Making a Difference: The Holidays

When the holidays arrive, whether or not you celebrate a religious holiday, the truth of the matter is a lot of organizations kick into high gear when it comes to donations, volunteering, and gathering recognition for their causes. As a result, it’s a great time of year to really participate and make a difference.

From your local boy scout troops to national organizations, it seems everyone has a food drive. It isn’t difficult to find a way to donate nonperishable food items to those in need. But you can also try contacting some of the organizations taking donations and seeing if they need help in sorting and distributing donations. The more successful a drive, the more help they’ll need — and they’ll be grateful for volunteers.

Along the same lines are gift drives — from boxes accepting unwrapped toys to giving trees to working with your local social services department to “adopt” a family for the holidays. Depending on how involved you want to be, you can donate to your heart’s content, or, again, contact the organizations sponsoring the donations and help with sorting and distributing.

If you’re great at selling, you can turn your talents toward something like being a bell ringer for Salvation Army to solicit donations. Or you can help an organization selling poinsettias, wreaths, or other holiday goods to bring in funds.

If you have children in school, you can try contacting the Parent-Teacher organization to help with bake sales, gift fairs, and other events this time of year. Or you can contact the leaders of any organizations your child may belong to and help with fundraisers or events to raise money.

As the weather gets colder, many places — such as shelters and soup kitchens — see an influx of people seeking assistance. You can try volunteering or donating to such organizations to help with this increase. You can also turn to your neighbors to see if anyone needs help with last-minute raking, snow shoveling, or errands.

Keep your eyes open for places looking for donations or volunteers — or any other kind of help. The opportunities are endless!

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