The holidays tend to bring out the very best in people. It is a time for giving back and being thankful for what we have. There are so many ways in which a person can become involved in their community and many organizations that always welcome extra helping hands in their busy season. Below are a few ideas to help you on your way to making a big difference in your community this holiday season.

Participate in a Food Drive

Helping others can be as simple as purchasing a few extra canned goods on your next trip to the grocery store. There are always sales on canned goods which makes giving back even easier. Finding a drop off location that is convenient is usually straightforward as many retailers and employers sponsor a food drive drop-off.

Sponsor a Family

Sponsoring a family is a gratifying way of giving back to a family in your community. Once you sign up as a sponsor, you will be assigned a family and given a list of their needed items. You can sponsor them entirely by yourselves or get family, friends, and neighbors to pitch in. The requested items are never expensive and are always genuinely needed, not to mention appreciated.

Visit a Nursing Home

The holidays can be a lonely time if your loved ones live far away. Many nursing homes welcome visitors year-round from people in the community even if you aren’t related to anyone living there. Despite their communal living situation, residents can feel isolated without visitors who are specifically visiting them. By befriending someone new, you can make a huge difference in someone’s day.

Volunteer for a Cause You Believe In

Whether it be an animal shelter, food bank, or a soup kitchen, find something you truly feel passionate about and dedicate some time to volunteer for that cause. The holidays are always a busy season, and places like these often get overwhelmed and desperately need the help.

Donate Blood

While donating blood is always an admirable activity to do, the needs tend to be higher during the holidays. Higher stress levels, less spare time, and colder weather tend to deter people from going out to donate blood. Check your local facilities and find the time to save lives!

Donate Clothing

Have you been avoiding cleaning out your closet? Most of us have so many clothes that don’t fit anymore or that we just don’t wear. Kids grow out of clothes at an alarming rate and parents are often left with excess clothes. Try donating your unloved, but in good condition, clothing to local organizations such as Salvation Army. You can rest assured that your clothes have gone somewhere where they will truly be appreciated.

Send a Care Package to the Troops

Being stationed overseas, especially at a time of year when family typically reunite, can be especially difficult. They risk their lives to keep us safe and usually don’t see their families as much as the rest of us. There are tons of organizations that arrange for care packages to be shipped overseas to military personnel. Even if you send just a greeting card to wish them a happy holiday, you can make a big difference in that soldier’s day.

Donate to a Local Organization’s Wishlist

More likely than not, there is an organization in your community that is low on essential resources. The items they need will vary based on the organization’s purpose. Choose which cause you would like to help and find their wishlist online or in person. There will usually be a long list with items ranging in price so no matter your budget you can help your chosen cause to succeed. Check to see if your work is willing to sponsor a checklist; that way, everyone in the office can pitch in and make a much more significant positive impact.