Looking for ways to give back during the holidays? I hope this post inspires you and gets you and your family into the spirit of giving!
Today the holidays seem to be more and more about getting than giving gifts. Gifts, gifts and more gifts! We are inundated with ads promoting consumerism on a daily basis. For every two posts you scroll past on Facebook an ad appears. The true meaning of the season has been overshadowed with toys and technology. This year, lets vow to do more giving than getting.
Here are 15 ways to give back locally this season.
- Volunteer to deliver meals with us! Delivering for meals on wheels will be the most rewarding part of your week. We deliver hot meals to home-bound senior citizens in our community who have difficulty preparing their own meals! Sometimes, we are the only people they interact with all day. There is something so special about being able to provide a hot meal to someone! Why wait for Thanksgiving to volunteer at a soup kitchen, when you can DELIVER a hot meal every day of the week! Sign up here.
- Host a Canned Food Drive Join with us in collecting canned food to provide supplemental food to our neighbors in need! We are partnering with Liberty and Dayton ISD to make this drive a success this year so kids can participate as well! Find more information about this drive and our convenient drop of locations here.
- Decorate Lunch Sacks for Meals on Wheels When we deliver meals to our neighbors, we often have items like hot rolls or bananas along with the meal in a sealed tray and having paper sacks to transport the items from the car to our neighbor makes the process so much easier! Plus, it really brightens their day to receive the decorated sacks! Many of our clients even save the bags and have them hanging on their wall as art! If interested, buy standard size lunch sacks from your local grocery store or order from Amazon and decorate as many as you would like for us! You can drop off the decorated sacks at our office in the Choir Room of the First United Methodist Church in Liberty or at the Dayton Community Center office located inside Jones Public Library in Dayton!
- Host a Christmas or Thanksgiving Dinner at your Church Many of our neighbors do not have local family or friends to spend the holidays with. Reach out to your local church about hosting an event and promoting the attendance of those who don’t have plans for the holiday season! Offer to pick up and bring friends to the dinner!
- Bake Some Love Everyone loves receiving baked goods! Get out your favorite recipes and bake cookies for friends or neighbors! Deliver them with a card letting them know how much you care about them!
- Give Casseroles The holidays are busy for everyone! With all the rushing, planning, shopping and hosting, everyone could use a casserole, especially if you deliver it frozen so they can heat and eat it later! Cover your favorite casserole with foil and write the heating instructions on top!
- Stuff Stockings For an easy and inexpensive gift, stop by your local dollar store and pick up stockings and fill with toiletries! Bonus if they are travel size, which are always handy to have!
- Decorate Windows Contact your local nursing home and offer to decorate the windows of resident’s rooms! This will surely brighten their day!
- Christmas Caroling Everyone loves carolers! Visit nursing homes, hospitals, or senior centers and offer to carol!
- Grab a name off an Angel Tree Wal-Mart and some local grocery stores still participate in Angel Trees! Grab a name of a kiddo off the tree and fulfill their Christmas wish!
- Pay Someone’s Library Fines This is a unique one! And even better than paying for someone’s Starbucks! Paying the fine for late returns or paying to replace a lost or damaged book helps the patron AND the library! Ask your librarian to find someone you can help out! There are multiple libraries in our area: Tarkington Community Library, Jones Public Library, Liberty Municipal Library and Austin Memorial Library.
- Donate a Book to the Library Do you have a favorite book that you and your family love to read during the holiday season? Buy it in hardback and donate it to your local library! Share the joy of the season with many others for years to come!
- Donate Supplies to Teachers Many teachers use their own money for classroom supplies. They are constantly creating and crafting new games and activities to keep their students engaged! Contact your local school to get their wishlist items!
- Give Craft Supplies to a Day Care Are you a pinterest queen or king? Find a fun and easy holiday craft and get the supplies needed to complete it. Write down the instructions and deliver the craft kit to your local daycare. The teachers will appreciate it so much! As long as is it doesn’t involve glitter! Ha!
- Volunteer to hand out food with local food pantry If you live in Dayton, Cleveland or Liberty there are three different locations to volunteer at! The dWELLing in Liberty hands out food at the football stadium, the Dayton Community Center hands out food at their center and the Trinity River Food Bank also hands out food at their main location on Houston Street. Follow these groups on social media to find out their dates and times.
Let’s give back together this season! Got more ideas? I would love to hear them! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Hannah Taylor, Executive Director GRACE Initiative