“Volunteer” column for Nov. 18, 2012

Volunteer opportunities, provided by Volunteer! United (formerly Volunteer! Baton Rouge), are outlined in this column every Sunday. To learn more about these opportunities, contact the listed agency directly.

HELP OTHERS WITH THEIR TAXES, Capital Area United Way — Jillian Sergio, (225) 382-3507 or jillians@cauw.org: Capital Area United Way is seeking Volunteer Income Tax Assistance volunteers for the 2013 tax season.

VITA volunteers will receive training from the IRS to provide free tax preparation for low- to moderate-income families who need assistance with their tax returns, which in turn helps provide more financially stable futures for community members.

For more information, visit http://www.cauw.org/taxprep or contact Sergio.

COMMUNITY COMES TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge — Kayla Richard, (225) 336-8700 or krichard@ccdiobr.org: This program connects families in need of Christmas gifts with sponsors in the community.

People choose a family to sponsor, purchase gifts for it, and deliver the gifts to Catholic Charities or the sponsored family’s home.

Volunteers can assist with data entry now through Dec. 7, helping to organize the information needed for families to receive gifts.

Catholic Charities also needs help from Dec. 12-17 to help sort and distribute gifts or deliver gifts to sponsored families.

For more information or to volunteer, contact Richard.

CELEBRATE WITH US, Capital Area Alliance for the Homeless — Mora Hedayati, (225) 388-5855 or mhedayati@homelessinbr.org: This month marks the one-year anniversary of the One Stop Homeless Services Center, run by the Capital Area Alliance for the Homeless. Activities are scheduled from Nov. 26-30 to celebrate the anniversary, and volunteers are needed to help prepare for and staff the events.

Food (baked goods, sandwiches, chips and other snacks) and toiletry donations are also being accepted. Contact Hedayati for more information.

HOPE UNDER THE TREE, Volunteers of America — Greta Patterson, (225) 408-3796 or development@voagbr.org: Volunteers of America serves thousands of individuals and families every year by providing housing to homeless families, support to people with disabilities, affordable housing for the elderly, and foster family placements for abused and neglected children and youth.

By sponsoring a family, individual or child through the Hope Under the Tree program, Christmas gifts will be provided to those who would otherwise have nothing under their trees.

Email or call to select from VOA’s wish list.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED, Capital Area CASA — Emily Hebert, (225) 379-8598: Capital Area CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Association, a nonprofit organization that recruits, trains and supervises community volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children, will hold its next volunteer training course beginning Jan. 8.

CASA needs the help of community volunteers in order to continue to provide an advocate for every abused child who needs one. No special experience is required other than a willingness to get involved and to learn. Volunteers must be 21 years old.

The first step to getting involved is to attend a brief orientation at the CASA office. Call or visit online at http://www.casabr.org for more information.

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