After the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, and the amazing efforts and support from people worldwide, we thought of the holiday season and how service opportunities are still available.
You can always donate money to a great cause, but if you are also looking for a way to donate your time, you can easily find local service opportunities where you might be needed.
1. Give blood. Giving blood requires just a little bit of your time, and you can save a life. A blood donor has to be healthy, at least 17 years old in most states and weigh at least 110 pounds. The need for blood is constant, and your contribution will be important.
2. Go to a homeless shelter. Let’s face it, while the holiday season is warm and fuzzy there are still those that have to go without. Find a homeless shelter that can use help serving meals. Giving time at a homeless shelter is a great group activity, so definitely consider it for a family outing.
3. Participate in Sub for Santa. This program is as good as it gets for helping children worldwide. Sub for Santa provides gifts for children between 18 months and 14 years of age. Locate a drop-off nearby so you can provide toys, books or even clothes to children who won’t be expecting gifts this year.
4. Donate to Toys for Tots. Much like Sub for Santa, this is also a great program that connects large toy donations to families in need. If you are not donating a toy, you can also volunteer to help sort the thousands of gifts that will be received.
5. Visit the elderly. Because the holiday season brings us closer together to our friends and families, consider visiting those who might feel forgotten. You can visit the elderly or even create a small group of carolers to spread the cheer.
6. “Adopt-a-family.” If you would like to take a more personal approach toward giving gifts, you can find programs that “give a Christmas” to other families. These programs will give you a list of the family’s exact needs and a humble “wish list” from the children. With these programs, you can truly be personalized Santa Claus.
There are more than six ways to give back this year and we barely scratched the surface. Get involved by helping others in any way that you can. We’d love to hear any stories about how service during the holiday season has touched you or those around you.