Thanksgiving is a time to spend with friends and family and also feel grateful. However, amidst the celebration, food and Black Friday sales shopping, one must also think about small ways to give back to the world, the homeless and to the community. There are so many people who are not so fortunate and thanksgiving is the perfect time to think about them. You can also involve your kids in these small giving back project ideas so that they also feel grateful for the abundance around them. Let us discuss some easy ways to give back during the holidays.
1. Search for agencies that host Thanksgiving meals for homeless
Type ‘thanksgiving volunteering’ and add your city and state in the search engines. You will get lots of results for agencies that organize feasts for the homeless. These need thanksgiving regulars like pies, turkey, stuffing etc. If there is a group near you hosting these meals, they might also have a list of things they need. You can also donate money. Many of these charity groups give ingredients so needy families so that they can cook their own thanksgiving meals. You could also consider adopting such a family.
2. Volunteer to cook, clean, teach a class at local organizations
The best ways to give back to your community during the holidays is to volunteer to cook, clean, serve etc. It is a great way of showing your kids ‘why give during the holidays’. It is gratifying and fun. Many of the events are held earlier during the day so you still get to go back later and spend time with your family/friends. Volunteering is a beautiful activity for people who are missing their loved ones during the Holidays. You can volunteer at local soup kitchens, homes for kids/women etc.
3. Check with your workplace/office
It is downright easy to find ways to give back at Christmas and Thanksgiving. Many workplaces/offices, schools, radio and TV stations, newspaper agencies, churches and synagogues take up large and small giving back projects. A simple Google search will give you numerous ideas. Many employers also match donations made for various charity.
4. Buy cards that support a charity
Thanksgiving is a good time to shop for Holiday cards. Many nonprofit organizations sell cards that donate the proceeds to the homeless. You can also buy decoration items, artistic handmade gifts as well as gift wrapping papers or gifting bags.
5. Help at an animal shelter
One of the best ways to give back to the world during the holidays is to help at animal shelters. They are always in need of volunteers to help domestic/wildlife animals in distress. You can also visit pet adoption centers and clean up the yard, walk dogs and so on.
6. Help an elderly neighbor
Many elderly people are alone during the Holidays. Volunteer to help them out with the cooking. Better still; invite them over for the feast. You can also help them with daily chores all throughout the year. If you are busy, you can offer to help them during the Holidays with cleaning, decoration, yard work, snow shoveling etc. Please visit this link to find elderly care services and meal delivery options.
7. Join programs for mentoring kids
Many organizations are devoted to helping children in the age groups of 6-18 to build character. For more information, visit Mentor Kids to find a center near you.
8. Help over phone
If you are unable to leave your place, you can also connect with sick patients over phone. Talking or texting is a great way to connect with lonely people. Here is a great site that has resources and links you can check out. Samaritans suicide prevention hotline is another great place to work. You will need to train first as a volunteer.
9. Build homes for the homeless
Many organizations help build homes for destitute and homeless people. Your help during the Holidays can improve and transform neighborhoods and also the lives of people who have been living on the streets. Find a local Habitat for humanity near you.
10. Support the veterans
Participate in special projects, teach, serve meals, prepare/donate supplies, or organize corporate work outings to support the veterans. Check with you employer if they can match your donation. You can also knit blankets or sweaters for vets. Here are some small giving back project ideas to help vets.
11. Help out at the library
Holidays are a great time to support your local library. Many libraries are short on staff this time of the year and you can do a lot to help them out. You can even teach adults basic English as a second language. Another great idea is to host a program for children in the community and teach them basic Holiday crafts, card making, baking etc.
12. Toy/coat/bikes drive
Donate gently used toys, sweaters or coats to the needy. Search for local organizations that come to pick these items up. Salvation Army and Community Giving Tree are some great websites in case you are looking for resources. You can also donate bikes and bike parts.
13. Run for a cause
Combine giving back to the community and fitness by running for a cause. Make sure you are fit to handle the strenuous activity.
14. Blood donation drives
Red Cross organizes annual blood donation drives during Thanksgiving and Holidays. Enter your zip code to find local Red Cross centers near you.
This Thanksgiving, do something different and give back to the community by using above ideas.