Practice generosity this holiday season with this list of ways to give back during Christmastime.
When holiday season starts up, it’s easy for us to start stressing about where Christmas festivities will be held, how you’re going to afford to travel to see your family, and getting the perfect gift for everyone on your Christmas list. For some people, it’s a reminder of things and people they miss or have lost, the inability to provide their families with a happy Christmas celebration, another day suffering from hunger, or the desire to have things we may take for granted like the warmth of good coat, shampoo and soap, or a Christmas tree. Christmastime is the perfect time to practice generosity and give back to those who are less fortunate. In the future, I hope to start a tradition with my family to give back to some of the organizations I’m sharing today’s post.
GIVE BACK TO CHILDREN
MY TWO FRONT TEETH & THE FAMILY GIVING TREE
My Two Front Teeth and Family Giving Tree have partnered together to help give gifts to underprivileged children in the Bay Area. You can participate in the Holiday Wish Drive by visiting their website and making a purchase from their virtual gift gallery. You can even choose which age group you’d like to purchase gifts for, and the name and age of the person who put the item on their wishlist is shown below each photo.
To grant a wish for a child in need, visit their website.
CARDS FOR HOSPITALIZED KIDS
Cards for Hospitalized Kids helps spread joy, hope, and magic to hospitalized children through the distribution of handmade cards. It’s easy to get involved during the holidays and throughout the year. All you have to do is follow the guidelines listed on their website to create a general or holiday card for a hospitalized child then mail it to:
Cards for Hospitalized Kids
7290 W. Devon Ave.
Chicago, IL 60631
The deadline for sending in holiday cards is at least two weeks prior to the holiday. Some cards are accepted a week prior, if necessary. If you live in the Chicago area, you can also get involved by volunteering to sort and distribute cards.
For more information about how you can get involved with Cards for Hospitalized Kids, visit their website.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation partners with several companies throughout the year to help grant wishes for children diagnosed with critical illnesses. There are so many ways for you to get involved:
– Macy’s Believe: Write a letter to Santa to share your most heartfelt wish, and Macy’s will donate money to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. For every letter dropped off at a Macy’s location or sent in online, Macy’s will donate $1, up to $1 million. This is such an easy and quick way to give back.
– Subaru’s Share the Love Event: Every year, Subaru partners with Make-A-Wish to give millions of dollars to grant children’s wishes. From Nov. 18, 2018-Jan. 2, 2019, for every Subaru vehicle that’s purchased or leased, Subaru will donate $250 to the buyer’s charity of choice, which includes the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Each participating charity will receive a minimum of $250,000. Since they started participating 11 years ago, Subaru has donated over $16.4 million to Make-A-Wish.
– Sears’ Annual Season of Wishes Holiday Campaign: From Nov. 2-Dec. 30, 2018, Sears will be accepting customer donations to benefit Make-A-Wish. Customers who donate specifically at Sears Outlets can take advantage of two promotions in November and December. More information can be found here.
This is just a small taste of how you can help give back to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. For even more ideas, you can visit their website.
SALVATION ARMY’S ANGEL TREE
The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree is a program that helps provide new clothes and toys to children in need. People who live in select areas can sponsor a child by signing up through the Salvation Army website. You’ll receive information about a child, including their name, age, gender, clothing size, and three wishlist items provided by their parents. For some of these children, the gifts received through Angel Tree are the only ones they’ll receive this holiday season.
The deadline to sign up for Angel Tree is December 1st. You must be living in one of the selected areas to participate. If you don’t live in those areas, there are so many other ways for you to give back through the Salvation Army. I’m sure you’re familiar with the people ringing bells and asking for donations to be dropped in a red bucket in front of several stores. The donations given through the Red Kettle Campaign help assist families in need, especially during the holiday season. You can also donate to their seasonal supply drives for things like coats, hygiene items, toys, and school supplies or make monetary donations through their website.
For more information about Salvation Army, their mission, and ways for you to give back, visit their website.
SAMARITAN’S PURSE OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD
Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child is a program that helps give to children in need around the world. Participants pack items in a shoebox, and these boxes are sent in or collected by churches and groups at drop-off locations during the third week of November. These boxes are sent to children located in over 100 countries. If you don’t have time to go shopping, you can also build a shoebox online for $25.
The week to send in boxes this year was Nov. 12-19, 2018. If you missed the deadline this year, you can still get involved with one of the many projects that Samaritan’s Purse does throughout the year, including the Children’s Heart Project, which raises money for lifesaving operations for children, the U.S. Disaster relief, which has several volunteer and donation opportunities throughout the year, and Operation Heal Our Patriots, which helps aid wounded veterans and their spouses.
For more information Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child, and to find out how you can donate and get involved, check out their website.
Project Linus is an organization that provides new, handmade blankets to children who are seriously ill, have been traumatized, or are in need of a warm blanket. Volunteers known as “blanketeers” create homemade, washable blankets to give to children ages 0-18. All blanket sizes and styles are welcome, but they must come from a smoke-free environment due to allergies.
Even if you’re unable to make blankets, you can still get involved by volunteering at your local chapter, becoming a chapter coordinator, donating online, or choosing Project Linus as your charity when you shop online using AmazonSmile. For more information about Project Linus and how you can get involved, check out their website.
