Written By: Girl Tyler
The most wonderful time of the year often means challenging times for your most vulnerable neighbors. It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday frenzy, eager to buy the most expensive gift on your loved one’s wish list or going bananas with decorations. Why not switch it up this year! Focus on individuals in your community who are in need, or who may just need a little boost.Small acts of kindness go a long way in times of need. Use this list to brighten the holidays for children, adults, and senior citizens around you and spread a little extra joy.
Host a Food Drive
Millions of families experience hunger during the holidays. Help lower the numbers this year. Ask your church or company for permission to use their space for a few hours and recruit your family and friends to drop off non-perishable items. Deliver everything you collect to a local food pantry or shelter.
Remember Essential Workers
Not everyone has the luxury of paid time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Send holiday cards to service members, first responders, and staffers at local hospitals. Don't forget staffers at local news stations who work 24/7 to keep you informed. They work on holidays too! Let them know you appreciate them by sending a kind message on their social media.
Donate Winter Essentials
As the temperatures dip and extreme winter weather hits, tens of thousands of homeless people across the U.S. die each year from hypothermia. Donate unworn or gently used winter items like blankets, socks, coats, scarves, and gloves to local shelters. Keep these items in your car to have them handy when you come across people in need while you’re running errands. And don’t forget –women’s shelters always need feminine products, so be sure to donate.
Give to a Toy Drive
Every child deserves to feel special at Christmas. There are several charities, both nationally and locally, that collect toy donations. You can even drop them off at a local grocery store. Encourage your children to join in by donating their gently used toys and clothes.
Create a Social Media Fundraiser
Ask your friends and followers to donate to your favorite non-profit or any worthy cause that supports families in need during the holidays.
Leave goodies for your mail carrier and delivery person
The holidays are a super busy time for the postal service. They have long hours and do a lot of heavy lifting to make sure your gifts make it to their destination ahead ofSanta. Pick up a few extra granola bars, chips, waters, and other sealed snacks and leave them at your doorstep with a special note thanking them for their hard work.
Calls for blood are typically heightened during natural disasters, but accidents happen every day and there is always a need for blood. Make some time to stop by a blood drive and give the gift of life.
Sponsor families of inmates
There are countless children with one or both parents who are incarcerated. A child shouldn’t be punished at Christmas because a parent is in prison. Team up with an organization to sponsor an inmate by sending gifts to their children in their name.
Pay It Forward
Many people will pay for the person’s meal in the car behind them in the drive-thru or buy coffee for a stranger at Starbucks. Take it a step further by leaving a tip for your barista or giving a gift card to the cashier.
Donate your time
Shelters experience an increase in visitors during the holidays. Sign up to volunteer for a few hours.
Go Heavy on the Kindness
Giving back isn’t always about a monetary gift. Be a helping hand. Notice someone unable to reach an item on the shelf at the grocery store? Get it for them. Is there another shopper struggling to load groceries into their car? Do it for them. Check in on your elderly neighbors who live alone. Speak up for the voiceless. Smile as much as possible. Above all, the holidays are about visibility. We all want to be seen and feel as though we matter.