Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Giving Back


This time of year really makes me take stock of all my blessings.  However, it can be so easy to get caught up in the other side of the holidays at the exact same time - the busy, rushed, expensive, materialistic side. Sometimes we get so focused on the gift giving side of the holiday, that it can be hard to remember that not everyone out there is doing the same thing.  Not because they don't want to, but because they can't.

Our local Junior League organization works really closely with the Salvation Army and I've been enjoying being a part of that this year.  But it also really pains me - it's hard to see families with young children come in to pick up winter coats, Thanksgiving dinners or visit our 'toy shop' for their Christmas gifts.  Their situations break my heart and remind me of all that I'm SO blessed to have.  I'm thankful to have gotten involved in volunteer opportunities through the JL, but there is more that I want to do.  I rounded up a few different ways that anyone can give back this holiday season - after all, "to whom much is given, much will be demanded" Luke 12:48.

ONE | The Salvation Army is an amazing organization that offers so many different opportunities to give back throughout the holiday season (and all year-round).  This is especially close to my heart because every Christmas growing up, my dad and I would spend one week night ringing the Salvation Army bell for donations outside our local Walgreens.  Visit their website to find ways to get involved either through bell ringing, donating items, or sponsoring a family.

TWO | Operation Christmas Child sends care packages to children all over the world that otherwise would not receive a Christmas gift.  It's not too late to 'build' a shoebox online so hop on over to learn how or find out how to join their volunteer team.

THREE | Visit a local homeless shelter and volunteer to serve a dinner meal.  This is on my bucket list to do on Thanksgiving one day.  Use this website to find a local shelter to help out at - you wouldn't believe how many there are that need assistance.

FOUR | One Warm Coat is an organization that collects coats to give to those in need, free of charge.  Can you imagine not having a coat to keep you warm?  They have drop off locations all over the country or you can learn more about hosting your own coat drive.

FIVE | Operation Give sends thousands of stockings to areas around the world in which the United States military is serving.  Stockings are distributed to the troops and also families in the communities around the world that we are helping.  You can donate a "stocking" or just send money to help with shipping costs.  Such a great way to give back to the soldiers that already give so much for us.

SIX | Project Linus gives handmade blankets to children that suffer from terminal illnesses or are spending their holidays in the hospital.  We spent our fair share of holidays in the hospital with my mom and always appreciated these types of things more than you could know.  Find out where to drop off blankets here.

SEVEN | Volunteering at a food bank is a great way to get involved during the holidays.  Growing up, we volunteered each year to pack boxes of food so that less fortunate families could have a holiday meal.  Use this website to find a local food bank near you.

EIGHT | The holiday season is all about giving, so practice random acts of kindness.  Pay for someone's coffee behind you, hold a door for someone, help an elderly neighbor with their yard work, or just say "hello" to a stranger.  You never know what could make someones day.  This website has tons of great ideas of little things you can do.

What do you guys do to give back?  I am looking forward to getting more involved in volunteering in 2016, both through our Junior League chapter and here at home.  I'm hoping to start sponsoring a child and tithing to our church more regularly, among other things.  Here's to making someone else's holidays that much better! :)
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25 comments

  1. great dear...
    these are all so good projects
    kisses

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  2. These are all such great organizations! I used to volunteer a lot more and I really want to get back into it in 2016! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

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  3. I totally agree! Giving back is such a wonderful experience this time of year:)

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  4. It's always hard to see people suffer, but it's extremely hard this time of year when everyone else is holly and jolly. Thanks for sharing something about giving back, you have such a great heart.

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  5. Love that you do things in order to give back, whether it's around this time of year, or throughout!

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  6. Love all of these things and cheers to getting more involved in your community!!

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  7. Love this! I always love doing operation christmas child and locally I participate in White Christmas which provides new clothing and 1 wish list item to area children in need. It's always so great to give back to the community!

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  8. Those are all such great charities! I love giving back especially at Christmas time! I convinced my work to do Toys for Tots this year and it was so fun!

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  9. This is such a great post to share all of these charities. I do year-round giving with a couple charities, but really need to up my holiday giving.

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  10. Love this post!! My friend is running a toy drive at work and I've been helping her and we've been in awe at how generous some people are with the kids they get toys for. It's been making us think about what we have and how others don't have very much. It's great to stop and think about how blessed you are :)

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  11. That's wonderful you were able to give back! It's really important to do it throughout the year but I really only remember around Christmas time, but I'm going to look through these and see how many I can do/volunteer/donate etc.

    liz @ sundays with sophie

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  12. What a wonderful opportunity! You must have a great Junior League!

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  13. I love Project Linus... I love anything where I can make hats for homeless people too & donate.
    It's all about giving during this season especially

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  14. I donated to two charities similar to the Salvation Army and it just brings such joy - it sounds like you have a great Junior League in your area!

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  15. Such a great round up! I think a lot of times we get boggled down with gift guides and buying but this is such a great time of year to give back!

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  16. Giving back is SO important and this is such a great post! Finding ways to do so can be really hard and this is such a great summary!

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  17. LOVE all of this! We love doing as much as we can to give back all year but especially at the holidays. Love that you provided so many amazing ways right here!

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  18. love this list, it's always a good idea to remind ourselves to give back when we have so much.

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  19. All such great organizations! There is no better feeling than giving back. I volunteer on the regular at the Highmark Caring Place ( a place for grieving families who have experienced a death in the family) and it's honestly changed my life in so many positive ways. I think people don't realize how big of an impact they could make...if you don't have money to give it's fine to give time, or if you don't have time and can make a change through donating money that's great too. Every winter we also buy a ton of gloves and hats for children- my husband's work always collects them...they're so cheap and help during this time of the year for those in need. Love this post!

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  20. Thank you for all these recommendations - Ryan and I have been brainstorming how to do something like this before next week. I will be checking these out!

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  21. I love that you posted this. What a great reminder! I've worked at a food pantry before and there was absolutely nothing more humbling than giving people food - something I take for granted every single day. :/

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  22. I love this list! All of these are so wonderful. I remember doing OCC for the first time as a little kid and I thought it was awesome. We haven't done it every year since then, but a lot of times! :)

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  23. This is such a wonderful event. I did OCC when I was growing up. This year, I got an angel off of an angel tree and DG and I love shopping for that. Also, thanks for sharing the Project Linus dropoff. xo, Champagne&Suburbs

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