By Aimee Woodley
For most of us, there is typically quite a bit of excess this time of year in the form of gifts, food, and celebrations.
But for a lot of people, the holiday season makes the absence of basic necessities seem all the more obvious. With all of the “getting” going on, perhaps it’s time to focus our sights more on giving.
There are many non-profits and charitable organizations out there, so where does a person start? A good idea can be to start with something near and dear to your heart. Do you have a soft spot for those furry, four-legged friends? Many organizations that work with animals could use your help. Or maybe you have a skill set that you can lend to a particular group? Handyman experience? Good with kids? There are many opportunities to give and the needs are wide and varied.
Think you don’t have any specialized skills? Food pantries and soup kitchens can always use extra hands.
Giving back is something that can be done as a family as well. Set a good example and start a family tradition of caring for others. Spread kindness. Who knows? It might catch on!
Charitable organizations need more than just volunteers. They are always more than happy to take donations as well. When donating financially, it’s important to do your homework and research the organization you are considering giving to. Especially this time of year, there are people everywhere asking for money. Sadly, some like to take advantage of our giving natures. Be sure to do some digging to find out where your money is going and what it is being used for. Check how much of your donation is going towards overhead costs and how much is going directly to those in need. Also, consider checking in with your employer to see if they match gifts. Imagine the extra impact that their added funds could make!
All in all, remember that most organizations aren’t just in need during the holiday season – they need help year-round. Consider making giving a consistent part of your life, not just a holiday venture.