The holiday season rolls around every year, and time and time again you may be thinking … “I am so fortunate and grateful for all I have … but what can I do to give back to others?”
That feeling of guilt and overwhelm is sooo common and you are not alone in feeling that way!
Because after all, holidays are often filled with food, family, and plans with friends, and it’s easy to forget about giving back to others! Here are a few tips on how you can give back this holiday season.
Ways to donate time
Teach children or tutor: Are you skilled at teaching others? Perhaps the most complex of topics, like math, come easily to you and you can pass that knowledge along? Tutoring around the holidays (or yearlong, really!) could be a great way for you to give back this year! Organizations like MENTOR help match volunteers up with students who can benefit most from their skills. Not to mention that working with students can be rewarding and an awful lot of fun!
Volunteer at a food kitchen or pantry: Maybe you’re a natural born home chef or just a dab hand in the kitchen … your talents could be used in a food kitchen or pantry! Around the holidays as temperatures turn cool, food kitchens and pantries are in more need of volunteers than ever. Feeding America has a handy local food bank finder to help you connect with a food kitchen or pantry near you!
Volunteer at an animal shelter: Are furry friends more your speed? As cat and dog lovers ourselves, we don’t blame you one bit! ;) Around the holidays, animal shelters are often overflowing with furry friends in need and truly appreciate help from animal lovers looking to give back. You can foster animals at home or volunteer at the shelter by helping to walk dogs to help them get exercise, have some quality cat time to help with socialization or assist with grooming duties!
Petfinder has a volunteer page with shelters and rescues. And if you’re feeling REALLY generous (and let’s face it … wanting some furry snuggles!) you might consider adopting a pet as well. Just make sure you follow this pet adoption checklist in carefully thinking through the latest addition to your family.
Ways to donate items or money
While donating time is a great way to give back, sometimes you’re too busy to physically go somewhere, so donating items or money is a better fit.
Proper Good donates one meal per social feed post and subscription order: Did you know that your purchase at Proper Good gives back to others? Believe it! When you purchase Proper Good and post your meal on Instagram with @eatpropergood and #eatpropergood, we donate a meal to those in need on your behalf. And, we also donate a meal for every subscription order. Now that’s a tasty way to give back this holiday season!
Goodwill: What to donate?: Goodwill is a philanthropic organization focused on giving back to those in need, and they have stores all over the US to help achieve that goal.
Perhaps you have items in decent condition you’re looking to get rid of? Now is a GREAT time to go into the year with a clean home and knowing you’ve given back to a deserving organization like Goodwill. But it can be confusing to know which items Goodwill does and does not accept!
Goodwill accepts donations of all kinds, including:
- Vehicles (yes, Goodwill accepts used cars!)
- Clothing and shoes
- Hats, gloves, mittens, and scarves
- Books, records and CD’s
- Household items like dishes and utensils
Here are some helpful donor guidelines for additional information on donating to Goodwill.
Donate clothes bin: When thinking about clothing to donate, you might be unsure what’s most needed. As you purge your closet or junk drawer, keep an eye out for these commonly sought-after clothing items: t-shirts, shoes, jackets, ties, dresses, sweaters, hats, gloves, handbags, coats, bathing suits, sleepwear and formal wear.
Keep in mind that sometimes, the donation center will even pick up donations at your home. The American Red Cross accepts donations through a partnership with GreenDrop, which picks up clothing donations.
Donate to St. Jude’s: Did you know that at St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital, children receive top care and treatments at no cost to their families? Illness treatments invented at St. Jude have helped raise the childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80%, and doctors there are continually researching new methods to bring more effective treatments to the children who walk through their doors.
Every dollar donated helps support families of children fighting illness–they don’t have to pay for treatment, travel, housing, or food and can focus fully on supporting their little one through treatment and to a clean bill of health.
Donate to Wellfare: In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment and food insecurity has increased drastically. In 2020, over 60 million people turned to food banks and community programs for help putting food on the table. And according to the USDA, more than 38 million people, including 12 million children, are food insecure in the United States.
While this issue may seem SO overwhelming that there’s nothing you can do to help, that’s not true! Even the smallest action can have a big impact on someone’s life.
Wellfare is an organization close to our hearts, and they work tirelessly to aid those dealing with food insecurity. As we mentioned earlier, Proper Good donates one meal per social feed post and subscription order–the organization we donate to is Wellfare. To date, we’ve donated 3,500 meals through our partnership with Wellfare and are proud to be a brand that believes in giving back.
Ways to give back that don’t include money
We get that sometimes, you want to give back and show kindness to others but perhaps don’t have money to donate. That’s okay! There are many ways to give back that don’t require a cash donation.
Send a kind note to someone: It’s easy to brighten someone’s day with a kind note in the mail … or even an uplifting email or social media DM! Try thinking of 5 people who you want to send a kind note to, and fill a message with reasons why you’re grateful for them. We guarantee this will make their day, or even their whole month!
Give something homemade: Perhaps you already have knitting supplies laying around and can make a wooly hat or gloves for someone in need? Or extra goods in the pantry you can use to whip up a casserole for an elderly neighbor? You may be surprised by the everyday supplies that, with a little creativity and elbow grease, can be made into something simple that can be donated to others in need.
Run a race for charity: Are you always on the move and athletic? Perhaps you can try raising money from loved ones and run a 5K for charity! Many cities have races throughout the year that give back–here is a list of 10 races you can run for a cause.
Giving back doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive! Often, the most thoughtful acts of kindness are simple and even inexpensive.
We hope this list has inspired you to give back and spread cheer this holiday season!