Are you interested in lending a hand to those less fortunate this holiday season? Good for you! I knew you were awesome!
If you’re looking for some ideas on where to start, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve compiled a list of volunteering and donating resources just for you. The holidays are an excellent time to give back– I suggest choosing something as a family and then spending time to reflect and give thanks after the experience.
There are a ton of ways you can pay it forward this season, yo! Check it out!
Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, it kind of kicks off the season of giving. This year that day is November 29th. Check out their website for some awesome ways to volunteer or donate in your community. I’m planning on a #givingtuesday Instagram challenge, so stay tuned.
Sponsor a family in need
So many families are struggling just to make ends meat, so giving their children a magical Christmas and a full belly is out of the question. Well, not so fast. There are ways you can help. Check out this site and adopt a family in need this season. You will be giving them a wonderful gift and letting them know that there are people who care.
Serve food at your local homeless shelter
This is always a crowd pleaser. It gets you and your family right in the heart of the homeless epidemic, humanizing those faces you drive by on your way to the grocery store. It’s a great way to learn about empathy and compassion, as well as, an opportunity to count your many blessings. The National Coalition for the Homeless is a great place to start to see where you can help out in your community.
Give a gift to child in need
Toys for Tots is still going strong and is hugely popular with kids. You will see your own kids light up when they are able to feel responsible for giving a gift to another child. Just choose a card off the tree, normally located at your nearest mall, and go shopping for that item. Allow this to be a way to open up a conversation with your kids about those that have less than them. It’s a beautiful way to teach them about the power of kindness. For more information on Toys for Tots in your area click here.
Donate to older foster youth
As someone who used to be a caseworker for kids between 13-18, this is something super close to my heart. These are the kids who often get over looked during the holidays. A great way to give to these kids is to look up your local Independent Living Program. This program is designed to help foster youth transition from foster care to the real world. You can also contact any foster care agency in your community. During the holidays these programs are always looking for donated gifts. Often a gift card and a few supplies that would be useful in their own (future) apartment (towels, linens, cookware, microwave) is the way to go. Even better if you can add an age appropriate personal touch for them to open.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels has been helping local seniors stay independent since it’s conception in Philadelphia in 1954. It is now in nearly every community across the United States! This program provides healthy meals to our aging neighbors and allows for them to socialize with the volunteers–a blessing to so many who live in isolation. Just go to their website and you can easily find your local chapter and sign up to volunteer.
Spend time with a senior
I read somewhere that around 50% of seniors in nursing homes and assisted living programs don’t receive any visitors. That is HEARTBREAKING! This site is awesome for pointing you in the right direction if spending time with a senior is up your alley. I think this is another great thing to do with children, and could really make all the difference this Christmas to a lonely senior.
There is a starting point for you. I hope you decide on something that speaks to your heart on how you can give back this season. So many people are in need of some love and kindness. Are you the one that will provide that to them? Someone out there is hoping so. 🙂
Lending your heart to those less fortunate is proven to combat depression and increase happiness. Woah! You really can’t lose!
Let me know how you plan to pay it forward this holiday season.