A lot of people this holiday season are having a hard time. Whether they’re suffering from unemployment, lower wages or shorter hours due to the lingering effects of the recession, there is less disposable income they have to spend on gifts for their families. So, if you want to give back this holiday, whether you have some extra money or some extra time, here is a list of ideas you can pick from to help your local community!
1. Buy a present for a child in need
There are a lot of places (usually your local mall) that will have a “giving tree” where a child in need lists off presents they’d enjoy getting for the holiday. That list is made into an ornament and hung on a tree, where you can pick one of the ornaments, buy the gift listed, and bring it back (unwrapped) to the volunteers who will make sure that the child gets the gift on Christmas! It ensures that kids in your community whose parents can’t afford to buy them gifts will have a happy holiday and wake up to something under the tree!
2. Volunteer in the community
If you don’t have any extra money to spend, try donating some of your time by volunteering at local organizations in your community! Whether that’s unpacking or delivering food at the food bank, singing Christmas carols at a retirement home, or serving food at a soup kitchen (such as the Portland Rescue Mission), it will be sure to bring a little happiness to someone and make their holiday a little brighter!
3. Donate old clothes to Goodwill
Most people who don’t have a lot of disposable income won’t want to buy themselves warm clothes this winter. During a time when the temperatures drop significantly, you can do your part by going through your closet, finding clothes you don’t wear anymore, and donating them to your local Goodwill.
4. Donate old blankets to a local animal shelter
If you get some new blankets this holiday, donate your old ones to an animal shelter! Not many people know this, but the most used item animal shelters go through are blankets, and oftentimes they can’t afford to buy new ones. If you’re a pet person, round up some old sheets or blankets you have lying around the house and help out animals in need! And hey, while you’re at it, why not consider adopting?
5. Volunteer for the Fireman’s Toy Drive
Many fire stations host an annual toy drive each winter where they collect toys to donate to sick children in local hospitals. For a children unable to spend Christmas at home with their family, these toys brighten up their holiday. Figure out whether your local fire station hosts one of these toy drives, then go ahead and buy a board game or a stuffed animal for a child in need!
The holidays are all about giving, but that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to giving only to family and friends. If you can find some extra time or money, charity will go a long way this winter to families less fortunate. Make someone else’s Christmas better by doing what you can to give back in your community.