Every once and a while we’re reminded of how fortunate we are to have all the things we usually take for granted: a roof over our heads, food to eat, and a loving family. If we have our health, we’re even luckier. That’s why it’s so important to give back to the community and to spread as much joy as we can. If you’re able to donate your time, money, or resources to those less fortunate, here are 5 truly helpful ways to contribute:
#1: Organize a Food Drive
The disparity between ‘those who have’ and ‘those who have not’ is never more finely illustrated than when we sit down for large family dinners. Turkey, stuffing, cranberries, potatoes, gravy—some families even make a game of seeing just how much they can eat. Many families, however, don’t know what that feels like. Food drives are very popular, and no matter where you live in Ontario or the rest of Canada, you’ll find plenty of places to drop off non-perishable items, such as canned goods and dried pasta, as well as non-edible goods like shampoo and toilet paper. For the holiday season, get involved with your local community by organizing a food drive to help support families in need.
#2: Sponsor a Family
Sponsoring a family or a child is one of the most direct ways you can help them. When you sponsor a child, you can either send cash to the organization, which will then use that money to buy food and supplies, or you can send care packages directly to the family. There are many ways to sponsor a child, whether it’s paying for their school supplies, or ensuring they have enough clean water to drink. A little money goes a long way, and the best part is, your donations will be making a direct impact.
Check out World Vision’s sponsorship program here.
#3: Give the Gift of Charity
This year, instead of going overboard spending money on presents, try and divert some of that gift money to a charity or a cause that is close to your heart. Many charities offer monthly pre-authorizations, but also continue to accept one-time donations. Plus, the money you spend is tax deductible and lots of charities let you keep track of exactly where your money is going.
Find a charity close to your heart by clicking here.
#4: Donate Warm Clothes
For almost half the year, Canadians are struggling to stay warm. It’s a sad fact that many people living on the streets will die because of lack of proper clothing or shelter. Donating woolen socks, scarves, hats, snow pants, and even sleeping bags can save a person’s life. Accessory trends come and go, so if you’re one of those people who gets a new scarf every year, don’t forget to donate last year’s scarf. Are you an avid crafter, knitter, or crocheter? Why not knit for charity? There are plenty of ways to give back with your handmade goods. If you’re interested, check out Street Knit or Casting Off the Cold.
#5: Donate Your Time
There are more ways to give back than donating food or non-perishable items. Every organization that provides support for those in need is largely run by part-time volunteers. Donating your time is an easy way to make a real, meaningful difference. Use your own skills or aptitudes by donating pro-bono services, like carpentry, accounting, web design, or writing. Or simply stop by your local shelter and offer to lend a hand giving out soup or cleaning dishes.
The smallest actions to us can make the greatest difference to those in need. How are you and your family giving back this season? Let us know in the comments below. Want to get involved? Check out these community resources.