While it is certainly wonderful to pay it forward all year round, this is the time of year that most often brings charitable tidings along with it. Throughout this country and around the globe so many people struggle to give their families a memorable holiday. Why not take this time with your family to pay it forward together?
Here are 11 simple service ideas for paying it forward this holiday season:
- Donate to a charitable organization, especially if you work for a company with a matching program. Your family can decide together which organization to choose. Each member can even chip in for the donation.
- Go to the supermarket and purchase food to donate food to a food bank. Think of how much it would mean to a family to have a full table of food on the holiday.
- If you are purchasing gift cards for friends and family this Christmas, consider buying them through Charity Choice. Your recipient will receive the amount of your choice and may designate the funds to the charity they choose from our online list.
- Bring baked goods or tray of food to a fire station, EMS station or police station in your town. After all, while you are home with your family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, they are at work ready to help the community when fire or crisis strikes.
- Going to a holiday party? Collect 50 aluminum cans to be recycled. Take a photo and enter your information at http://www.dosomething.org/50cans. Recycling 1 can saves enough energy to light a 100W bulb for 20 hrs.
- Volunteer at your local senior center, food bank, church or synagogue. There is often extra need during the holiday season.
- Have your family put together a care package for a member of our military service. A care package can include anything that might boost the morale of a soldier, from a handmade picture or letter of thanks to a magazine or more. Find out more about care packages at: http://www.homefronthugs.org/carepackages/ or http://www.anysoldier.com/index.cfm.
- Donate unopened toys to a Toys for Tots collection center near you so that a child in need can receive a present for Christmas. You can donate unopened toys you have at home or let your child choose a toy at a store to donate.
- Go through clothes that have been outgrown with your children and donate them to charity. Remind them how wonderful it is that even if their favorite shirt or dress no longer fits, another child will have the opportunity to feel special while wearing it.
- Start a tradition of giving your kids $20 (or more) and tell them that it must be used to give back. Let them decide in their own hearts and minds how to best use the funds to help someone in need, though you can help them with ideas when asked.
- Consider ways to get more for your donation dollars (such as the company matching program mentioned above). For example, cut coupons before buying items to donate or think of ways to pool your resources. For every $25 donated to Operation USO Care Package, the USO will send a care package with both needed and requested items valued at approximately $75 to a deployed service man or woman.
What are some of the ways you and your family pay it forward during the holidays?