The holidays are approaching, and although a global pandemic is determined to keep us apart, there are several things that we can do to serve others over the holiday season. Here are 8 ways to spread good cheer over the holidays.
Invite an International Student
If you live near a college or university, chances are there are international students studying there, and many do not have family in the area. Consider inviting an international student to your home for a holiday meal. Most colleges have an international student organization that would be glad to connect you with a student or family.
Give Gifts to Children of Prison Inmates
When a child’s parent is in prison, it’s hard to experience a normal, happy holiday season. Angel Tree exists to provide gifts to children of inmates, who are often overlooked. Donating to Angel Tree can bring joy to one of these children over the holidays.
Pack a Shoebox
If you want to provide practical gifts for a child overseas, consider packing a shoebox. Samaritan's Purse provides shoe boxes that you or your family can pack full of toys, school supplies and practical gifts for needy children all over the world.
Adopt a Military Family
Why not “adopt” a military family this season? Operation Christmas Spirit makes it easy to volunteer. Your involvement means you provide gifts for the children in the family, and a family gift card to help them out over the holidays.
Bring Joy to a Sick Child’s Family
When children are very sick and receiving lengthy treatment at a hospital, The Ronald McDonald House provides housing for their families. The holidays are particularly difficult for families that are dealing with the challenge of a sick child. You can make it easier for these families by donating gifts, games, puzzles and other toys. Some people also volunteer their time to cook a meal for a family who is staying at one of the many Ronald McDonald House locations.
Toys for Tots makes it simple to donate a toy to a child over the holiday season. You can donate funds online with a credit card, or purchase a gift and drop it in a local dropbox. You can also organize a Toys for Tots event and collect toys from co-workers, neighbors and friends. Any way you choose, it feels good to make a child’s holiday more special.
The American Red Cross reports that around 40 percent of Americans are eligible to donate blood, but only 5 percent do it. During the holidays, blood reserves usually drop to low levels. Because there is nothing that compares to the life-giving gift of human blood, consider donating blood this holiday season. The American Red Cross makes it easy to schedule a blood donation with their convenient app.
Help Feed Children All Over the World
Feed My Starving Children lets volunteers pack meals that are especially designed for undernourished children. Since this organization began, they have shipped over two billion meals and counting. You can also donate funds in a loved one’s name.
During the holidays, a sense of community and the spirit of giving is in the air -- and perhaps we need that now more than ever! Giving to others is especially rewarding over the holidays, and there is an option to suit anyone. Whether you choose one of the ideas above, or come up with something creative on your own, make it a priority to reach out and bless someone this holiday season.