Thanksgiving is right around the corner, with Christmas not too far behind it. Though this is a season of festivity and spending time with loved ones, it’s also the season of giving, especially to those who are in need. If you want to give back to your community this year, here are five ways that you can contribute:
Volunteer at a local shelter or food bank
One of the simplest ways of helping out in your community is to volunteer your time at a shelter or food bank. This is often a busy season for these organizations, so they will likely need extra hands. Google your local shelter or food pantry/bank and look for information on how to apply as a volunteer—and if you can donate any food items, that’s a bonus!
Make care kits for the homeless
The holiday season is a great time to make care kits for those who are on the street without a place to live. You can keep these in your car and hand them to any homeless people that you see, or take them to your local community resource center or shelter. Some ideal things to put include in these kits are:
Non-perishables—water bottles, sunflower seeds, raisins, trail mix, peanut butter crackers, saltine crackers, beef jerky, and cereal bars.
Toiletries—tissues, disinfectant wipes, baby wipes, lip balm, toothpaste/toothbrush travel set, and pads/tampons for women.
Clothing & accessories—socks, gloves, toboggans, ear-muffs, and blankets.
Other useful items—hand warmers, a first-aid kit, a face cloth/towel, and a travel pack of pain reliever medicine.
Consider adding little uplifting notes in your package as well—something so small can have a big impact on someone's day.
Donate used clothing items
There may be some organizations in your area that give away free clothes to those who are in need in the community. If you have any gently used clothing items that you can’t fit or no longer want, consider donating them so that someone else can use them. A coat or jacket would be a great donation for the cold months ahead.
Support Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots is a charity that provides toys to underprivileged children for Christmas and relies on donations from the public to make it happen. There are usually several drop-off locations where you can donate toys. Information on these locations is available on their website—monetary donations are also accepted via the website. If you aren’t able to buy a gift, you can still help by sharing the Toys for Tots campaign on social media or by spreading the word to people in your community. No child wants to be without toys on Christmas Day, so if you want to give back this holiday season, this would be a great opportunity to make a difference.
Create your own holiday donation drive
If there is an organization you know of that’s raising money for families in need this holiday season, consider hosting your own drive to help them out. Here’s what you can do:
Contact the organization and see what they need.
Find designated drop-off locations so that the public can donate. You can ask local businesses if they’d be willing to let you sit a box or bin at their location.
Create flyers to post online and in your community. Make sure all of the details are included such as the name of the organization, items needed, drop-off locations, deadline, etc.
Promote the drive frequently!
If you're in the position to be a blessing to those who are less fortunate than you, please consider helping someone this holiday season. As the author, Terri Marshall once said, "The holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on our blessings and seek out ways to make life better for those around us." If you have any suggestions that you’d like to share, please comment below! Happy Holidays!