The holidays are a wonderful time to reflect on all we have to be thankful for, but it also provides an opportunity to remember the struggle of those who lack what many of us take for granted. We kicked off our holiday giving by partnering our son’s school and Childbirth Connection to Adopt a Family in need and provide them with a Thanksgiving dinner. This particular family is a single mother with two young children. J felt so good inside to share “warm, yummy food” and to receive a handmade note of thanks from one of the children.
As our nation climbs its way back from the worst recession in a generation, many people are struggling to make ends meet. But no matter how bad things may seem, there’s always someone whose situation is worse than our own. Many families want to cultivate compassion and giving to those who are less fortunate in a way that makes sense for them but don’t know how. It doesn’t take a lot of money to show someone how much you care!
Here are 10 budget-friendly ways to give:
1. Volunteer time and effort at places such as a local shelter for the homeless or abused women and children, a retirement home, a soup kitchen or a children’s hospital. Volunteer Match and A Magic Penny are good resources to find the right way for you and your family or community to donate your time.
2. Search your home for extra or unwanted items to donate such as clothing, toys, blankets, books, magazines, eyeglasses, school supplies, non-perishable food, and personal hygiene items such as soap and toothpaste.
3. Organize a food or toy drive at your office, church, temple, school or recreation center.
4. The Red Cross is often short on blood and plasma. Giving a donation could save someone’s life.
5. Use your talents, skills or services to help the less fortunate. For example, if you are a hairstylist, you can arrange to give free haircuts. Someone can always benefit from your skills or expertise.
7. If you have someone in your family, circle of friends or community is having an especially difficult time this year, lend them a helping hand.
8. Lactating women can donate breast milk to the National Milk Bank, which provides breast milk to babies who are premature or critically ill.
9. Animals are in need too. Consider adopting a pet or donating food, blankets, towels or your time to a local animal rescue organization.
10. Depression and suicide rates are highest during the holiday season. A friendly smile or wave to a stranger could really brighten someone’s day and even save a life.