The holiday season can be a great time to share what you are thankful for. It’s the perfect time to take a look at all you have and truly appreciate it. It’s also a perfect time to look at ways you can help those who may not have the same things to be thankful for. Giving back to others can be a help to them and a reminder to you of all you have been blessed with. We have thirty ways to give back to others for you to consider.
Ways to Give Back to Others
Help children in tough situations
Children don’t always get a choice in the circumstances they walk through. There are many children who will go through unspeakable difficulties at a young age. There are also many organizations out there set on being a voice and a help for these children. Giving back to some of these organizations can encourage children who are walking a hard road. Here are a few ways to give back to children in your area.
- Hospitals and Medical Care facilities - Many children will deal with illnesses that their little bodies shouldn’t. Reach out to a local hospital or pediatric care facility and inquire about their needs. Some will accept new stuffed animals, movies, or other small items to give the kids on hard days. Prepackaged, sugar-free snacks are often accepted as well and can be a much appreciated alternative.
- Toy Drives - During the holiday season, many children won’t see toys as holiday gifts. Their parents are working hard for just enough. Contribute a small toy or gift to a toy drive in your area.
- Clean up a local playground - While the parks departments try, they may not always get a playground as clean as they could. Take some time to give back by cleaning up your local playground.
- Police and foster care programs - Many children will be placed in temporary foster care or removed by police. These programs will accept clothes, stuffed animals, and toiletries to help a child make this transition a little less traumatic.
- Schools and afterschool programs - Schools in most areas are doing a great deal on a minimal budget. Volunteer time or offer to buy supplies for a classroom at your local school.
Encourage a Mom Friend
Welcoming a new baby can be exhausting. Whether it’s her first or not, a new mom needs to feel the support of her community. There are some simple ways to give back to a mom friend in your life. It doesn’t even have to be a new mom. Here are a few ways to encourage a mom friend.
- Bring a meal - Some nights it can be nice to focus on a new baby or deal with a parenting struggle instead of worrying about cooking. If there is a new mom in your life, making her a meal she doesn’t have to cook can bring her so much joy. Make sure to look at options for food allergies such as substituting with coconut aminos or using a Whole30 Approved BBQ sauce if the family has any food sensitivities.
- Help her clean - Most moms will never ask for help cleaning. However, they desperately want it. Come over and help fold a load of laundry or do a load of dishes.
- Offer to babysit - During the holiday months moms have a hard time with taking a break and focusing on themselves. Offer to babysit so the mom you know can take a break.
- Help a women’s shelter - Some moms will spend the holidays in a shelter or program instead of at home. You can either volunteer your time or ask what donations-- whether blankets or clothes or even healthy snacks --are most needed for the program and donate those.
- Help a military spouse - Military moms who are home while their partners are deployed won’t typically ask for help. However, getting in and offering to help in any way can mean the world. Find small ways to help the military spouse in your life.
Help the Elderly
The elderly population is often overlooked by many during the holiday months. Taking some time to give back to them can mean the world. Even better, there are multiple ways you can serve them. Some don’t even require money. Here are a few ways to help the elderly.
- Volunteer at a Nursing Home/Long Term Care Facility - Many residents of these programs don’t get visitors often. Volunteer to go sit awhile and listen to their stories.
- Bring a Meal - One way to show kindness to an elderly person is to bring a meal. Bringing a meal or healthy, hearty snacks they can enjoy can bring them so much joy.
- Help around the house - Many elderly people don’t have the same abilities they used to. This might mean the garden isn’t as well kept or that the house may need minor repairs they can’t do. Take some time to help around the house.
- Partner with senior care organizations - Organizations like Meals on Wheels work to care for the elderly population by providing meals. You can take a shift delivering meals or help these organizations in other ways.
- Help with the small day to day things - Do you have an elderly person in your neighborhood? Ask what their biggest struggles are in the day to day. This might mean you help mow their yard each week or that you bring their garbage cans down to the curb. Find small ways to help in the day to day.
Help the Homeless in Your Area
Homelessness is growing rapidly and many will spend the holidays without a roof over their head. There are some simple ways to help. The homeless population is often overlooked. However, in most areas there are many who will have no home to go to at the end of the day. Here are a few ways to help the homeless in your area.
- Prepare Blessing Bags - These simple bags can stay in your car and include items like socks, baby wipes, water bottles, and snacks like a sugar free jerky. Put together a few of these bags to keep in the car for the next time you see a homeless person asking for help.
- Partner with local shelters - Many of the homeless shelters you will see serve men, women, and even children. Reach out to a shelter in your area and ask what they need most. They may need your time, clothing donations, healthy, sugar-free snacks, or help preparing meals.
- Provide blankets for colder months - During colder weather, having a quality jacket or warm blanket can be a game changer. You can donate these to an organization or gift them directly to a homeless person you encounter.
- Give to organizations that serve the homeless - A lot of the organizations that help the homeless run thrift shops or fund their programs through alternative means. Donate unused food, clothing, or new toiletries to these places to help out.
- Start a donation drive - If a local homeless mission is currently working to collect a certain supply, you can start a donation drive to encourage friends and relatives to help meet the needs of the program.
Encourage Healthcare Workers
Healthcare workers such as nurses and doctors work long shifts with minimal breaks. They often work holidays. It is not uncommon for them to miss out on family meals and experiences because they are caring for others. While they are doing their jobs, sometimes a little encouragement can go a long way. Here are a few ways to encourage healthcare workers.
- Bring them a meal - Work with friends and buy a meal for an entire shift of nurses in a hospital, long term care facility, or other program. Remember to include snacks and other small meal items for on-the-go eating.
- Send cards - A simple thank you card can mean the world to the nurse or doctor working a long shift. Put together a card for each of the hard working nurses on a floor or unit.
- Offer to help with holiday shopping - For many nurses and doctors time is not always a resource they have an abundance of. Offer to help with shopping for the holidays so that they can focus on family time. (This doesn’t mean you buy their gifts for them. Instead, you are offering to be their personal shopper.)
- Offer to help around the house - Many of the healthcare workers will be working countless hours and may not have time for things around the house. Take some time to help clean or fix small things around the house.
- Help with childcare - Working long shifts with varying schedules can be hard. One way to give back to a healthcare person in your life is to help with childcare if needed. This might mean standing in the gap for a couple hours or watching their children while they work an unexpected night shift.
Be more generous in your day-to-day life.
While you may not be able to do some of these extra items above, you can help in small ways in your day-to-day life. You are bound to encounter people who have less than you or need help in some way. Being able to be a bit more generous in your day-to-day life can be a game changer for someone. These opportunities will find you if you are ready for them. Here are a few ways to be more generous in your day-to-day life.
- Tip a little extra - During the holidays if you are able to tip a bit extra, do so. This can be a simple way to give back. You never know the struggles someone might be walking through.
- Contribute to food drives - The holidays are the perfect time for food drives. Contributing to food drives can be a simple way to give back.
- Pick up extra cards to send out - When you are shopping pick up a few extra cards. Mail a letter of encouragement to a friend or family member to make them smile. The holidays aren’t magical for everyone.
- Donate to local charities - In the holiday season, many local charities will be fund raising. Keeping change on hand for these programs can be a small way to give back.
- Donate instead of throwing away - When cleaning items out of the house to prepare for more visitors coming in it can be tempting to throw items away. However, there are many programs that can benefit from donations. Before throwing items out, research who can best benefit from those items.