The holiday season is the perfect time to give back to your community! Volunteering and philanthropy work is something I have always enjoyed participating in. Before college, I volunteered for a local organization that taught children and adults with physical and mental disabilities how to ice skate. In college, I found myself completing tons of service hours with the skating team and my sorority, and now as an adult, I work for a company that implements a Random Acts of Kindness program year round. So today, for the fifth day of blogmas (I’m struggling, but I am doing it!), I bring you eight ways to give back this Christmas season!
Donate useful items to a local animal shelter
Walmart sells these fleece blankets for just $2.50 each, and shelters and rescues love them! You can also donate bleach for cleaning cages, a new dog bed, and some dog and cat food to your local Humane Society. Every little bit helps them to save more lovable, furry lives every day. Consider a small donation to your local rescue or humane society this holiday season to help the 4-legged members of our population.
Donate useful items to a local homeless shelter
These blankets are also valuable donations to homeless shelters during the holiday season! Most of the time, people who are homeless are not able to stay at the shelter during the day, putting them out on the streets. They can use these blankets to stay warm throughout the winter season. You can also donate can goods, toiletries, and other useful products.
Donate old winter coats and clothes
You don’t always have to buy items to donate. There is a local dry cleaning business in my hometown that runs a Coats For Christmas program every year, and you can donate used winter coats for those less fortunate. There is also a national charity called One Warm Coat where you can donate your coats. These are great programs because many families suffering in poverty or homelessness need warm winter coats and clothes for all members of their families. This year I donated an old Hollister coat I no longer wear, but is still in good condition. They need these winter coats to help them stay warm during the fridged winter months and it makes me feel awesome knowing I can help someone stay warm this winter. You can also clean out your closet to donate used clothes you no longer wear or need. Every little bit helps!
Make Christmas cards for soldiers overseas
Nothing spreads Christmas cheer like a handmade Christmas card, especially from a stranger. Many churches and other organizations have programs to send items to soldiers, and some include holiday cards. Check with your local churches and military organizations to see if they participate in this type of program.
Put your talents to use at a local children’s hospital or nursing home
If you have a particular talent that you could share with others, now would be a great time to do so! This holiday season you can volunteer at a local children’s hospital or nursing home playing the piano, or knitting hats and scarves with the elderly or bedridden. Children and elderly really enjoy when you spend time with them when they are stuck in the same place all year round. And sharing your talents with them for entertainment or to learn a new hobby is always a good time for them!
Volunteer at a soup kitchen
Soup kitchens like the Salvation Army always need volunteers during the holiday season. Much of the time, shelters and soup kitchens see a larger number of people during the holiday and winter months, which means they also need more volunteers!
Make tie blankets for children
Project Linus provides blankets to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need. Tie blankets are so easy and affordable, so you can make one and donate it to your local Project Linus chapter. And to make it even more fun, have a blanket making party with all of your friends! The skating team got together last year to make blankets for Project Linus and it was so much fun!
Shovel snow for your neighbor
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but shoveling snow off the driveway and sidewalks for your neighbor is an easy act of kindness that they will really appreciate!