This is the time of year when most of us realize our blessings and want to share them with others. It’s also the time when want and need are most keenly felt, but it isn't the only time.
So, here are a few different options for donating your time or possessions along with examples of what others are doing. Choose one now and one to make the season of generosity last all year.
The example: In December, Eloise schedules a workday with her grandchildren to fill 50 or more stockings to give to children in a homeless shelter. She explains, “It’s good for them to see how blessed they are. They need to know that not everyone has what they have. There is need.”
She also continues her generous donations via food and money throughout the year. She hopes to instill in her grandchildren that, while need is always present, there is something each one of us can do. She believes "it is our responsibility and privilege to do so."
What you can do:
- Buy special treats to donate to a homeless shelter or a juvenile facility that houses adolescents in difficult circumstances
- Donate new toys to a women’s crisis shelter (some arrive with children just before Christmas and have not had an opportunity to sign-up for Christmas gift adoption)
- Purchase gift cards that an organization such as Family Promise or Habitat for Humanity can use to help residents transitioning to their new homes
The example: Operation Blue Christmas in Lawrence, KS is an annual project begun by local police officers who often witness need in the community. They donate toys and food to local agencies for distribution because they want to be known not just law enforcers, but as individuals dedicated to serving and caring for the public in other ways.
The police have expanded their project to allow members of the community to participate in their philanthropic efforts, and the local sanitation department has joined to make that even easier. For two Mondays, residents can leave food and toys curbside to be picked-up on the day of yard waste collection.
What you can do:
- Organize your own neighborhood drive by caroling or taking cookies or another small gift to the neighbors, and then ask for one non-perishable item to donate to a local agency with food pantry distribution
- Write a check or purchase extra food to donate when grocery shopping
Of course, you can always donate regularly to agencies such as The Salvation Army, Feed the Children, or to discretionary funds at various churches, etc. The idea is simple – make the world a better place, not just for one season, but all year long.
May you be blessed for blessing others!