The fancy gifts, the festive parties and far too many treats. The holidays are here and ‘tis the season for giving. Simply lending a hand, warming a heart and giving some peace of mind can make a world of difference to those in need of comfort and joy. And while it certainly feels good to find the perfect gift for Mom and spoil your nieces and nephews, doing good feels even better. To give you some holiday inspiration on meaningful ways to give back, we’ve made a list and checked it twice of great ways to do good.
- Volunteer Some Cheer
During the holidays, most of us spend our time searching for the perfect gifts, but your presence is often the very best present of all. There are many people in need of your attention and generosity, so volunteer some time at a local charity or nonprofit organization. There are sure to be many people in need throughout your own community. You can volunteer some time to help the elderly, veterans, kids, the homeless, your lonely neighbor or anyone else that could really use the gift of you.
- Bark Up the Right Tree
We all love our pets, but many other animals could also use some love. Local animal shelters and rescue organizations are full of furry, fluffy and feathered friends that could use some attention and loving care, especially during the holidays. Consider sharing your heart and your home with one of these adorable animals by fostering a pet for the holiday season. Who knows, this temporary companion could become a member of your family. If you can’t bring one of these friendly faces home, donate toys, food, blankets or anything else that shelters need to keep tails wagging and warm. You can also make a donation to an animal-focused charity, such as the Humane Society, the ASPCA, local rescue organizations or other charities that provide pets to people in need.
- Give the Shirt Off Your Back
Start your Spring cleaning in the fall by donating clothing to families in need. Simply go through your closet and gather any clothing in good condition that you don’t plan to wear. Look beyond the basics and grab coats, gloves, sleepwear, shoes and other apparel that could make someone else comfortable and feel good about themselves. Then, pack up all the items and take them to a charitable organization collecting clothing. Not sure where to take your wardrobe? Consider Good Will, the Salvation Army and nearby homeless shelters. Many local charities also hold clothing drives, so you can support a cause that’s close to home.
- Shop for the Perfect Cause
Since you plan to be shopping anyway, take charge of your charging and use it to do some good. Many credit cards let you earn cash back on every purchase, which is automatically donated to the charity of your choice. Some credit cards even let you redeem your rewards for donations, while others let you donate your points or miles instead. With these charity-focused credit cards, shopping for good deals can result in good deeds.
- Feed the Need for Hunger Relief
For many, it just wouldn’t be the holidays without full-blown feasts and too many treats. Yet millions of people go hungry during the season and all year long. But you can help these hungry families by contributing to food banks. You can choose to donate canned foods and other non-perishable items, but you may want to make a financial donation instead because your money will go farther. For every one dollar donation, a food bank can give 11 meals to people that are hungry. And many supermarkets make it fast and easy to give by letting you add a donation onto your bill at the register.
In the spirit of the season, start a new tradition of giving back to the less fortunate. You may be surprised how giving back gives you so much in return.