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Ten Ways to Give Beyond the Holidays

Home Cook's Pantry

Whenever the holidays are upon us, and we are often reminded to donate to help other people who are in need. Food pantries and community service agencies plead for donations, and stores set up boxes for food, toys, and coats. If you’ve ever donated to any of these well-deserving campaigns, you probably feel good for doing it. But does the good feeling last? Do you ever wonder how you could continue to help those in need throughout the year? Here are some ideas to extend your help when the holidays are over.

  1. Consider setting up a monthly donation through your bank to your favorite community service organization. For as little as $10 each month, you can make an impact that adds up over time. Ask your relatives and close friends to do the same.
  1. Set aside a few non-perishable food, hygiene products, and household items each time you visit the grocery store. At the end of the month, take them to your local food pantry.
  1. Volunteer a few hours each month at a location that serves free meals to the hungry. These organizations need more than just food servers. Often, they’ll need people to coordinate supplies, make phone calls, kitchen clean up, and food preparation. You may even find that there is a need to deliver meals to people who are unable to go to the meal sites.
  1. Spend a few hours each month at a nursing home. Lonely residents enjoy when someone can read to them, play card games or board games with them, have meaningful conversations, or, simply sit and listen to their stories and thoughts.
  1. If you are handy with a needle and thread, make clothing items. Sometimes, hospitals need items for newborns. Schools may have a need for mittens and hats during the winter.
  1. Redirect small gifts. If you are given food gift sets, cocoa, or other items that would make another person’s day easier, re-gift the unopened item. Be mindful of the gift giver.
  1. Teach someone new skills. This could include teaching a child to cook, helping someone learn English, or helping a new mother to care for her child if she needs help. Set up free classes if you want to create a more organized event.
  1. Pay for something for the person in line behind you. From coffee to groceries, the act of kindness is sure to make someone smile. You can also visit your local department store and pay for someone’s layaway items.
  1. If you can, donate some of your sick days at work to someone in need. Some business organizations have sick leave banks that employees can tap when they have exhausted their leave during a long-term illness.
  1. If you have a special skill or ability, donate it to a service organization. Whether you know how to build a wheelchair ramp, design a website, or take photos, there are myriad ways that you can help others with your talents.

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