Giving Back During The Holidays

The holidays are a time to spend time with family and create new memories. People all over the world either make an annual trip to where most of their family is or they may be lucky enough to have all their family live locally. While you’re enjoying the holidays with your family and catching up with cousins at Thanksgiving dinner, it's easy to forget that there are many, many people that don’t have a home or anyone to share a Thanksgiving meal with. While we definitely encourage everyone to give back to their community year round, the holidays are a perfect time to start serving your community if you never have before.

Volunteering is the perfect activity to do with your family and hopefully it becomes a tradition. Don’t know where to start? We’re giving you some suggestions on how you can give back with your family and spread the holiday cheer around.

Soup Kitchen 

Your family can offer to prepare or serve a meal to a homeless shelter. This is a fantastic opportunity for the whole family to get involved and serves as a great reminder to count your blessings. Check out this homeless shelter directory to find the nearest soup kitchen in your state. 

Photo: SJU Undergraduate Admission


Clothes Drive

Weeks before Thanksgiving even begins, you can begin to collect clothes to donate to homeless shelters, women’s shelters, orphanages, Goodwill, the list goes on and on. About 2 weeks before you leave school to go on Thanksgiving break, ask your friends or people in your dorm to give you any clothes that they no longer want. Provide them with trash bags or boxes to make it easier for them to pack up. Encourage your family to do the same. For example, mom can ask the neighbors. The whole family can then go together to their place of donation or better yet, spread the clothes amongst several locations.

Hospital Visits

It’s hard to think about but thousands of people, from babies to seniors, spend the holidays in the hospital. Imagine spending Christmas Eve hooked up to an IV machine or undergoing Chemotherapy. Yeah, not a nice thought. Many people may have family that live far away or may not have anyone at all. Contact your local hospital and find out if they let strangers visit hospital patients. If they don’t, you can still do other things to cheer up patients like collecting toys for children or making them Christmas cards.

Photo: Amy Gizienski

We hope these suggestions encourage you to give back to your community not just during the holidays but all year round!

Tell us, how do you give back to your community?


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