posted by Talk About Giving blog team
December 12, 2011 @ 4:09 pm
For many, the holiday season represents a time of giving – giving gifts, giving thanks and giving back. Perhaps this year, as you’ve plinked through your shopping list of goodies and threatened your children with coal and switches, you’ve wondered how your family could do more for others and how you can offer your children a lesson about the needs of your community.
Too stressed to fit it in or worried it’s too late? Well, think again. There are lots of simple things you and your family can do to help make the holidays happier for those in need in our community*.
While you’re out shopping …
Next time you’re at the grocery store or picking up special items for your loved ones, consider adding a few items from a local nonprofit’s holiday wish list to your cart. Include your children. Ask them to help you pick out the items and deliver them to the nonprofit. Explain who you’re helping, how and why.
- Oliver Gospel Mission. Join Oliver Gospel Mission, which has been offering services to the Midlands’s homeless for 120 years, in creating a White Christmas for those it supports. White items requested range from Kleenex to sugar to shaving cream.
- Sistercare. Domestic violence wreaks havoc on families and while it might not be appropriate to get into the specifics with your children, you can explain that some families right here in our community face troubles that make their home unsafe. Help Sistercare make the holidays a little brighter for local battered women and their children by providing items from their holiday wish list.
In anticipation of new items …
Do your kids have an overabundance of stuff? ‘Tis the season for giving … but before more items are added to their closets and toy boxes, how about do a little clean-out to make room for new? No doubt there are items of Christmases or birthdays past that have been forgotten at your house, but would be much enjoyed by another.
- Coats for Kids. Last year’s coat might not fit, but would warm the body –and heart – of a child in need. Coats for Kids is accepting donations through December 21 at area locations including Tripp’s Fine Cleaners, The Backpacker, Hampton Hill Athletic Club and Strobler Home Furnishings.
- Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. It’s heartbreaking to imagine your child – or any child – spending the holidays in the hospital. Help make it more joyful by providing new or gently used items from Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital’s Holiday List.
Holidays and Hunger …
It’s a time for goodies and shared meals with loved ones. But as we know, there’s an abundance of families right here in the Midlands that go without every day, including the one in four children in South Carolina that go to bed hungry each night.
- Support Harvest Hope Food Bank through Feeding America and Bank of America’s Give A Meal, Triple the Difference program. For every dollar you give, Bank of America will give $2. How’s that for a match? And as we recently learned, $1 can provide seven pounds of food and just $15 can feed a family of four for a week. (Be sure to select a local food bank so the money goes to Harvest Hope and include your children in the decision. Let them help you click through the site when you make the donation!)
- Salvation Army Bell Ringers. Everyone has explained the red kettle bell ringers to their children … why not serve a shift as a family? Explain the purpose of the donations, what the Salvation Army provides to our community, and then take turns ringing the bell. Not only will your children be inspired by their own efforts, but they’ll experience the generosity of others first hand. Grab some hot chocolate together afterward.
Make someone’s day …
Sometimes all that is needed is a warm touch, a kind gesture or an act of kindness. Sometimes need isn’t about money or items or stuff; but friendship, kinship and a camaraderie.
As we move through the holidays, consider ways to bring joy to those that might be lonely or working to provide us with the services that we count on, regardless of the day of year.
- Visit a local nursing home. Sing Christmas carols and spend a little time with those that might need a little cheer. (we suggest you call and make arrangements prior)
- Bake cookies and drop them off at your local police office, fire department or hospital workers.
- Do you know someone that is alone or might not have plans for the holidays? Invite them to join your family for a holiday meal.
- The holidays can be a hard time for many. Send a special note to let them know you’re thinking of them or drop a little holiday cheer by their house. Have your children draw pictures for them and explain that they might need a little extra support this season.
*Don’t live in the Midlands, SC? Take a look at the options we have listed and consider similar organizations in your own community or nonprofits that are important to you. Many have wish lists on their sites or call for more information about how you can help.