GIVE BACK TO THE TROOPS
OPERATION GIVE’S OPERATION CHRISTMAS STOCKING
Operation Christmas Stocking is a program that helps stuff and deliver thousands of Christmas stockings to U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and South Korea and to children of deployed soldiers. To participate, you can either stuff a Christmas stocking, send items to be stuffed in a stocking to the Operation Give warehouse, or donate online. If you live in the Salt Lake City area, you can also go to the Operation Give warehouse and donate your time by stuffing stockings. There are also opportunities for you to help deliver stockings and decorate bags and shoeboxes. While donating items is awesome, if you’re able, be sure to donate monetarily too because this helps with shipping and delivery costs. The more money raised, the more items that can be delivered to our deserving troops and their children.
If you’d like to send a stocking or send items for a stocking, you can mail these items directly to one of their two warehouses:
1409 North State Street
Orem, UT 84057
Salt Lake County:
2275 S 900 W
Salt Lake City, UT 84119
For more information about how you can get involved, email email@example.com or visit the Operation Give website.
Show your gratitude for our nation’s brave heroes by writing letters to deployed troops, veterans, new recruits, and first responders through Operation Gratitude. Recipients have said these letters are some of their most cherished. Operation Gratitude has a handy guide for things to write about in your letters and guidelines for how to make the process as simple as possible to make sure your letters, drawings, photos, etc. get into the hands of our deserving troops as fast as possible.
Note that holiday cards and letters need to be mailed at least 2-3 months in advance in order for them to get to the troops in time for the holidays. If you missed the deadline, don’t fret because letters are accepted year-round. There’s never a bad time to thank a service member.
For more information about how you can send letters to our troops or to sign up to be a letter screener (if you live in the Los Angeles area), visit the Operation Gratitude website.
A MILLION THANKS
A Million Thanks is an organization that provides support and appreciation to active and veteran military members through sending letters and granting wishes. You can write a letter, card, or email to show appreciation to military members and veterans using the guidelines provided on their website. You can drop these letters off at one of their drop-off locations or mail it to:
A Million Thanks
17853 Santiago Blvd., #107-355
Villa Park, CA 92861
You can also help support injured military veterans by making monetary donations that help grant their wishes. On the A Million Thanks website, you can view wishes made by veterans and read more about their injuries, including how they got them and the affects they’ve had on their lives. You can also read about their wishes and how having their wishes granted can help change their lives. Wishes include photos, information about the veteran, the amount needed to grant their wish, and how much more money is needed to have that wish granted.
For more information about A Million Thanks, visit their website.
HOLIDAYS FOR HEROES
The Holidays for Heroes tagline is “give something that means something.” The program is run through local Red Cross offices throughout the nation, and the goal is to engage in numerous activities that thank and recognize members of our military, veterans, and their families. Be sure to check out your local Red Cross office for more information on how you can get involved with Holidays for Heroes this season.
For more information about Holidays for Heroes, click here.
MORE WAYS TO GIVE BACK
ADOPT A FAMILY
You can help a family in need by “adopting” them during the holiday season. Find an organization that participates in an Adopt a Family program then learn about your family and brainstorm ideas on what you can do and what items you can give to them for Christmas.
Adopt a Family programs are localized and each have their own guidelines. To find information on how you can get connected with a recipient for an Adopt a Family program in your area, do a quick Google search or use this website as a guide to get started.
JUST DETENTION INTERNATIONAL’S WORDS OF HOPE
The goal of Just Detention International is to help end sexual abuse for those serving time behind bars. They believe that no matter what crime has been committed, rape should not be part of the penalty. Through JDI’s Words of Hope program, you can help those who have been abused while in the government’s custody by sending holiday messages in the form of cards and letters.
To participate, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address and the number of holiday cards you’d like to write. They will send you your desired number of cards, and you send them back in a prepaid envelope. This can make a world of difference to people who may have felt forgotten while being detained.
For more information about Words of Hope, visit Just Detention’s website.
LOVE FOR THE ELDERLY
At the age of 13, Jacob founded the Love for the Elderly organization that helps connect people with their elders and bring joy to the lives of seniors through a number of different programs. You can help a senior feel loved this holiday season by participating in one the many Love for the Elderly programs, including:
– Letters of Love: Write a handwritten note and help bring smiles to seniors.
– Senior Buddies: Youths can become a pen-pal to a senior citizen at a nursing home.
– SunshineBox: Help create and distribute fun boxes full of goodies and sunshine to senior nursing home residents.
For more information about how you can get involved with Love for the Elderly or to donate to this amazing cause, visit their website.
THE JOY OF SOX
With Joy of Sox, you can help provide the homeless with a new pair of warm socks. The company started in Philadelphia and now helps provide socks for homeless people nationwide.
You can get involved by holding a sock drive, becoming a volunteer (aka sock angel), helping to deliver socks, or donating online. For more information about the Joy of Sox and to learn about how you can get involved, visit their website.
For even more ideas on how you can give back this holiday season, click here!
What are some of your favorite ways to give back during the holidays?