Volunteering This Holiday Season at Hawthorn Hill

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Volunteering This Holiday Season at Hawthorn Hill

The Christmas holiday is quickly approaching (only 57 sleeps to be exact!) and like most parents, we are already beginning to feel the hustle & bustle of the season weighing heavily on our calendar, & our pocketbook.

Hawthorn Hill, volunteering, holiday season

As a mom, this is my absolute favorite time of year (it really is true to whomever originally said, “I thought Christmas as a kid was the best thing ever … until I experienced Christmas with kids!” But, that sentiment never keeps me from feeling stir-crazy.

The family gift exchanges, the Elf, the school music concerts, the Elf, the shopping, the Elf, the visit to see Santa,  the Elf, baking all the Christmas-shaped cookies, did I mention, the Elf?! All of this sucks you into the holiday vortex real quick, and by the end of it all, I can feel like I don’t have a whole lot of Christmas spirit left to give.

But as a mom, I know I have to tap into the reserve tank and use what’s left for what is even more important … then the Elf. The reason for the season. The gift of giving. The magic of it all.

And, that’s where our friends at Hawthorn Hill have shone a light in our hearts for the past two years. Hawthorn Hill is located on Grand Avenue in Des Moines, and their primary mission is to provide housing programs to families with children while assisting them in establishing permanent homes and self-sufficiency skills. Shelter Operations Manager, Kiana Hines, has been incredible in assisting our family as we have explored volunteer options for our family, including our two young daughters (ages 7 & 4).

Since I wanted something our girls could be directly involved with, we opted to bring supplies needed to make edible Christmas tree treats with the families and their children currently residing in the Shelter, and make the treats with them. We have done this for the past two years and it has become a beautiful part of our family’s Christmas tradition. It is our sincere hope that the laughter and sugar, we share during those few hours brings even a bit of holiday warmth and love to these family’s hearts and bellies.

How will you be giving back this holiday season? Take a look at volunteer opportunities all over central Iowa. 

“For it is in giving, that we receive” – St. Francis of Assisi

About the Author

My name is Alissa Swarts. I live in Grimes, IA with my husband and two daughters, Bostyn (7) and Greenley (4). I primarily stay at home with the girls, but I do provide contract educational programming in 6-8th-grade school-based classrooms periodically throughout the school year. I’m currently involved with the North Ride Elementary PTO, Junior Achievement, Girl Scouts and the Meredith Drive Reform Church. When given free time, our family really enjoys going to the movie, visiting with friends & family, and traveling.


Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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