Ideas for Donations, Volunteering, and Giving Back During This Holiday Season

For many of us, the holiday season is a busy time filled with work, shopping, holiday events and family traditions. However, there are those who are less fortunate who must rely on the generosity of others to get them through the holidays. For these folks, basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter take priority over gift giving and sipping warm cider by a roaring fire.

Although many of us want to help, our own purse strings may be tighter this time of year. The cost of gasoline and heating our homes continues to increase while our paychecks remain the same. However, the desire to help others is ever present. Here are some tips on how to give back without cutting into your funds.

  • Donate canned goods to a local food pantry.
  • Donate used coats, hats and scarves or blankets to local shelters: Go through your closets and coat racks and gather all the used coats, hats and scarves you have not worn in ages. Make sure they are clean and in good condition, and look for a drop box for the items in local stores. You could also try calling local shelters about how to donate the items.
  • Donate your spare or lose change: Take what change is left over from your latest purchases and set it aside each day. By the end of the month, you will be surprised at how much money you have accumulated. Donate the spare change to a local charity or to the Salvation Army.
  • Donate a toy: Inspire a child this holiday season by donating a new toy to Toys for Tots. Make a quick stop at a local department store like Target or Kmart while you are in the midst of your weekly errands and pick up something for a child who would otherwise get nothing. Better yet, donate a toy and ask your business to be a drop-off location for Toys for Tots.

A few months before the holiday season after every shopping go into your pantry and pick out about four items anything from canned goods to mac and cheese. You can even take up a collection from your neighborhood and then give it either to the local church or another local charity. This can help needy families a lot without hurting your pocket book. One more idea I practiced with my children is cooking a holiday meal for the people who lived at the park.

Holiday Donation and Volunteer Ideas:

A great place to volunteer is with Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS) an international volunteer program where you would be making meaningful relationships and where you'll gain new perspectives and insight into the culture and yourself. It's an exciting and personally inspiring experience, and you'll develop memories that will be with you a life time.

CCS offers international volunteer programs in Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Ghana:

Who Volunteers: Whether looking for college credit, a chance to travel during a career break, or simply a volunteer vacation for the family, volunteers come from very different parts of the world, and very different places in life. From young children traveling with their families to 86-year old adventurers, the range of life experience and backgrounds coming together at the CCS Home-Base is always unique, always exciting. You'll gain new friendships and new perspectives as you and your fellow volunteers get to know one another and share in the adventure of volunteering abroad. CCS is committed to make volunteering abroad possible for people of all ages, abilities, and all walks of life. We offer a Teen Volunteer Abroad program for teens wishing to travel on their own. They strive to be accessible to volunteers with mobility concerns and are taking important strides toward that goal. Four CCS Home-Bases — Costa Rica (Cartago), Ghana, Peru (Lima), and Thailand (Bangkok) — are accessible to volunteers with mobility restrictions and people who use wheelchairs. They also have experience working with volunteers who are hard of hearing, visually impaired, and living with mental disabilities.

CCS volunteers working in Brazil have the opportunity to contribute to community-based projects initiated by the residents of these shantytowns. One such town is Alagados. Meaning "flooded," it is made up of shacks built over water on stilts. Most residents are under the age of twenty, and the community-based organizations help to provide them with education, employment, and health care . Guatemala, India, Morocco, Perum Russia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Thailand. Offices also located in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. We are in Special C It's an exciting for CCS has a worldwide staff of over 300 people, and operates in 12 countries, with administrative Consultative Status with the United Nations, and have been profiled in more than 500 news outlets.

What better time to give back than the holiday season, when it's such a family oriented time of year. When you give you get so much more in return, not to mention how good it makes you feel.


- Jodi B.


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