I know it’s hard to believe, but the holidays are quickly approaching. Personally, I always look forward to the holiday season. I love seeing all the beautiful lights and decorations around town, cozying up to a warm fire with hot chocolate (and lots of mini marshmallows of course!) and spending time with the ones I love. However, for many others, the holidays can be an extremely difficult time. Please consider taking some time this upcoming holiday season to help out those who are struggling. Don’t know where to start? Here are some ideas:
1. Donate/Volunteer at a Local Food Bank
Each year, families in need are able to receive Christmas baskets from local food banks. These baskets are full of food and love. Christmas basket programs rely solely on volunteers in the community. Check out the Brantford Food Bank’s website for more information on becoming a volunteer, how to donate, as well as basket registration.
2. Make Care Packages for the Homeless
A 2016 report by CBC News estimates that 235,000 people are homeless in Canada annually. Create your own care packages to drop off to the homeless, including but not limited to: socks, hats, gloves, blankets and scarves that can help keep people warm in the frigid winter weather. Other items like deodorant, snacks, toothpaste, etc. can always be of use. Pinterest has a wonderful number of examples of how to create DIY care packages for the homeless.
3. Participate in a Toy Drive
There is nothing better than seeing a child’s face light up on Christmas morning when they see presents under the tree. To make this possible for families who cannot afford Christmas gifts, consider participating in a toy drive. Food Banks often accept toys during the holiday season, or you can even start your own! Try starting a toy drive at your workplace, school or neighborhood. This simple gesture allows all kids to have that same excited feeling I remember as a child.
4. Raise Money through Fundraising
Starting a fundraiser is an excellent way to help others. Do you love to paint? Draw? Knit? Consider selling these items and raising funds towards local organizations and shelters that assist the less fortunate. Not artistic? Try a bake sale! Those supporting you are able to receive homemade items, which in turn, helps out local organizations!
5. Random Acts of Kindness
I have learned that many people who are in need don’t often show it. Your own next-door neighbours may be struggling in silence. Make everyone’s holidays a little brighter this upcoming season through simple random acts of kindness. Perhaps you can start by shoveling the sidewalks and driveways of others in your neighbourhood. Invite your neighbors over for dinner. Send postcards wishing your coworkers “Merry Christmas.” There are so many random acts of kindness that could mean so much to someone – even if you don’t know it.
So, before you bunker down for the holidays, remember that there are a number of individuals and families who could use your help. Let’s make this upcoming season safe and memorable for everyone!