In the spirit - Page 2

The Guardian's guide to holiday giving
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Photo by Brandon Joseph Baker

1, 2008.

(415) 554-3000, www.sfspca.org

Getting involved with any of these groups should add some good old-fashioned, what-it's-all-really-about cheer to your holiday season. And if you really want to maximize your impact, keep these things in mind when volunteering:

(1) Always register for an event before showing up.

(2) Expect some dirty work. Volunteering isn't all about handing out toys to kids. You may need to do a number of unglamorous duties associated with setting up big events.

(3) Consider volunteering more than two hours out of your busy year or making a contribution to an organization that speaks to your heart. How about Wavy Gravy favorite the Seva Foundation (1786 Fifth St., Berk.; 510-845-7382, www.seva.org), which gives aid to needy people internationally — from health support in Guatemala to eye care in Tanzania? Or Heifer International (www.heifer.org), through which you can send gifts of llamas, rabbits, and goats to communities that need them? And don't forget local nonprofits, including those helping to clean up the oil spill. *

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