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Do Greater Good This Season

December is here which means we’ve officially entered the season of giving and giving back. The holidays are a perfect time to connect with your community and discover how you can help out with the needs of your local peers.

With that, here are some tips on how to give back to your community during the holidays!

Volunteer Locally

Search for volunteer opportunities throughout your local community to get involved. Shelters are a great place to start, and always in need of volunteers. However, homeless shelters tend to become busier than ever during the holiday season. If you enjoy cooking, ask your local shelter if you can get into the kitchen and help cook and prepare meals for others. You can even get the entire family involved while teaching your kids the value of helping others. Another great place to spread some charitable cheer is your local animal shelter. Ask about volunteering or even donate supplies such as food, cleaners, toys, and treats to help out the shelter and make a difference in a furry friend’s life.

Shop Small Businesses

We know how tempting it can be to head to big corporations like Amazon and Target to do all your holiday shopping at once, but this season try something a little more community-centric. Shop small businesses for the unique, the customized, and the overall best gifts your community has to offer. When you buy from a small business you’re supporting their family, their team, and their success. Plus, you know your purchase is going toward someone who really cares about the community just like you do. Friends and family are sure to love the thought behind their present.

Host a Holiday Food Drive

Starting your own holiday food drive is an excellent way to connect with your community while providing essentials for those in need. Start by contacting your local food banks and gather information on what items they’re in need of the most. Then, encourage friends, family, and even neighbors to donate their non-perishable goods. You can even advertise your food drive within the community by posting in local facebook groups, hanging signs around your neighborhood, and more! 

Here is a list of some of the most commonly requested food items to help you get started!

  • Canned Beans 
  • Canned Chicken 
  • Cooking Oils 
  • Canned or Dried Fruit 
  • Granola Bars 
  • Pasta 
  • Peanut Butter
  • Rice

Spread a little Warmth

The holiday season tends to get pretty chilly especially when dealing with Western New York winters. Think about taking a weekend to gather up unused sweaters, coats, hats, scarves, gloves, or anything else that can help with the cold and donate it. This time of year many shelters, churches, and other local establishments will hold coat drives for you to donate your garments to. Plus, if you’re an avid knitter or even if you just know someone who loves to knit or sew, try turning that hobby into a do-good project. Talk to friends and family or contact your local knitting club to spread the word and start creating for those in need.

Encourage Simple Acts of Kindness

Giving back to the community doesn’t mean spending a fortune and big grand gestures. Sometimes simple acts of kindness are the greatest gift you can give someone else. The holidays tend to prove stressful for many individuals so showing some extra understanding can go a long way. Try shoveling snow off of an elderly neighbor’s driveway, give a little more on that food delivery tip, or bring a coworker their favorite coffee in the morning as a surprise. The pathways to kindness are truly limitless.

We’re Greater Together When We Give Back

Whether you want to offer your time volunteering, make a donation to a charitable organization, or work on showing a little more kindness this holiday season, your community is the place to start. Then, think about making your efforts an annual tradition so you can provide long-lasting support in the season to come.