Giving Thanks by Giving Back
Start Your Own Service Tradition
Traditions unite us, ground us and connect us with others. During the holidays, families and friends take part in a host of traditions: traveling home, gathering for activities and dining together. What better way to commemorate a season of giving and thanks than by starting your own traditions of giving back?
From fighting hunger to donating items to shelters, there are so many ways to help others in your community.
Nearly 9 million older adults today face the risk of going hungry. Fortunately, it’s easy for you to find ways to help this holiday season.
Search for an opportunity near you at Createthegood.org, or check your local listings for food drives already being organized. Then, just pick the type of giving that fits your interests and schedule — a gift basket of groceries, a donation of your time, even a home-cooked meal representing your favorite recipe.
Check out more ideas to fight hunger here!
Kick-start Your Own Service Project
Making your community a better place doesn’t have to take all Turkey Day. Try giving back with one of these quick and easy DIY service projects. After a few hours of rewarding fun with family and friends, you may decide to make it a yearly tradition.
Cans, Coats and Community
The canned goods and coats gathering dust in your pantry could become hot meals and warm nights for people in need. Spend a few hours knocking on neighbors’ doors to ask for donations — or have children help you put flyers up around the community with drop-off details.
As you walk around, you might see neighbors who can help you haul the collected donations to the shelter — or be able to rally volunteers to spend time at the donation site organizing gifts, filling soup bowls and distributing supplies. It’s giving thanks from start to finish.
Share with Families in Need
Many families around the country lack a home to call their own and other items essential to everyday life. Especially as the winter months begin, it becomes increasingly difficult to go without. But you can make a difference. From a job interview outfit to a hot meal, you have a lot to give to homeless families. And every gift meets multiple needs — from a step up to a feeling of inclusion and dignity during tough times.
To start the connection, find a homeless shelter near you.
We also suggest these simple ways to give:
- Stuff a shirt full of personal care items, and Family to Family can help you get it to the right shelter.
- Donate professional attire to Dress for Success, a non-profit that provides clothing as well as a support network and career development tools for disadvantaged women.
- Give to Career Gear, a similar organization that provides suits to low-income men seeking work throughout New York City.
Join Others to Serve Together
Get family, friends and neighbors to help out by ensuring everyone can have a role. Pick an activity that has tasks for all, from the youngest kids to your great grandparents visiting for the holidays.
Invite Others to Join in on Giving Back
- Invite family, friends, neighbors and community members as a way to meet new people and share in the giving spirit
Give ample notice so participants can mark their calendars well ahead of time
Get word out: Post your service project here, then share in your social networks
Email invites to family and friends, and create flyers to post around your neighborhood
Start Your Own Service Project
Five Easy Ways to Share the Giving Spirit
- Offer to rake leaves for a neighbor
- Pass along a favorite read
- Share a meal with a neighbor in need
- Make and donate a seasonal pack of goodies
- Holiday crafts make fun gifts and help keep kids entertained during hectic holiday times. Invite children to help create table centerpieces or décor