Regardless of denomination, the holiday season is a time for joy, laughter, family, friends, and food. But for those in need, the holiday season can be a difficult time of year. While it is important to prioritize philanthropy year round, there’s a lot that you can do during your short break from school to give back to those in need in your community.
Finding Creative Ways to Give Back and Get Involved This Holiday Season
Many colleges and universities in the US spread holiday cheer through charity and volunteerism, and opportunities for students to get involved seem endless.
Donating to charitable organizations is just one way to give back during the holidays. If you are looking for a way to volunteer and help out those in your community this holiday season, here are some community service ideas to explore during your winter break:
Volunteer Your Time
Reach out to your local hospital, community center, homeless shelter, or any other charitable organization to ask how you can be of service. Sometimes, there is a surplus of one kind of donation, and lack of another, so it’s helpful to ask what particular needs are not being meet. Once you’ve asked, see if other students in your school would like to help as well.
Put on a Show
Perform carols, plays, and more for local homeless shelters, senior centers, or hospitals. If your passion lies in performing or directing, see if you can volunteer at your local Boys and Girls Club or other community center and host drama clinics for children.
Host a Clothing or Toy Drive
Have any new or gently used items you no longer need? Get together with some friends to collect donations for local clothing, toy, and food drives. Promote clothing donations by putting on a fashion show at your school—have people bring in clothes to wear on the runway. This also gives you the opportunity to fundraise—donate the proceeds from the event to charity along with the goods!
Spread the Cheer
The holidays can be especially difficult for those unable to be home or with loved ones for various reasons. Make care packages for soldiers serving overseas during the holidays and see how you can support organizations like Give an Hour. You can spread the cheer by sending soldiers holiday cards via the American Red Cross’ Holiday Mail for Heroes project, or connect the elderly with their loved ones through DoSomething’s Grandparents Gone Wired campaign.
Sponsor a Family
Help put food on the table and provide holiday gifts for a family in need through organizations like Family-to-Family, or see if any local organizations are sponsoring families this holiday season and ask what you can do to help.
Make Doubles of Dinner
The holidays are known for bringing surplus food—so why not make a little more? As long as you’re cooking en masse, make a little more and section off a portion to bring to your local soup kitchen.
How do you plan to give back this holiday season? Tell us in the comments below!