Holidays of Hope: Generosity That Fits the Budget
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It can be discouraging to see needs all around you but feel helpless to make a difference. No, your giving may not ever look like those Hallmark movies where someone gets an inheritance just in time to save Christmas for the downtrodden…but, we believe all of us have the means to inspire hope this holiday season.
Join us in our Holidays of Hope venture! We are working together to care for others throughout our 11 county community and we challenge you to be a part of it.
Your bank account may show you have little or nothing at all to give, but there are still ways for you to support your community and spread a little hope.
Challenge your friends.
Have a group of friends that always gets together for a gift exchange? Change it up this year and challenge them all to give a small donation so you can present a larger check to your favorite local charity. Or, add an element of service to your annual Christmas party. Go caroling to the neighborhood elderly or volunteer at a food pantry or shelter for a few hours. Cost? $0. Impact? You’ll never know just how much it meant to the people you served.
Want to add a little competition to your party? Host a Grocery Store Dash. Everyone arrives at your local grocery store with $20 (the money you could have spent on a gag gift exchange), and then the race begins. Your guests are charged with buying as many charity items as they can within their $20 budget in under 15 minutes. Make sure you tell the rules though! No running and no shoving. Give out a small prize to the winner who bought the most items for the least amount of money. Then, load up your haul and take it to your nearest shelter or food bank!
Donate your time and talents.
Money is always helpful, but sometimes organizations just need willing bodies to put to work. Your time and talents can be very valuable to them, especially during the extra busy days during and after the holidays. Extra tip: If you can’t volunteer during the holiday season, contact your local food banks in January. Many times donations gathered during the holiday season still need to be sorted and given out as the new year begins.
Assist your teachers and school.
Throughout the year teachers buy extra school supplies and sometimes even clothes for their students. Talk with your child’s teacher and see what his or her needs are.
Do they need more pencils before the new semester? Do they need a stash of various size clothing to keep for kids who come to school cold or dirty? Do they have a wish list for their classroom they know their school can’t afford right now? Whether your gift is large or small, your local teachers are sure to appreciate your generosity for the sake of their students.
Involve your children in your generosity.
Teaching your children the importance of helping and giving back will raise up another generation of generous, community oriented adults.
First, ask them who they see in the community who might need help. Their answer might surprise you! If they don’t have any ideas, then start pointing out small needs they might be able to understand, even if it’s just inside your family.
After you’ve uncovered a need, empower them to make a change. Did they see a classmate who is always cold? Help them buy a coat to give anonymously. Did they notice an elderly person down the road who has trouble getting out when it snows? Go together to buy groceries and deliver to them the next time a big snow is coming.
There are many who need assistance and sometimes just need to know someone sees and cares for them. Find ways this holiday season to face the needs of your community and work together to fulfill them, without going over your own budget.