By Katie Cray
We’re all busy planning and shopping for upcoming holiday meals and celebrations. The holidays can be a time when we all get a little wrapped up in things that may not be as important as they seem. Thankfully, this is also a time when some people tend to ramp up their volunteering. While we do need to make time to give back throughout the rest of the year, there are some great seasonal ways to help out during the holiday season.
I volunteered at the New England Anti-vivisection Society while I was in college, and in December I created care packages for the chimpanzees in sanctuaries. I crumpled dates, dried fruits and nuts in wrapping paper and stuffed paper bags full of these presents. Apparently, they love to unwrap these sweet treats. To help bring a little joy to animals who haven’t had much of that is so rewarding. Equally as rewarding is spending some time at a local animal shelter and giving a little love and attention to dogs and cats who don’t have a family to spend Christmas with. Go walk a pit bull in a shelter — I promise you’ll love it.
Whether you want to give your time, money or goods (or all three), there are so many ways to make a difference in the lives of those who need it.
Time. Take your family caroling in an elder care facility or to a local hospital. Do arts and crafts with children in long-term care programs. Spend time with those who are often forgotten about, and your own time will be invaluable.
Money. While writing a check to an organization may seem like one more expense, keep in mind it could be your dollars that change someone’s life. If you have a cause in mind but haven’t yet found an organization to commit to, check out CharityNavigator.com to find one that will use your money well.
Goods. Food pantries are always looking for new and consistent donors. Whether you can afford to purchase an extra can of something or an entire family meal, find a local pantry and help. Don’t forget about those in need with pets. Food pantries need pet food as well, or you can even donate to an organization specifically for pets in need. Speaking of pets in need: you know all those extra blankets and towels taking up space in your closets? A shelter animal would love something soft to sleep on while you’re opening presents with your family. Bring your gently used blankets (and even dog/cat toys) to your local animal shelter. A little bit of home means a lot when all you have is a cement floor. And what about those suits you never wear anymore? Give them to organizations that provide clothing for women searching for employment.
Last year around this time, I spoke with a woman who runs a large-scale food donation initiative. While many people participate in food drives in November and even in December, giving drops off to record lows for the rest of the year. People are still hungry in January, so we need to continue to give even after the New Year arrives. – See more at: http://www.thewakemanagency.com/blog/gorge-little-give-little#sthash.ZeVwG0BE.dpuf