As we gather around the holiday table or with friends and family by a cozy fire, it’s easy to lose sight of those in need. The frenzy of holiday shopping, the growing list of to-do’s can distract us from the true spirit of the season.
Here are a few ways we might reach out to others in the weeks to come:
Help a neighbor in need.
Those in need are not nameless or faceless – they may be in your community, even on your street. Perhaps an elderly resident needs someone to shovel walks after a storm or could use a weekly ride to the market. A local senior service agency may know of someone who could use your assistance.
Donate milk to a local food pantry.
Milk is frequently requested by families in need, yet dairy is seldom donated. Why? Most people give canned and dry goods, but we may not think to donate milk due to its perishable nature. In recent years, food pantries and food banks across New England are benefiting from the Great American Milk Drive, which turns your online donations into gallons of milk for families in your local community.
You can donate online by visiting:
Clean out that closet!
The weather is colder and many needy families have little in the way of warm clothing. Spend a weekend afternoon cleaning out that closet and attic, and donate your used and outgrown winter clothing – in good condition, of course! – to a local Goodwill or a shelter. Hats, mittens and scarves are needed as well.
Be a good role model for your children.
Baking holiday cookies is fun and a family tradition for many of us. This year, bake an extra batch or two and bring them to a senior center or homeless shelter – and be sure to bring your children with you. You’re never too young to learn the importance of giving!
Share your talents.
Do you play the piano? Do you love to sing? Offer to lead a holiday singalong at a local nursing home, where the residents are in need of Christmas cheer. Include an offer to help decorate a few of the residents’ rooms for the holidays.
Be a Secret Santa.
Your local school surely has a few students who could use a little extra from Santa this year. Contact the principal to ask if you can provide a warm winter coat or a new backpack to a child in need. Add a few age-appropriate toys as well.
Support your local farmers.
There are many New England dairy farmers that host events and activities on their farm during the holiday season! Check out a few farms who are making the holiday special with our New England Holiday Checklist!
There are plenty of ways to give back, but they all have one thing in common: a willingness to give of yourself to others. Happy Holidays!