12/9/11 With the current economy, many people are finding themselves financially strapped this holiday season and it may not be the best time to reach into your already strained pockets for the benefit of others. But charities need more help than ever because there are more people in need and also because consumers tend to drastically reduce their own giving during periods of financial downturn.
W want to show you how being a charitable person doesn’t always mean donating cash. Here are ways to donate to charity this holiday season without spending any additional money.
1. Give of yourself. The gift of fellowship and laughter can be very valuable. Many older people and shut-ins lead a lonely life…especially around the holidays. Taking time to visit with these individuals can be the best gift they receive. Make it a ritual to visit them many times throughout the year. Be sure to bring current pictures of family and friends to help them keep in touch and gain a sense of involvement.
2. Donate your own gifts to needy families. Local organizations often arrange gift drives around the holidays. Many churches, schools and human resource departments connect local givers with families in need of assistance. Instead of doubling your own shopping bill, talk with family members about putting the money you would have spent on each other toward gifts for a family in need. To make the decision even more affordable, join up with friends to share the cost of gifts.
3. Give the gift of time. Volunteering at a hospital, making dinner for a sick person, or working in a soup kitchen all are ways to donate your personal resources. The gift of time is one of the most valuable charitable donations you can make. So many shelters and food banks are continuously understaffed and the holidays create an even higher demand for manpower. Spending just a single Saturday volunteering can make a huge difference for the dedicated staff members and guests at these types of facilities.
4. Clean out your closet. Many non-profits and shelters are constantly looking for used books, clothes, CDs, and other items. Spending a few hours cleaning out your attic, closet or garage could result in several bags of much needed donations. You’ll have a cleaner house and the joy of knowing someone will benefit from your outgrown or unused items.
The holidays are a time of joy and celebration for many people…yet they are also a time of sadness and despair for many others. Charity plays a huge part in many less fortunate people’s holidays. A single gift to a needy child, a hot meal to a homeless person, an extended visit to a shut-in… these are all small things that make a huge difference. I encourage each of you to donate to charity this holiday season – whether it’s in the form of monetary giving or the gift of your time, it will be treasured. If you have any other creative ways to give back to your community please share them with me here. And if you are considering making charitable donations this year and need some advice on the best steps to take, then call our President/CEO, Greg Powell, CIMA at (205) 989-3498.