Creative Ways to Give Back During the ‘Giving Season’ Part 1

This is the first of a three part series. Next Tuesday we’ll post more creative ideas from Anna Nelson on how to give back during the holiday!

by Anna Nelson, Curriculum Specialist

It’s that time of year again when people are inspired to give back, whether it’s through gift giving, throwing a party for friends and family, giving a donation to charity, or volunteering time to a good cause. However, many times volunteer shifts at many of local soup kitchens, food banks, and homeless shelters are disappointingly full.

But don’t worry! There are plenty of meaningful ways to make a difference this season; it may just take a little thinking outside of the box. Here is a list of ways you can give back. And you can do many of these activities anytime during the year!

1. Knit scarves and donate them to a local homeless shelter, or simply pass them out to people you regularly see on the street during your daily commute. Make it more fun by hosting a knitting party. Or, teach the kids in your family how to knit (boys, too!) and let them experience the power of giving back. If you’re feeling extra ambitious: knit or quilt a blanket and donate it to Project Linus, an organization that distributes handmade blankets to children in need.

2. Donate old blankets and towels to an animal shelter. Or, better yet, tear the towel into three strips, braid them and tie knots at the ends to make it into a doggy chew toy. Bring the kids along to the shelter with you so they can meet the animals that will benefit.

3. Can you carry a tune? Take the family or your friends to go caroling at some places that could use some good cheer. If they don’t have any serving shifts at the soup kitchen, ask if you can come by and sing carols for an hour. Or drop by your local nursing home, children’s hospital, or senior center and lift some spirits with song. Bring some extra song books and encourage them to sing along with you!

4. Donate or buy books from Better World Books. You can check some gifts off your list and know that you’re supporting literacy at home and in developing countries where books are so badly needed. And you can feel good about your purchase in more ways than one: for only a few cents more you can buy a carbon offset for the shipping impact on the environment.

5. Sign up to walk or run for a cause. Many walks and races (including half marathons, 5 and 10Ks) benefit a charity, so find one that works within your fitness level and raises awareness and funds for a cause you care about. Use this link to find a race near you. And if you start training now, you’ll feel better about all the eating you’ll be doing at this year’s holiday parties.

Want more ideas? Read part 2 and part 3!