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'We're the home of the volunteers, it's who we are' | How to be a true Vol and give back this holiday season

There's always an emphasis on help during the holidays.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — One of the most important parts of the holidays is giving back and a lot of organizations are asking for your help.

If you're looking for a more interactive way to give back, Volunteer East Tennessee can help. Their new online guide of holiday volunteering can help connect you with more than 25 nonprofits. 

From volunteering at the annual Turkey Trot or helping decorate Ijams, to committing to being a mentor for kids the holiday guide makes it easy to find something you and your entire family can enjoy.

"It's in our blood, it's in our DNA and we want to help our neighbors," said Volunteer East Tennessee executive director Alyson Gallaher. 

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Trying to think of Knoxville without volunteers is almost impossible. 

"We're the volunteer state, we're in Knoxville, we're the home of the volunteers, it's who we are," she said. 

While the need for more volunteers and donations is something nonprofits and community organizations need year round, there's always an emphasis on help during the holidays. 

"So much of what makes Knoxville great is how much we care for everyone," said Brewton Couch with United Way of Greater Knoxville. She said they raised more than $12 million to help 173,000 lives in the community last year. 

United Way supports more than 100 local programs and Couch says the easiest way to help is through donations.

"It's easier now than ever to give back from the comfort of your own home," she said. 

But if you're looking for a more hands on approach, Gallaher said their 4th annual Holiday Guide to Volunteering has the answers. "Whether it's a small act or large acts of kindness it's all encompassing there are some fun light hearted ways to serve in our community. There are also some more serious ways meeting not bigger needs but different needs in our community," she said. 

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RELATED: The Holiday Guide to Volunteering

Gallaher said it offers the opportunity for people to start a new hobby of giving back and hopefully stick with it in the new year, "It's really important to who we are as a community."

Because without volunteers, we wouldn't be Tennessee. 

United Way will be hosting a collective fundraising effort on December 3 to raise money for more than 100 non profits. 

You can find more about Volunteer East Tennessee here.

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