The holiday season has arrived, which means the calls for community service that occur all year will get an additional boost in power from the oncoming Season of Giving.
While there’s multiple ways to give back to your community, consider these suggestions before running out and giving your time, money, and energy to the first person or group urging you to give back to the community.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that volunteering means scrubbing pots and serving soup at a food shelter. Depending on where you live, giving back to the community by volunteering presents so many different options.
Check with local community centers to see about opportunities to share knowledge and experience in a variety of arts and sciences, which can include some off-beat subjects like dance or mechanical engineering. It may be possible to volunteer your time and teach community members how to change the oil on their cars or how to lean competitive fencing.
Additionally, check with local rest homes and senior care facilities to see about volunteer efforts at those locations. Volunteering has no age limit on people who need help.
Donations get a lot of attention during the holiday season. People will stand outside stores in holiday costumes seeking donations. Houses of worship will seek donations of food, clothing, and toys for the less fortunate. Big box stores will ask about monetary donations to a specific charity. And schools will put out the call for donations of time and money during the holiday season.
When considering any type of donation, it’s important not to use the situation as an excuse simply to get rid of all the old stuff in your home. If you’re going to donate anything, make sure the items in question remain in good condition. So don’t even think about donating clothes with holes, expired canned food, or broken toys.
Also, take a few minutes to learn about the organization in question. If possible, try to stick with a local nonprofit group or organization. This will help ensure the donations will help benefit your community first.
Whenever someone encourages others to support their local communities, buying local always ranks among the best suggestions. This stems mostly from the notion that buying local allows the community to grow with the business; buying local keeps business growth local, favoring the immediate community instead of some faceless big box store.
Buying local also encourages the community to develop and maintain its own culture and unique spirit. Think about what New Orleans would look like if every store in the French Quarter was a corporate brand like Walmart or Target. Local businesses don’t just provide local goods and services; they provide culture and area flavor.
Get Out There
Ultimately, giving back to the community requires you to find out what’s going on in your community. To do that, you’ve got to interact with the people and organizations in your community and find out how you can help everyone become a better place to live, work, and play.
So don’t wait until the holidays to get involved. After all, the community doesn’t just exist in November and December.