Connecting volunteers with opportunities has been Volunteer McKinney’s mission since the nonprofit began in 1998.
“We are the Match.com for volunteerism in McKinney,” Volunteer McKinney Engagement Coordinator Ana Gonzalez said.
The nonprofit works with more than 170 agencies in Collin County with more than 200 volunteer needs, Gonzalez said, including one-time events and ongoing needs.
Volunteer McKinney has a feature on its website where prospective volunteers can choose from an array of interests, such as working with animals or children, which narrows the list of volunteer opportunities based off their choices, and when new opportunities come up in those categories the volunteer will be notified.
Gonzalez said there are several benefits to volunteering besides giving back to one’s community, and volunteering also has proven health benefits, such as fighting depression and regulating blood pressure.
“Volunteering to me is almost like a work of art,” Gonzalez said. “You learn from it; you appreciate the beauty of it; you help somebody.”
The nonprofit is able to operate due to funding from the city of McKinney and sponsors, but it also relies on donations and fundraisers, such as the annual Santa on the Square event, which is ongoing until Dec. 22.
“Some organizations have golf tournaments; some have galas, but we do Santa on the Square,” Gonzalez said. “We wanted to go very unique, and it’s a magical experience for children and [adults of]all ages, special-needs children, animals and well-behaved pet owners to have a 5-minute one-on-one photo session with Santa [Claus] in his tiny workshop that’s located outside the courthouse in downtown McKinney. And it’s by appointment only, so we are the anti-mall experience.”
Gonzalez said although Volunteer McKinney has been fortunate to maintain a steady flow of volunteers over the years, there is always a need for more.
“In life you have to have one hand up to get help, but you also have to have one hand down to help [others],” she said.
How to get involved
- Research causes and issues of interest
- Search www.volunteermckinney.org and find organizations
- Decide how much time to commit volunteering
- Fill out an online profile
- Select a time and organization, show up and help out
400 W. Virginia St., Ste. 100, McKinney