I’m so excited to be collaborating with one of my favorite bloggers. You’ve met Nina a few times on Endless Bliss because I’ve had three IRL blogger dates with her. She’s incredible and one of the most inspiring people I know. Today, we’re going to be sharing ways for you to give back this holiday season. Scroll to the end of this post to visit Nina’s blog and learn even more ways you can give back to those who need it most this Christmas.
I’ve always had a passion in my heart for giving back. One of my most memorable Christmases happened when I was in elementary school. We were given a certain dollar amount to spend on a toy for someone of our same gender. Later, we took these gifts and gave them to children at an orphanage. We gave them candy canes and sang Christmas songs with them.
My life changed that day even if I didn’t realize it at the time. I was young, and I didn’t realize that there were children in the world who didn’t have homes or families. We helped give them a Christmas they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, and how incredible is that?
I used to think that I couldn’t give to charity because I don’t have much expendable income to give away, but the older I get, the more I’ve started to realize that giving back isn’t just about opening your wallet. Donating funds is a great way to give back to organizations, but beyond that, you can also donate items, and you can also donate your time.
I recently started volunteering at the Shreveport Bossier Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter in the area. I serve breakfast before work a couple times a week, and the little bit of time that I’m able to spend there is so eye-opening. This is such a tough time of year for people who have lost loved ones and even more so for these people who are away from their families and have also lost their homes. Instead of feeling down on their luck, these people have made the best of their situations. They’re grateful for the work of the Mission. Every morning that I walk into the kitchen, I’m greeted with smiles, and many have started calling me by name. It’s incredible to see and it really humbles you because even knowing what their situation is, they choose to see the light and choose to see the opportunities that the Mission is giving them rather than focusing on the things that they’ve lost.
Volunteering at the Shreveport Bossier Rescue Mission has really opened my eyes and my heart and it’s made me want to give back as much as I can, especially during this time of year.
Donating time is a great way to give back year-round, but especially during the holiday season. I encourage you to volunteer and donate as much of your time as you can, whether it’s with your family, your co-workers, your friends or even individually. There are so many ways for you to get involved locally and help your neighbors enjoy the holiday season.
SERVE MEALS AT A HOMELESS SHELTER
As I mentioned above, I’ve been volunteering with the local Rescue Mission for a couple months now. Even though I’m simply serving meals to people living at the shelter, the impact goes beyond me scooping and serving. I encourage you to research opportunities in your own area to serve meals in a way that fits into your schedule. I try to volunteer twice a week before work, and it’s an amazing way to start my day.
VISIT A CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
Can you imagine being child stuck in a hospital bed during Christmas? Brighten a child’s day by visiting them this season. Bring them gifts or read to them. Do crafts with them. Sing Christmas carols. Help fill the hospital with some Christmas cheer and brighten their holiday.
VISIT A NURSING HOME
Even if you don’t have a loved one living a nursing home or assisted living facility, you can still visit and help make their holidays a little less lonely. It’s not uncommon for people to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of their own holiday obligations and forget their loved ones living at the nursing home. There are so many fun ways for you to get involved, and sometimes just sitting down for a conversation can mean the world to them.
DELIVER MEALS ON WHEELS
Another way to help seniors this holiday season is to participate in Meals on Wheels. This organization started in 1954 as a way to give senior Americans a way to remain independent and live in their homes rather than having to relocate to a nursing home. For information on how you can get involved, visit the Meals on Wheels website.
Sometimes you don’t have time to actually visit somewhere to volunteer and donate your time to an organization, and that’s perfectly okay. Many charitable organizations rely on donations from outside parties in order to keep running. If you don’t have time to volunteer (or even if you do), I encourage you to donate money to some of these organizations.
ANGEL TREE: PRISON FELLOWSHIP
Angel Tree is a program that helps support the children of prisoners. The organization was started by an ex-prisoner who knew all too well about the struggle to create healthy relationships between prisoners and their children. The aim of Angel Tree is to bridge the gap for children living in the shame of their parent’s incarceration and help them feel loved. For more information and to donate to this unique program, visit the Angel Tree website.
TREES FOR TROOPS
I am very passionate about giving back to troops and luckily there are several ways for you to do that. There are so many military personnel who have to spend their holidays away from their families, and as the daughter of a retired Airman, I fully believe in supporting our troops and reminding them that there are so many people who are grateful for their service and waiting for their safe return.
Trees for Troops is part of the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, and they provide free, farm-grown Christmas trees to members of our military and their families, both at home and overseas. Since their start in 2005, they have delivered over 175,000 trees. To learn more about this organization and to make a donation, visit the Trees for Troops website.
This is an organization that you can get involved with year-round. Family-to-Family links donors to a specific family in need. Donations help provide the family with food and other life essentials. You can either choose to give monthly donations or one-time donations given for specific reasons, including providing meals, giving a “birthday party in a box,” giving a garden kit for families to grow their own produce and so much more. A little bit goes a long way with this organization. For more information about how you can adopt a family, visit the Family-to-Family website.
ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL
There’s a reason this organization is well-known, and that’s because of the incredible work they do to help the world understand, treat and defeat childhood cancer. There are so many heart-breaking and hopeful stories on the St. Jude website, and I encourage you to read them and discover why so many people are passionate about the work that they do. There are so many ways to get involved and to give to St. Jude. Visit St. Jude’s website for more information.
I know many people who would rather provide a meal for a person asking for help on the side of the road rather than giving them money. If you would rather donate physical items rather than donating funds, there are so many organization that encourage you to do just that.
DONATE ITEMS TO LOCAL ANIMAL SHELTERS
Yes, there are many people that don’t have homes, but there are also many animals that need some love around the holiday season too. Contact your local animal shelters to see what items they need to care for the animals housed at the local shelters, anything from toys to food to treats. Beyond donating items, you can also donate your time by helping take of the animals or taking a dog out for a walk.
TOYS FOR TOTS
Arguably one of the most well-known ways to donate items to children in need around this time of year is Toys for Tots. Throughout the months of October, November and December, you’ll members of the US Marine Corps Reserve dressed in uniform and encouraging you to donate new, unwrapped toys. These toys are given to less fortunate children in the community. There are many drop-off locations throughout the country. To find a drop-off location in your area, visit the Toys for Tots website.
ADOPT A US SOLDIER
The Adopt a US Soldier program connects civilians with deployed soldiers by having them send a letter or postcard weekly during the duration of their deployment. They can also choose to send care packages and gifts. To find out how you can adopt a US soldier, visit the AAUSS website.
DONATE COATS TO ONE WARM COAT
The belief of One Warm Coat is simple: Everyone should have a warm coat. The organization aims to provide a free, warm coat to any person in need. Since 1992, they have been distributing coats in the communities in which they were collected and given to children and adults in need. To find out how you can get involved, visit the One Warm Coat website.
For even more ways to give back this holiday season, visit Nina’s blog!
How are you giving back this year?