The holiday season is always exciting: you get that much needed time off, some quality time with your family and even new and shiny presents. But amid all the holiday buzz, it can be easy to forget that it’s the season of giving.
That’s why, in 2012, New York’s 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation started #GivingTuesday — an annual holiday that kicks off the charitable season — to bring groups all around the world together to celebrate and encourage giving. Now in its seventh year, the holiday uses the viral power of social media and garnered more than $300 million in online donations just last year.
So, what are some goods ways to help during the holidays? Our Kinetic by Windstream team has rounded up five ways to give back to this community this holiday season:
1. Check with Your Local Food Banks and Soup Kitchens
These are some the first things that come to mind when thinking about giving back. Local food banks like to stock up before the holidays so less fortunate families can also have a hearty Thanksgiving meal. A lesser known fact is that local food banks are especially in need of donations right after the holidays. Stock up on canned foods — especially when they go on sale — and donate them to your local food banks or an agency running a canned food drive.
And don’t forget about the gift of time: if you have a few hours to spare, see if your local soup kitchen needs some helping hands serving, washing dishes or picking up.
Or, simply double whatever recipe you might want and help out a friend or neighbor in need!
2. Donate Lightly-Used Items
How often do you hang onto something that you no longer use or need? That goes for clothes, bedding, toys and more. Whether you or your kids have grown out of clothes or toys — or if they never fancied them in the first place — give them to children or families in need. Plus, it could give you a chance to get your spring cleaning out the way a little earlier!
Where can you contribute? Goodwill may be one of the first places that come to mind, but remember there are other national charities, such as American Red Cross, Vietnam Veterans of America, The Salvation Army, or the Big Brother Big Sister Foundation. If you’re wanting to give locally, check with your area homeless shelters, community outreach centers, churches or school clothing drives.
3. Stuff Some Stockings
Give a new meaning to stocking stuffers: Pack up some stockings with essentials for whomever you’d like to hand them out. If, as an example, you’d like to pass them out to the homeless, include some sustenance, some warm accessories like Hand Warmers, hygienic products or even first aid items. Or, if you’re wanting to assemble some for pets at your local animal shelter, include some treats, tags and toys.
4. Adopt a Family
There’s always someone who is without family during the holidays, whether it’s an international student studying abroad or someone who has just moved into the area and couldn’t make it home for the holidays. There are yet others, like the elderly who may no longer have family and those who work during the holidays (think: police officers and hotel staff.)
Bring them into your home this holiday season, whether it’s for a few nights of dinner or giving them a little something simple that could brighten their day.
5. Go Big
Got a cause you are passionate about? There’s almost always some way to help! Use your Kinetic Internet to look for any groups or organizations that are devoted to that cause, and see where you might be able to lend a helping hand.
And, if you’ve tried many of the options above, don’t forget that you can always get online with your Kinetic Internet, find even more ways to help during the holidays and keep paying it forward!
Just remember that, like online shopping, you’ll want to keep your information secure by taking measures like ensuring you’re giving to a credible organization.