The holidays are a season of giving, not just to our immediate circle, but to our communities and the world around us. It’s a great time to reach out to folks, organizations, or charities who may need a helping hand. If you don’t already have a favorite way of helping out, check out these easy ways to give back this holiday season.
Often, time is the greatest gift we can give. Many of the charities and organizations that serve those in need rely on the presence of volunteers to function. Your local food bank, food pantry, temporary housing center, soup kitchen, community centers, animal shelters, and hospitals likely all need help.
Volunteering is a great way to help others and contribute to your community. It doesn’t cost you anything in dollars, but it pays out in spades.
But volunteering doesn’t just give back to the community. Many people find the experience incredibly rewarding. It feels good to help others, and this feeling can be even stronger during the holidays. Search online or ask around to see if there are any organizations near you who might need a helping hand during the holidays.
Help Someone In Need
If volunteering doesn’t work for you, you might try something in your more immediate vicinity, like helping a neighbor.
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, “A majority of Americans (57%) say they know only some of their neighbors; far fewer (26%) say they know most of them.” And this breakdown gets even more telling with different age demographics. Nearly a quarter of people under the age of 30 say they don’t know a single neighbor, whereas only four percent of people over 65 don’t know any of their neighbors.
Helping out your neighbor can help each of you feel more connected. Not just with each other but with your community as well. This help can take on a lot of different forms: helping them carry groceries, chores around the house or yard, helping with transportation, walking a pet, etc. If you don’t know where to start, try looking online or posting your availability for various services to your community social media group.
Food banks and pantries are always in need of donations, especially during the holidays. You may want to check in and see if there’s anything in particular they might need (food, toilet trees, etc.)
Giving blood is also a great way to give back during the holidays. Check with your local blood bank to see if your blood type is in need and if you’re eligible. Most places will accept blood from people aged 17–65.
If neither of the above donations align with what you’d like to give, you may consider evaluating the stuff you have that you don’t really need or use. Maybe there’s a toaster that you rarely use, or clothes, toys, a bike, artwork, or a number of other things that you think other people might enjoy. Most charity shops are happy to take unused or gently used items you’re willing to part with. These items might help others greatly.
There are a lot of ways to give back, and though we should consider these things all year round, it’s especially important during the holidays.