5 Ways to Give Back
For many of us, the holidays are a time of plenty: Gatherings and parties to attend, gifts to be given and received, delicious meals to be had and laughter and love shared. Even if you don’t have a lot, there are many, many more that have less. As you enjoy this holiday season, think about some ways you can give back to your community and others who are less fortunate than yourself. There is an abundance out there—share it!

We’d love to hear your ideas for giving back, please add your idea to the comment section below. Here are a few thoughts to get the ball rolling:

Give it away. Many of us (and our kids!) have items we’ve either never used or used once and never thought about again. Stop hanging onto those items! Encourage each person in the family to go through their things and then find a good local charity to donate to.

Many cities and towns across the United States have Goodwill, a nonprofit company that sells donated clothing and items at stores and online. Goodwill works to help the community by offering education and employment opportunities. In 2012, this nonprofit trained more than 6.7 million people for careers and more than 216,000 went on to gain meaningful employment.

Volunteer your time. Seek out local charities and ask how you can help. Whether it’s stocking cans at a food pantry, organizing clothes at a charity resale shop, working at a local humane society or helping serve food at a soup kitchen—find a meaningful way to give your time.

Volunteer your time

Donate your services. Think about ways you can give away something you are particularly good at or even do for a living. Have a knack for detail or writing? Contact a local college or shelter and offer to help people build and create a resume. Other ideas: How to budget, nutritional tips, home repair, car repair, etc. 

Click your mouse. Sounds strange, but it’s true. There are a few sites out there that have sponsors who will donate to certain causes if you just visit the site and click the donate button. It doesn’t cost you a dime; you don’t donate anything but a few moments of your time.

Try www.thehungersite.com where you can choose nine different causes to click: hunger, breast cancer, animals, veterans, autism, Alzheimer's, diabetes, literacy and saving the rainforest. There’s also another site, www.freerice.com that features a vocabulary game, for each correct answer you give, the sponsors donate 10 grains of rice. Play as long as you’d like!

Organize something! Choose something that’s important to you and put together a drive. It doesn’t have to be complicated, for example, tell friends and family members you’re collecting coats, hats and gloves and find a nearby shelter who’d love to receive all of those items. Or, start your own food drive at work and encourage coworkers to bring in a canned, non-perishable item.