Nonprofit Volunteer McKinney connects people with their passions

Volunteer McKinney works with 177 organizations and offers volunteer opportunities at various events, including Make a Difference Day.

Volunteer McKinney works with 177 organizations and offers volunteer opportunities at various events, including Make a Difference Day.

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Volunteer McKinney
Image description
Volunteer McKinney
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.
By Emily Davis
Emily graduated from Sam Houston State University with a degree in multi-platform journalism and a minor in criminal justice in Spring 2018. During her studies, Emily worked as an editor and reporter at The Houstonian, SHSU's local newspaper. Upon graduation, she began an editorial internship at Community Impact Newspaper in DFW, where she was then hired as Community Impact's first McKinney reporter in August 2018.