The winter season means different things for different people. But one consistent commonality is the sense of giving, which has all but defined the spirit of those holidays sprinkled across the months surrounding the new year.
And while giving is many times associated with money, there are also ways to donate without reaching too deep into your pockets, or at all. Luckily, generosity and philanthropy know no price tag — the mission behind both, especially during the holidays, is to simply help to provide for those in need, while hopefully raising awareness behind a particular cause.
If that sounds like something for you, keep reading to find 10 ways you can give back to those less fortunate than you, both during the holidays season as well as all year round.
1) Help the homeless: There is no shortage of ways to help the homeless, either locally or around the country. But the Coalition for the Homeless, “the nation’s oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women and children, has set up a webpage to collect any monetary donations you can spare.
2) Feed the hungry: Food kitchens gladly accept any and all donations of food, but the process has been streamlined to accommodate those in the age of the internet so that everybody can give back. Feeding America is one organization accepting online donations to help “feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger.” People can donate by clicking here.
3) Donate clothing: With much of the country going cold during the winter months, clothing is something everybody of all ages can use for the holidays and beyond. From giving a coat to giving other clothing, the internet can be your friend and help you find other places to give your old apparel.
4) Give money to children: With the holidays being such a magical time for children, in particular, giving to a charity that supports the youth is the way to go. The Spruce put together this handy guide of places readily accepting donations for children.
5) Help senior citizens: With the holidays typically evoking feelings of nostalgia, our older members of society especially shouldn’t be forgotten. Be A Santa To A Senior identifies “seniors who might not otherwise receive gifts this holiday season,” according to its website, which provides an interactive tool to help find older folks to help near you.
6) Give blood: While blood drives are conducted year-round, giving blood during the winter months is important because “donations often decline during the holidays when busy schedules, inclement weather and seasonal illnesses can make it more difficult for donors to make and keep donation appointments,” according to the Red Cross website. Learn more about donating blood by clicking here.
7) Volunteer your time: When all else fails, giving your own time can make a major difference for others. Oprah Winfrey’s website wrote about “unexpected but realistic ways” volunteering can make a difference. See them by clicking here.
8) Mentor children: Since the youth is the future of the world, there is no better group to lavish with gifts during the holidays. But in the absence of being able to part with any cash, giving your time can be just as valuable, if not more so. The National Mentoring Partnership provides information for anyone who would like to be a positive force in a child’s life so that “every young person has the supportive relationships they need to grow and develop into thriving, productive and engaged adults.” Click here to find out more.
9) Get involved politically: See something you want to fix in your community but aren’t sure how to do it? Always wanted to get involved with local politics but didn’t know how? One way to give back for the holidays is through politics. And that starts with identifying your political representatives and contacting them to see what they need help with. Chances are, your volunteering will be welcomed. Click here to find your local and national political representatives.
10) Find a cause you’re passionate about: This one is simple. If you don’t see something on this list that tickles your philanthropic fancy, just do a simple internet search for your preferred way to give back during the holidays. Google is your friend.