As the cooler months arrive and with the holidays on the mind, many families start discussions within their own homes about what they are thankful for and how to serve the most vulnerable in their communities. In fact, statistics say that 30 percent of annual giving occurs in December and 10 percent occurs on the last three days of the year.
Although parents, caregivers and schools should be discussing ways to give back to others all year long, here are some helpful ways to serve others this Holiday season, while safely navigating COVID-19.
Get Out There and Volunteer!
Yes, believe it or not, now is a crucial time where many nonprofits are aching to help those in their communities. COVID-19 has left many employees, even at nonprofits, unemployed or furloughed, struggling to meet even the most basic needs. Despite the pandemic, organizations in your community are rallying to help those who need it. Many local area food banks, like Community Food Bank of New Jersey, are in high demand for people ages 14+ to volunteer their time in-person by collecting food donations, sorting and boxing food deliveries. If you feel comfortable getting out in your community safely, check with your local town to see if there any churches, schools, organizations, or shelters that are seeking in-person assistance. There are many opportunities to volunteer in person if you are able, for example such as these in New York City. Here are some other national in-person volunteer opportunities currently in need.
Since COVID-19 is still circulating at high rates in many communities, many people do not feel comfortable volunteering in person. For those wanting to give back to others without having physical contact, there are so many virtual fundraising opportunities to get involved with! In fact, December 1 is Giving Tuesday, a global movement that started in 2012 which inspires people to give, collaborate and celebrate generosity. If you are in a financial position to give back, perhaps support an organization on Giving Tuesday. Also, you might pay particular attention to making holiday purchases that give a percentage to a nonprofit. Similarly, you might consider supporting local restaurants in your area or even support a GoFundMe fundraiser that resonates with you. Can’t find a worthy fundraising campaign? Then start your own!
Giving back doesn’t always have to break your bank. There are so many ways to bring smiles to peoples' faces and give back without donating funds or without volunteering in person. You might consider starting up a collection for a local food pantry. Consider calling a food pantry to see what items they are low on and focus a food drive on collecting items in need for them. Oak Knoll School recently hosted its 27th Annual Service Day, safely from campus where they collected items in need for local charities, made cards for those in hospitals and learned about different global initiatives, including food insecurity. Other ways to serve those in need include completing a small chore for an elderly neighbor or a friend in need.
Although serving others takes time and can be especially tricky during a pandemic, there are so many different ways to put others before yourself and assist them. As we start to spend more time indoors now with our families and gear up for the holidays, there’s no better time than the present to help someone or to find a way to give back that’s personal to you.