Ways To Give Back This Holiday Season

Luna Vitalo

As the holidays roll around, it is important to remember that this is the season of giving. Fortunately, there are a sufficient number of ways to give back during the end of the year. Because the pandemic has significantly caused everyone to worry about family gatherings and staying safe, it is important to think about how to keep the community and friends safe and supported during these difficult times. 

The holidays are known for bringing happiness to people, from seeing distant loved ones to being together as a network of love. Not everyone has this privilege, so spreading a little joy is always appreciated. Giving back as a family is a generous way to spend time this year. Winter has made its arrival, and as the season has changed, so have clothing trends. Sorting through and donating clothing is always a much-needed and simple way to give back. Charitable organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army are always taking donations all throughout December. Schools and churches also often hold clothing drives around the holiday season, and donations to those are always appreciated.

Another way to help those in need is by giving the gift of food. Food pantries always need assistance when it comes to volunteering and donations. Families are welcome to bake cookies, bring canned food and nonperishables, or even volunteer your time at a food pantry — depending on their rules and guidelines. Locally, the Flemington Food Pantry is always welcoming new volunteers as well as new donations. On their website, there is information about hosting food drives, volunteer paperwork, and drop off locations during the holiday season. 

Although finding and researching places to help and volunteer can be overwhelming, there are organizations that can allow you service hours. While these groups work year round, they are geared more towards the giving season. For example, the USPS Operation Santa is an annual organization that was started in the early 1900’s when the postal service decided to allow employees and volunteers to respond to the endless number of Santa letters. Every year volunteers around the country write back to children and buy the presents that the children have asked for. This year, Operation Santa starts on December 4 of 2020. This is a sincere and wholehearted way to give back to children around the country. 

Due to COVID-19, it is especially important to show gratitude towards others. A large portion of children around the world may not receive any toys or presents due to the financial hardships many families have faced. The organization Toys for Tots is collecting toys at the Flemington Walmart throughout December, where you can buy an affordable gift at the store or donate an unopened toy that you may already have. Churches and local organizations may have places to drop off used items that will be donated to children. Helping a little one during the holidays will definitely put a smile on their face.  

Another way to pay it forward is by asking for a different kind of present this year. Instead of things you don’t really need, you can ask for a donation to a charity instead. There are plenty of organizations and charities that have donations during the holidays. For those who are interested in nature and wildlife, there are places that allow people to adopt an endangered animal. This is an amazing way to protect the species and their habitats for years to come. The World Wildlife Fund allows people to adopt a variety of endangered species starting at $25! This Emperor Penguin Chick could be a unique and special present for any animal lover. 

There are so many ways to help those in need and give back to the community without spending any money, simply by being kind. Checking in on a friend or family member or writing them a letter is enough to make their day. 2020 has been a difficult year for countless reasons, but being kind and helping each other  can add some joy into all our lives. So as we enter a joyous season, think about shifting your attention towards generosity and kindness.