VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The region’s volunteer organization has kicked off its first family volunteer week.

For 23 years, VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads has held a Family Volunteer Day to give businesses and individuals an opportunity to give back to the community through nonprofit organizations for Thanksgiving.

“Most of the public will call or want to help during Thanksgiving but many of our volunteers are booked with shifts for Thanksgiving months out, or they’re not open during the holidays for people to come out,” said Stephanie Gorham, who is the CEO of Volunteer Hampton Roads.

Family Volunteer Week goes from Nov. 15 through the 20.

Gorham says it’s been a hard year for nonprofits and the help is really needed.

“We saw a huge increase for services like serving food, distributing food, delivering food but we saw a decline with helping nonprofits for other essential services that help keep them going,” she said. “That’s why it’s important to show up now and help get these projects now. The nonprofits depend on the public. They depend on volunteers to complete their mission in more ways than I can list right now from maintenance, help with their websites, help with food distribution. A lot of those things were set aside during the pandemic because we were trying to be safe.”

There are 13 designated service projects that will help 12 nonprofits through volunteer week.

Gorham says eight businesses will also have employees out to help.

She says having community engagement through volunteer work is something that can help companies.

“Employees working for a company that supports volunteerism, they feel more engaged with that company and during the ‘Great Resignation’ it’s important to make your employees feel engaged with organizational culture and community,” Gorham said.

The spirit of giving back is exactly why volunteer Tica Williams, says she works at Avalon Bay.

The company participated in a Family Volunteer Week event on Tuesday.

“One of the things that drew me to Avalon Bay was their spirit of caring, their core values, and giving back to the community in which we live and work. That’s why I’ve been here for 13 years,” she said.

If you would like to volunteer for Family Volunteer Week, click here.

Gorham says on Monday, their website will also include a Holiday Gift Wish List for nonprofits.