Christmas is right around the corner, which means it is finally time to start spreading holiday cheer! For some people, it has been a tradition to give back to those less fortunate in their community and to give individuals hope during the holiday season amidst struggles.
If you were thinking about making this a tradition for yourself and your family, or are just feeling extra generous and caring, there is probably an organization near you that would greatly value your time, donations and support. Here are a few to consider:
1. Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots is an organization that has been around since 1947. It’s run by the United States Marine Corps and partnered with Disney. Starting in late October and lasting until early December, donations of new and unwrapped toys are collected to give to needy children who wouldn’t receive anything else for Christmas if it weren’t for this organization. Located in all 50 states and in over 700 communities, this organization provides light and happiness to children’s lives. There are designated “drop-off centers” for your donations and many can be found at major chains such as Toys-R-Us. If you are interested in finding the one nearest to you or starting up a donation location for your own community, visit the Toys for Tots website here.
2. The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is an international Christianity-based organization that has been around to help the needy since 1865. This organization is very popular nation-wide and is most likely in your own community. During the holiday season, you can take the name and information of an economically disadvantaged child off of the “Angel Tree” that is at many grocery stores and malls, and provide him or her with things they need. The program aids almost one million American children annually. In addition to the Angel Tree Program, you can sign up to donate groceries for holiday meals to struggling families in your area.
Additionally, you can sign up to be a volunteer or worker for the giant Christmas events this organization hosts every year to feed and entertain the homeless. For more information, visit www.salvationarmyusa.org.
3. Habitat for Humanity
If you are looking for the ability to aid internationally, Habitat for Humanity offers a travel program where you are sent to help build homes for the needy in various other countries. It is called “Christmas Blitz,” and hundreds of volunteers go to build homes and deliver other aid for a little over a week in December. This year, the program will be hosted in El Salvador, a country where there are many in desperate need from natural disasters and gang violence that has left them without shelter. Visit www.habitat.org for more details.
There are other things you can do, too! Visit nursing homes. Donate to your local Humane Society. Find the outlet best for you and go and make a difference this holiday season!