Ideas for Giving Back This Holiday Season

It’s the official kick-off of the holiday season and in the spirit of Thanksgiving it’s time to show gratitude for your good fortune and giving to those who are less fortunate. Express your thanks this holiday season by volunteering and donating your time. Here are some great activities to give back this holiday season.
1. Donate to your Favorite Charity: Some items in your home may no longer be of use to you, but they could be extremely valuable to others. Gather up gently used items around the house or consider making a monetary donation. Include a little note on a piece of paper or on the check about why you’ve chosen the charity and why you support the cause.
2. Visit a Hospital: The hospital can be a very lonely place for patients, especially during the holidays. Spend some of your time this holiday season by spreading cheer with those who aren’t able to be at home. Consider a children’s hospital and hand out stuffed animals or treats to children. They will be so gracious and you will walk away knowing you did something to help others in your community.
3. Send care packages to those serving overseas: A holiday care package can be a great pick-me-up for soldiers who are far from home during the holidays. Gather up everyday necessities like soap, razors, toothbrushes, and travel-sized toiletries along with some tasty treats to bring a small piece of home. Games, like small sudoku or crossword puzzle books, will help them stay busy during their free time. Click on the link to learn more on supporting our troops overseas this holiday season.
4. Volunteer at an animal shelter: It’s important to keep family and friends in mind during the holidays, but don’t forget our furry friends. Hundreds of homeless animals need your time, love, and hugs. Volunteer at your local humane society to take animals on walks or just offer them your compassion and attention. And who knows? Maybe you’ll find a forever friend that you can adopt and take home.
5. Volunteer at a food bank: You can make this holiday season one to remember for families in need. Volunteer at a food bank to bring meals to thousands of families locally that need a good meal to warm them up this holiday season. Food Life Line is a great local charity that serves the Seattle area.
6. Go Visit a Senior Center or a Veteran: This Thanksgiving, volunteer to chat, listen, or play a simple game with those of a different generation. They will surely appreciate spending time with you, and you just might learn a thing or two. Visiting a veteran’s home is also a great way to honor America’s veterans, and this is the perfect time to do it — November 11 is Veteran’s Day!
7. Invite Extra Guests over for Dinner: The holidays are a time for giving and togetherness. If you know someone who will be alone for the holidays, make them feel loved by inviting them to your holiday dinner this year. The more, the merrier!
8. Pick up a Gift for a Foster Child: We have all seen the Christmas trees decorated with tags communicating much needed items for foster children. Foster children don’t have anyone to celebrate the holidays with, so consider donating toys, clothes or school supplies for a foster child this season. For information on where you can find a local Angel Tree, go online to the Salvation Army for information.
9. Consider Donating Blood: Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person — the gift of life. A decision to donate your blood can save lives and improve someone’s overall health. Blood banks need donations year round so to find out where to give, visit the Red Cross website.
The Holiday Season is about giving and there are lots of ways to get involved this year to help your local community. This year make a promise to give back and lift the hearts of those in need. Thank you and have a safe and wonderful holiday season.

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