Holiday season help: ideas for giving back

Keep an eye out for volunteer opportunities put on by organizations you know and trust.

With all the merriment that comes with the changing of the seasons, it can sometimes be easy to overlook those who are less fortunate. Want to offer some holiday season help? Here are a few suggestions to give back to your community.

Spring cleaning in the winter

Take a look if you have clothes to donate. Shutterstock

Are you in charge of hosting the family holiday gatherings this year, or plan to have visitors stay over during the holidays? When you go to clean and make extra closet space, take a look to see if you have any extra blankets or towels that you no longer need. Collect and donate them to your local animal shelter or pet rescue organization, as they are always in need of extra bedding.

Before you head to the grocery store to shop for your holiday feast , take stock of your pantry. Many grocery stores and local community centers hold food drives to benefit a variety of organizations.

Take any unexpired, nonperishable items that you can spare and drop them off before you begin crossing items off your own holiday grocery list. This serves the dual purpose of making room for your new purchases while also providing help to others in need.

The gift of time

You can donate your time during the holiday season. Shutterstock

Don’t have extra things to donate? Then donate your time . Volunteer a few hours a week or a weekend morning during the holiday season to a cause you feel strongly about.

Consider working in a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving morning, or help sort and distribute donated toys to underprivileged children at a local shelter. Keep an eye out for volunteer opportunities put on by organizations you know and trust such as your church, local community office, or school.

A lesson in giving

Give your time and energy to help in your community. Shutterstock

Spending time volunteering does not necessarily mean cutting out time with your family. If you have children, select a volunteer opportunity that can get kids involved. Teenagers can help out at a gift wrapping station, take in food or toy donations, or serve on a food line.

If your kids are too young to actively participate in helping out, then choose an event where you can help out and your kids can be easily watched, such as reading Christmas stories to kids at a shelter, or leading a holiday-themed arts and crafts session for youngsters that your little ones can be a part of. Giving your time and energy to help those in your community provides your family an opportunity to not only bond but help those around you.

These are just a few ways you can offer holiday season help to your local community. What other ways can you think of to help out during the holidays ?