children by being a Wishlist Angel.

(Photo Credit: Community Servings)

Community Servings
18 Marbury Terrace
Boston, MA 02130
(617) 522-7777

It’s not just poverty that leads to hungry families. Community Servings brings food to people fighting illnesses like cancer, lupus, multiple sclerosis and HIV/AIDS. The program even caters to their special dietary needs. Help serve your community by packaging meals, helping with special events or delivering meals to clients. Morning, noon and night, volunteers are needed all week long for a couple of hours or longer. Spend time together as a family, and make this holiday easier, brighter and better for those fighting illness.

Boston Medical Center

Boston Medical Center
85 E. Concord St.
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 414-5122

Many people have no choice but to spend their holidays in the hospital. Be a beacon of hope and light, and volunteer at Boston Medical Center. Sit with children doing artwork, or participate in the Reach Out and Read program. Help support the families of pediatric patients, and provide comfort in a time of need. Make the holidays a little less lonely for adults who have no family. Just hang out and talk with patients or be there for moral support. All volunteers must complete an application and commit to a minimum of three months.

Related: Boston’s Best Way to Spend a Fall Day with the Family

Nicole Adams resides on the South Shore of Massachusetts. She is a freelance writer specializing in animal welfare. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.