Giving back to the community is a big priority for us here at TruPath. The Holidays, in particular, offer a great excuse to get altruistic. Whether or not you currently participate in charitable causes, there are so many great options to consider. Some rely on financial support, but others don’t cost a thing. Read on to discover some great ways to give back this holiday season.
For the Socially Conscious
Donate clothing and food
Need to clean out your closest? Why not donate those lightly used clothes to a nearby collection spot or Goodwill. (This is also another great way to say thanks to the environment by recycling!) You can also bring canned goods, toys, jackets, etc. to local churches or charities. Making cookies? Bake a little extra and bring it to a nursing home.
Volunteer your time
Most parts of the country are really cold right now and more people will be seeking food and shelter. Offer to help serve at soup kitchens, or donate blankets and warm clothing to shelters. Even in warmer areas, there are always people that need and appreciate a good meal. You can also help local charities distribute gifts or pack and sort at your nearest food bank.
Deliver food to seniors
There are a lot of home-bound seniors that are unable to travel to pick up food. Many areas offer service to deliver food to those in need of assistance. Bring them a little holiday cheer with a nice meal and a smile.
For Animal Lovers
Volunteer at or donate pet food or supplies to a local shelter/rescue. Many are able to stay open due to the generous support of volunteers and community donations. Have the ability to foster? Shelters can get chilly this time of year. Bring home a grateful, furry friend until they find their forever home.
Donate to a great charity
Make a one-time donation, or sign up for a monthly contribution. Some great programs include:
If none of these speak to you, just make sure to do your research first. Big name charities often use donation money towards overhead and other areas not benefiting the animals directly.
Adopt, don’t shop
A lot of families add a new furry member to their family this time of year. If you’re one of them, consider adopting from a shelter. There are millions of homeless animals in need of a loving home. Make this a special holiday for one of them.
For The Environmentally Minded
A lot of food is prepared this time of year! If you’re taking a turn in the kitchen, try and source products locally. Not only are you giving back to the local community, you’re also helping the environment – The average American food product travels 1500 miles to reach the table.
Buy a real Christmas tree
This may seem counterintuitive, but it actually helps the environment. Per NASA, “Farmers grow trees, especially for the holidays. They plant huge tracts of land in beautiful noble pines, Douglas firs, blue spruce, and other favorites. It may take 8 to 12 years to grow a good-sized tree. But during that time, the tree is taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. It is cleaning the air and helping slow climate change.”
Donate to an environmental (and tax deductible!) charity
A Random Act of Kindness
Looking to do something a little simpler than the above-mentioned ways to give back? Why not try a random act of kindness? The holidays are a very stressful time for most people. The smallest gesture could make someone’s day. In line at Starbucks? Why not offer to buy for the person behind you? They’ll be thrilled, and may even pay it forward.
Some other ideas:
- Offer your seat on public transit
- Send a card to a child facing a terminal illness
- Offer to babysit a friends’ kids (free of charge) so they can finish up last day holiday prep
- Compliment a stranger
- Put sticky notes with a positive message in public spots
- Leave an extra generous tip to a server at a restaurant
- Cook a meal for an elderly neighbor
- Donate blood
Hopefully, as the New Year approaches these give you some great opportunities to give back. Something you’d add to the list? Let us know!