It’s hard to ignore the emphasis on material presents at this time of year, don’t you think? It’s one of the traditional ways we show our love to family and friends. Maybe you’d like to cut back on retail excess and focus on the holiday fellowship, instead. But what about the gift of charitable contributions for those we don’t even know?
There are so very many who are less fortunate financially than ourselves. Whether our charitable donations are for soldiers stationed overseas or for domestic abuse families in our own community, there are (sadly) endless opportunities for lifting others up during the holiday season.
Check out these 5 suggestions for sharing the blessings you have. In fact, a few of these ideas will have the added benefit of clearing out what you no longer need or use in your home, too—double score!
Do you have books that you no longer read?
Anything that doesn’t interest you anymore? Or maybe a favorite that could positively influence someone else? As the author of The Book Thief wrote, “Words are life”.
Many of us struggle with letting go of our books because they seem to define who we are. Yet understand that while they reflect certain interests of ours, we don’t need them sitting idle on our shelves to validate our worth to those who already know us … or to ourselves!
If you’re ready to share some of your collection, consider making charitable donations to your local venues such as:
- youth centers
- senior centers
- nursing homes
- shelters & crisis centers
Donating your time may also be an option. Here’s an opportunity to pack and ship books for our troops abroad: Operation Paperback.
Help foster the imagination and inspire others with the written word!
While prepping for the next holiday mixer, pull out a few (or several) garments for the charitable donations box.
Our tastes change over time, not to mention our body shape (sorry)!
Rather than hang on to clothes we may (never) wear “someday”, think about donating those items to make room for the ones that you reach for time after time because they truly fit and flatter.
It’s quite eye-opening when we consider that 20% of our wardrobe is worn 80% of the time. How about reversing that percentage: retain what you love and release what you don’t. It will shed clarity on your actual clothing options!
In fact, it’s not uncommon to hang on to corporate attire long after the dress code has relaxed or you yourself have exited the job.
Donating to an organization focused on those entering the workforce with little funds for new duds would be an awesome gesture! One such charity committed to helping disadvantaged female professionals is Dress For Success.
If you can spare some time, there is also a strong need for volunteers to counsel those building a new business. Share your corporate wisdom with others through Score, a network of volunteer mentors for new small business owners.
Help others climb the corporate ladder and achieve financial security!
3. Towels and Linens
At some point, it’s time to refresh our towels, linens and blankets.
They wear out over time. They fade or fray. And when our color palette changes, our old towels and bedding get shoved to the back of the closet or drawer.
Yet those are ideal items for donating to your local animal shelter or rescue group! Grab a bag and pull out the ones you no longer use or care about.
There are countless local animal rescues you can help out. Simply google using the search terms, “animal rescue near me” to uncover your options for charitable donations.
Or give financially to your local Humane Society and help those who can’t speak for themselves. Any of the stray animal causes would also welcome your time or financial donations, as well.
Help keep the four-legged orphans warm and dry!
Got a spare teddy bear (or two)?
OK, if you’re over 50 like me, the toys have long vacated the premises! Oh, they may make an appearance from time to time, when our grandchildren visit, but they already belong to those young owners.
Unfortunately, many children lose whatever prized possessions they have when they experience a house fire or when they abruptly flee a domestic abuse situation.
Both local police and fire departments are ideal drop-off sites for donating new stuffed animals. Once again, Google to the rescue! Search using the words, “toy donation drop off sites near me”.
Help children feel secure with your charitable donations when their future feels uncertain.
5. Pantry Items
Whether you’re clearing space in your pantry or grocery shopping for the holiday meals, consider setting aside some extra food supplies for those who have less.
Hunger affects people of all ages, from the very young to the elderly. An event such as unemployment or a health crisis can quickly lead to food insecurity.
And know that food pantries are especially strained during the holidays so your donations are greatly welcomed. You can search for your local food bank to donate either food or money (or both) here at Feeding America.
Again, if time is an available resource, donating your service in a soup kitchen may be your gift of choice. It’s a real sign of stewardship when we humble ourselves and personally tend to those in need.
A nationwide resource that provides your local options for charitable donations of both time and money is at Homeless Shelter Directory.
Help nourish those with empty fridges!
The Wrap on Charitable Donations
The drive-through lanes can be long this month at national organizations such as Goodwill. December 31st is the last opportunity for making tax deductible 2021 charitable donations. If you yourself have waited patiently in that giving queue, thank you!
- Remember those who are without and consider donating what resources you can
- Sharing the blessings we have is how a community bonds and thrives
Related Topics & Resources To Explore
Do you have a tradition of giving back? What charitable donation experience is particularly meaningful for you and why?
Share your thoughts below … and thanks for stopping by!