Updated: Jan 12
The world is full of people in need year-round, especially during the holidays. Whether it's through donations, or actions, I've got some unique ways that you can lift the spirits of those in need, while still getting gifts for everyone on your list. These ideas are pretty safe and can be tailored to your budget and lifestyle. Please leave a comment if you are trying any of these!
I want to start by listing two charity organizations I featured on Great Day Live Tampa Bay.
1. ECHO of Brandon, Emergency Health Care Organization, established in 1987, and with a second location now in Hillsborough County. Echo's mission is to assist residents of Hillsborough County in crisis with emergency food and clothing, offering life stabilizing resources and programs. One program in particular I love is ECHO Handmade. Excess clothing donations that cannot be used for clients are repurposed into funky accessories while providing professional assets to artisans in need of job training. Through mindful recycling and community development, ECHO Handmade has prevented thousands of pounds of salvaged materials from reaching landfills and has equipped artisans with new technical skills to take with them as they enter the workforce. 100% of proceeds goes to fight hunger in Hillsborough County. Visit ECHOFL.ORG To find out more about this program and other ways you can help your community.
2. A Kids Place in Tampa Bay, A Kid's place provides residential services to children from birth age to 18, who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.They provide a variety of services which meet the social, educational, medical, and psychological needs of the child. A Kids Place primary focus is to keep sibling groups together in a safe, stable, home-like environment until a more permanent placement can be provided. There are so many ways you can get involved to help, one way is by shopping at a Kids Place boutique. They have a variety of candles inspired by the children living at a kids place and created locally by 7th avenue apothecary. You can also purchase notecards, ornaments, and more, designed & handmade by the foster children at a Kids Place. 100% of proceeds help the foster children living at a kids place. For more information go to akidsplacetb.org.
Here are 15 additional ways you can give back this holiday season:
1. Donate Blood
When you donate blood, you’re providing a lifesaving service, like health care providers, first responders and other essential workers, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If you’ve recently recovered from COVID-19, your blood is also needed because it might help someone else who is critically ill to fight the disease. And, you can rest assured that all blood and plasma centers follow strict Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to keep you safe.
2. Raise Money for a Charity
If you normally exchange presents with family and friends, consider asking them to instead make a gift to charity. You can suggest a charity dear to your heart or let the gift-giver choose the organization. This will make the holiday more meaningful and set a good example, particularly if you have children, by demonstrating the importance of giving.
3. Write Letters To Essential Workers, The Elderly
During the holidays, many people will be be experiencing intense feelings of loneliness or anxiety. You can write letters to them through organizations likeLetters Against DepressionandLetters of Love.
4. Share & Support Causes on Your Social Media
This holiday season, share and promote the charities and causes that you believe ok Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.
5. Buy Gifts That Give Back
Check out this list in The Strategist
6. Give Presents To Children Who Have Parents In Prison
Childten who have parents in prison often feel forgotten. Make them feel special, visit PrisonFellowship.org to find out how.
7. Donate To The Ronald McDonald House To Help Families Of Sick Children
You can make a sick child and their family's Christmas season better by donating board games, puzzles, stuffed animals, and other toys to this organization.
8. Be A Good Neighbor
Check in on your neighbors, especially the elderly ones. Send leftovers, baked cookies, or just offer to sit and keep them company (socially distanced of course!).
9. Help Out Schools See if the local schools need pencils, glue, or any other supplies. Teachers pay out of pocket for a lot of supplies and this could be a big help.
10. Be Kind being kind is free and can change a persons life. Make sure to be extra nice to the grocery store employees, the mailman, and any other people you encounter frequently. Strike up a conversation, and let them know you're listening.
11. Food Donations Find out through your grocery store if they are collecting donations. Even a can of soup can make a difference in someone else's world.
12.Help The Animals if you’re unable to bring a pet home this year, you can donate toys, blankets, and food to your local animal shelter to brighten up their Christmas. If there isn’t an animal shelter in your area, check out Rock & Rawhide who will collect the items and distribute them for you.
13. Channel your inner Kris Kringle and make another family’s Christmas dreams come true this year. Through the Salvation Army’s Adopt-a-Family program, you’ll be matched with a less fortunate family and fulfill some of their holiday wishes with basic necessities, clothing, and small gifts.
14. Donate Unwanted Clothes Spend an afternoon going through the closet together and take out any old or unworn clothes you no longer wear and donate them to your local shelter, The Salvation Army, American Red Cross,Goodwill or the Vietnam Veterans of America.
15. Get Crafty Feeling generous and crafty? Be a “blanketeer” and make a blanket or two for Project Linus. The organization donates your handmade blankets to children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need around the country.
Some of the ideas cost next to nothing, but mean everything. Happy Holidays, from my family, to yours.