Ah, the holidays are here…a time to celebrate…a time to reflect…a time for receiving…and especially a time for giving! Here are a few ways to “give” extra meaning to your holidays…and to your life by giving a gift from the heart.
Priceless Giving – No Money Required:
- Volunteer to take out an elderly neighbor’s trash cans and put them back for the month of December…or for a full year.
- Going for a walk, offer to take your neighbor’s dog with you. Don’t forget the supplies!
- Donate gently-used towels and blankets to your local animal shelter. Please launder them before donating.
- If you love animals, consider volunteering at your local animal shelter.
- Donate your used books, CDs and DVDs to your local library.
- Volunteer to read stories to kids at your local library or hospital’s children’s ward.
- Volunteer at a hospital. There are many services, so check with your local hospital on what steps you need to do to volunteer.
- Have a musical talent? Volunteer at your local Skilled Nursing Facility to entertain the patients. Sing Christmas carols or read a holiday story to the elderly. They’ll love it!
- Do you have a child in Elementary school? Ask your child’s teacher if they need help preparing teaching materials.
- Donate your old eyeglasses. Lions Club International is one organization that will distribute used eyeglasses all around the world. Walmart® is a partner with Lion’s Club, so you can also drop off your old eyeglasses at one of Walmart’s® eye care centers. You can also check with your eye doctor to see if there is an eyeglass charity in your area.
- Donate gently-used clothing to a shelter. Please launder them first!
- Donate your child’s gently-used toys to a shelter. Be sure they are cleaned and sanitized. You may want to include your child in the toy selection and delivery, so they can see the difference their donation makes to someone in need.
- Volunteer at a “soup kitchen” or shelter distributing meals to the needy.
- Donate your old cell phones. Operation Gratitude sends care packages to U.S. Military which can also include cell phones. You can contact them at: www.grcrecycling.com. Don’t forget the cell phone’s charger.
- Got leftover holiday cards? Send your blank holiday cards (religious and non-religious) to Greetings 4 Troops (www.greetings4troops.com). The cards are provided, so school kids can hand-write holiday messages to U.S. soldiers serving oversees. Donations are also welcomed to help cover the cost of postage.
- Give the gift of life – donate blood. Contact the American Red Cross® for more details.
- Looking for other ways to volunteer, go to www.volunteermatch.org. You can specify the type of volunteering you would prefer and the areas (your city or surrounding areas) to which you would be willing to travel.
Giving A Little More:
When at a restaurant, anonymously pay for another patron’s meal. Don’t forget to include a tip for their server!
- Offer to drive a friend, neighbor, or relative to their doctor’s appointment. Consider treating them to lunch or dinner afterwards.
- Prepare a full meal and give it to parents with a new baby or to a family that’s struggling.
- Many teachers use their own money to purchase classroom supplies. If you know a teacher, ask for a list of teaching/classroom supplies they need and purchase the supplies for them.
- Buy a bag of groceries, or a grocery store gift card, for a struggling family or an elderly neighbor on a tight income.
- Donate a bag of cat or dog food to your local animal shelter. Be sure to ask if they have a food brand preference or if they would prefer a monetary donation.
- Make it a Happy Holiday when you give your restaurant server a bigger tip than required.
- Buy toys to donate to your local hospital’s children’s ward. Or participate in the Toys for Tots program.
- While grocery shopping, buy extra items and donate them to your local food bank.
- Take some holiday treats (home-made or store-bought) to your local Fire Department, Police Department or Veterans of Foreign War (VFW). Find out the day the VFW meets each week/month, so someone will be there to receive the treats.
- Bells will be ringing, when you toss your loose change into the bucket. That is the Salvation Army’s iconic red bucket, which can be found outside many stores during the holidays.
- Samaritan’s Purse provides many opportunities to give locally as well as aboard. Check out their website at www.samaritanspurse.org or by calling 1-800-353-5957.
Giving With Gusto:
- Adopt a family-in-need and provide them with a wonderful holiday with all the trimmings – complete holiday meal, presents for each one, tree, stockings, etc. Please be mindful of one’s beliefs and tailor your giving accordingly. You can locate a family through your work, church or a local charity.
These are just a few ways to give from the heart. We hope you can find countless other ways to give during the holidays, through the year, and throughout your life!
© By Kathleen R. McKissick