The holiday season is always a time where I feel a big draw to do something to help another who is in need. Just thinking about a child going through Christmas without presents, and a stocking over a warm fire, just makes me so sad. Holidays are such a special time of year where everyone deserves to feel loved and to feel the warmth of receiving. Giving back is so important and it feels amazing to know you are helping someone. You give in hope that your gift is the one thing that lights up their day when they are surrounded by darkness.
In past years I have gone so far as organizing my entire office to give an entire Christmas, including holiday meals, for up to four families through the Salvation Army. Other years all I can do is to drop 1 toy into a toy bin or donate my time on the weekends to help people pick donated gifts and get them wrapped to go home. Big gestures, or small ones, that is not what matters. What matters is that if you are in a place to give, you do. And if you are in a place where it is your time to receive charitable donations, you hold your head up high, and allow yourself to feel the blessing.
This year I am 'adopting' a teen girl from the giving tree at the mall and I am going to rock her socks off. I feel like this type of recipient/gift giving (a teen girl) requires a special touch and a little nod to things that are trendy -- which hopefully I still have!
What are you going to do this year to give back? With times like these I know we are all running at a lower capacity for charitable giving. But people in need, and there are so many more of them now than ever before, need help and lots of it. Some of us don't even need to look farther than our own facebook page to find people who are struggling and could use a hand up. I personally know of several people or families that are struggling and enduring hardship (and for them I have a few little things planned, not much, but hopefully something to lighten up their spirits). I also know some people are skeptical about giving to strangers through charitable organizations because they think that some people take advantage of the system. In that circumstance you can always gift items that are not luxury items but coats, toothbrushes, and food which I highly doubt someone would register for if they weren't in desperate need. I encourage you to reach into yourself and figure out what you can do this year. Trust me, it will feel amazing, and make your own holiday so much brighter.
Need ideas? Here are a few to get your started.
If you are here local in Portland, Oregon http://www.handsonportland.org is a wonderful organization that has a wide variety of Holiday volunteering options such as baking cookies for seniors, planting trees, serving meals and the list goes on. All you donate is your time and smile! I have volunteered several times with them and they are awesome!
Head to your local mall and pick an ornament off the tree for someone in need that has registered for help. If you can't afford to get everything on the list, get your friends or family to help out. You can all pitch in. So much fun!
Pick up the grocery tab for a senior. An estimated 3.5 million Americans that over the age of 50 don't have enough to eat. An $8 donation to http://www.drivetoendhunger.org feeds a senior 3 square meals for a day.
Send a teddy bear to the child of a deployed marine. A $25 donation to http://www.jonathancollins.org gives a plush toy with a voice message recorded by the deployed parent, which will play when the paw is pressed.
Share your Harry Potter,Twighlight, and any other books with deprived youth, helping them learn to read. Go to http://www.globalliteracyproject.org
To find more ways to give back in your area go to http://www.volunteermatch.org and you can get connected with local organizations to make an impact close to home.
Let's make a difference! We can do it!!
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