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2 Valley charities help both young and old volunteer

On Aug. 25, 2013, Families Giving Back held a pantry stocking event at Children First Academy where families stocked the pantry shelves with nonperishable food items they donated. (Families Giving Back Photo)

PHOENIX -- Looking to volunteer? It's National Volunteer Week and two Valley charities can help you get started.

For more than 20 years, HandsOn Greater Phoenix has been connecting volunteers with nonprofits who need a little help.

CEO Rhonda Oliver said last year that 22,000 volunteers contributed more than 70,000 hours to improve communities.

"We have projects nearly everyday," she said. "There is something for everyone."

Over at Families Giving Back, co-founder Alexandra Sklar makes sure children are not forgotten in the volunteering process. In 2012, she and friend Lisa Geyser created the nonprofit, which organizes family-friendly volunteer projects for all ages.

With Families Giving Back, kids and adults have stocked food pantries, participated in beautification projects and made bracelets for sick children. Sklar said she has seen the impact in her own children "in their ability to appreciate what they have in their lives and also their desire to give back to others."

Projects through Families Giving Back generally last 90 minutes or less, while HandsOn Greater Phoenix offers short and long-term projects.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency, 24.2 percent of Arizonans volunteer, ranking it No. 41. Utah has the highest percentage at 43.8 percent and Louisiana the lowest at 20.4 percent.

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