[Family & Community]

4 Meaningful Ways to Be of Service This Season

By: Shani Saxon

Giving back to those in need isn’t a seasonal activity and shouldn’t only happen once a year. Still, there’s something about the holidays that reminds us of how much we have and how much need there is in the world.  

If you’re looking for ways to help people and families going through a tough time this time of year, see four different ways to be of service and make the most impact. 

Adopt a Family

While some families are experiencing homelessness, others simply don’t have the resources to create happy memories this time of year. To help, local organizations run special programs around the holidays, designed to spread the cheer to those who need it most.

Toys of Hope is a national nonprofit that sponsors families through donations of $100-$2500, depending on household size. If you want to make a family’s holiday season merrier, you can also purchase items from that family’s specific wish list, which Toys of Hope will deliver.

Another great way to connect with a family in need is through Doing Good Together. The organization offers a clear plan for getting your kids involved in buying gifts for disadvantaged children in your community, and instilling the spirit of giving at a young age.

Volunteer at a Homeless Shelter

Your time is often the greatest gift you can give, but we know it can be overwhelming to determine the best way to be of service. Follow the ThatHelps Family and Community interest for ways to help your neighbors in need or check out the National Coalition for the Homeless to find local volunteer opportunities. From soup kitchens to homeless shelters, hard work is never done. Call your local shelters, ask them what’s needed, and do what you can to contribute.

Remember the Elderly

According to Seniorcare.com, there are a million malnourished elderly living throughout the United States, often left alone and homebound—show them you care by volunteering to prepare and deliver meals through your local Meals on Wheels, create care packages, or spend the day visiting and talking to seniors at assisted living facilities. Check out Senior Care’s helpful local guide for organizations committed to serving senior citizens. The options are endless and rewarding for everyone involved.

Try a Little Tenderness

No matter the time of year, it’s crucial to remember that people experiencing hardships still deserve the same dignity and respect given to everyone else. Look them in the eyes and offer a warm greeting. Ask them how they are doing. Smile at them. These simple gestures go a long way and reflect a true holiday spirit of caring and giving.

Ready to act? Take ThatHelps’ challenge to help a homeless or struggling person and spread the good.

Photo: Matt Collamer