Festive Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season

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…[Giving back] is also a way to remain in touch with your community and to form bonds with the people you help or volunteer with.”

— Mina Orlic

The holiday season is a time for celebration, spending time with friends and family, laughing, and enjoying yourself. When you’re caught up in the charm and celebration of the holidays, it’s easy to forget that there are people around you who may be less fortunate — others who are unable to afford new clothes, presents, and sometimes even food. Luckily, there are many different ways you can help to make the holiday season unforgettable for people who are less fortunate.

   If you’re one of those people who has a super busy schedule, there are still many opportunities to give back to your community. The simplest way to save time and still help others is to donate money to charitable foundations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, UNICEF, and The San Diego Foundation. Whether you donate 20 dollars or 200, every dollar makes a difference and can make a positive impact on someone else’s life.

   Another simple and time-efficient way to give back is to donate old clothes, shoes, and toys to Goodwill. While you may not need that one red sweater or that old pair of jeans that are sitting at the back of your drawer, another person could.  By donating your old clothes, you can change someone else’s life and make their holiday season more enjoyable. According to the official San Diego County Goodwill website, “Goodwill’s mission is to get people with disabilities and other barriers to employment jobs by developing their skills and habits through training and real work. We believe that a job is more than a paycheck. Our programs were created to provide free opportunities to individuals who desire greater independence and a chance to give back to their communities and their families” (sdgoodwill.org).

   Many people will agree that one of the best and happiest moments of the holiday season is when you receive presents. Sadly, there are many kids out there who do not get to experience the joy of opening presents on Christmas morning, or on the seven to eight days of Hannukah or Kwanza. Everybody has a right to celebrate the holidays if they choose, and, in an attempt to help the less-fortunate families who cannot afford to buy gifts, every year The Salvation Army launches their Angel Tree Program. According to the official Salvation Army website, participating companies, families, groups, or individuals are provided with Angel Tags, which contain the receiver’s information as well as their requested items (salvationarmy-socal.org). This program is an amazing opportunity to pass along the happiness you feel when you first rip open your wrapping paper-covered package.

   Blood-drives are always an easy and viable way to give back to others in need and possibly even save a life. The official American Red Cross website states, “A single blood donation may help up to three different people. Blood is available to be shipped to hospitals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” The donated blood goes towards helping many people with varying conditions and diseases (redcrossblood.org). If giving blood isn’t really your thing, you can always head down to your local shelter to lend a hand. Whether it’s helping with animals or serving food to the homeless, a set of helping hands is always appreciated. A couple of places and shelters one could help out at would be the San Diego Humane Society, the Salvation Army, and the American Red Cross.

    One last way to give back this season is is to make cards to send to those who serve our country. Not only is this easy, but it’s a surefire way to put a smile on someone’s face. According to the official website for Soldiers’ Angels, it provides a way to support deployed service members, veterans, and their families with encouraging or celebratory cards and notes (soldiersangels.org).

   Along with sending cards to soldiers, you can also send love and support via notes to hospitalized youth. You can do this either physically or electronically, it’ll brighten their day either way.

  Not only is giving back a way to help others who may not be as fortunate, it is also a way to remain in touch with your community and to form bonds with the people you help or volunteer with. It allows you to reevaluate the way you view your lifestyle, and gives you a chance to improve someone else’s. No matter how big or small the action, it is always important to do one’s part in creating a happier and healthier society.

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