It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday rush—finding the perfect gift, family crafts, and trips to see Santa. No matter what you believe or which holidays you celebrate, the true meaning of the holidays is finding joy and purpose in our relationships with others. MorningStar is a great community filled with people blessed to be leading meaningful lives. As we sit in our warm homes surrounded by family, many people are lonely, cold, hungry, or afraid and would certainly appreciate any help that we can provide.
Giving back doesn’t just help people. It also feels good and is a wonderful life lesson for those that are new to giving. Research has shown that volunteering and other forms of giving back relieve stress and boost self-esteem. They might even improve your health. And don’t forget the example you’re setting for your kids. As any parent who has ever reached their breaking point, children do what they see, not what they do. So if you want your kids to become adults who are committed to helping others, lead with your example today.
Here are five ways to give back to your community.
Give Out Care Kits
It can be painful to see a homeless person on the side of the road. It can also be frustrating not knowing what to do—or worrying whether your donation will really help. Help those you see with a hand out by giving out care kits. Pack a few plastic bags or old purses with food, hygiene supplies, blankets, and other useful items. For a list of care kit ideas, click here.
If a cause is near and dear to your heart, Facebook now makes it easy to donate, and to encourage others to do the same. Simply scroll through Facebook’s list of organizations, and start a fundraiser. Interested friends can donate with the click of a button, and positive online encouragement may push them to do precisely that.
Donate to Individuals in Need
Nonprofit and other charities are in the middle of fundraising season. While it’s great to donate to these organizations, consider doing something a little different instead. Donate to individuals who need something. Whether it’s unpaid medical bills, help funding a child’s Christmas, or support for newly-widowed parents, crowdsourcing sites such as GoFundMe and YouCaring (which is part of GoFundMe) are great ways to find people who need help, but who may not be able to get it from charities. Spend some time searching the site, then donate to someone whose story resonates with you.
To find local volunteer opportunities, consider signing up for VolunteerMatch. No matter what cause you care about, how old you are, or how much time you have, there’s an option for you. Here are some stellar local opportunities:
- Help children in need through the Georgetown Boys and Girls Club.
- Help people whose lives have been affected by family and sexual violence through Hope Alliance.
- Support families facing financial crises and homelessness through the Caring Place.
- Commit to literacy for everyone by joining Friends of the Georgetown Public Library.
- Forget putting a puppy from a store under the Christmas tree. Give an abandoned pet a second chance by adopting from the Georgetown Animal Shelter. Not in the market for a pet? You can still help by volunteering to walk animals.
Help a Neighbor
If you look closely, you might just see a neighbor in need. Some options for helping a neighbor might include:
- Raking leaves or doing other simple chores for an elderly or sick neighbor.
- Volunteering to provide childcare to a new mom or dad who is struggling.
- Spending time with a lonely senior or newly divorced person.
- Picking up trash and working to make our community more beautiful.
If you’re willing to help, there’s an opportunity for you somewhere. So be on the lookout for people in need, then find ways to step up to help them.