With the holidays fast approaching, you may find yourself in the holiday spirit, or perhaps in more of a stressed-out spirit. Either way, it’s a wonderful time of year to give back to your community.

You’ll find that there are countless opportunities to get involved this time of year, and taking time to think of others and do some good can help put everything else in perspective. Here are some of the ways you can give back this holiday season.

Donate to Your Preferred Charity

Charitable giving is one of the most effective ways you can help people and organizations in need. Volunteering your time and skills is excellent, but every organization needs money and resources on-hand to cope with new challenges. There are many options out there for charities you can donate to. A few favorites among people looking to donate during the holiday season include Toys for Tots, Meals on Wheels, and St. Jude.

If you plan to donate physical items like toys or supplies, keep in mind that some charitable organizations place restrictions on what they will accept this time of year. Check your charity’s website to see what items they need the most.

Volunteer at a Local Food Bank

Food banks are always on the lookout for volunteers. From sorting food to delivering meals to hosting food drives, there are plenty of ways to provide hands-on help. Many food banks even allow for virtual volunteering too. For instance, Feeding America is an organization that provides volunteers with the opportunity to write thank-you notes or make thank-you calls to donors. If you have children, they could help you decorate cards with drawings or stickers.

Help a Neighbor

One of the simplest ways you can get involved in your community is by doing something nice for a neighbor. If you have an elderly, or less-mobile neighbor, consider lending a hand with property upkeep – raking leaves, shoveling snow, hanging holiday lights. Once cooler temperatures set in, elderly individuals or those with limited mobility might find it difficult to complete such arduous tasks. Small tasks go a long way too – helping with groceries or packages, bringing in a trash can, etc.

Start a Holiday Donation Jar with Your Family

If you have children, a holiday donation jar is a great way to get everyone in the family involved in the holiday season. For instance, your children could donate a portion of their allowance to the jar. You could also match your children’s donations and set a goal to reach by the end of the holiday season. Decide together where your funds will go so everyone is invested in the outcome.

Visit a Nursing Home or Children’s Hospital

The holidays can be a lonely time for many people, especially those that are unable to go home or be with loved ones. Facilities like children’s hospitals and nursing homes usually welcome visitors, but it’s important to call ahead of time to make sure. Ask what time is best for visiting, which residents are most in need of company, and what activities they might enjoy. You can plan to read stories, sing songs, or just have a friendly conversation.

However you decide to give back this year, know that even the smallest efforts can make a world of a difference to someone in need. Our community is stronger when we work together.

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