I started this post last year on November 30th but never finished it in time to be published on the blog. I didn’t want to rush it as this post means a lot to me and I want to do it right. So here it is, blogging straight from my heart, sharing today on how you can give a gift that really matters.
If you know me at all then you will know that gift giving does not come naturally to me and I don’t particularly like it. In fact, it may cause me to break out in hives. The exception of course (besides buying for my own children) is if we are giving to someone that truly needs something, then I can’t wait to give! A single mom who needs money to buy her children winter coats, no problem. A family that needs food, done deal. Buying Christmas gifts for children who’s parent(s) are in prison, you got it! So I thought I’d share some of the places you can give of your time, talents or money during this Christmas season and throughout the year as well!
Obviously helping out in your own town is a great place to start. Here are some websites that can get you started!
If you want to know if your area has a Homeless Shelter, check out this place, Homeless Shelter Directory which also has listings for Food Pantries, Soup Kitchens and Food Banks.
Another great website for Food Banks is Feeding America. Once again you can locate a local food bank in your area or give online to help out nationally if there isn’t one in your area. If you don’t have a food bank in your area, you can also start a virtual food drive which sounds like a great way to use social media!
Perhaps your passion is to help animals. The Humane Society of the United States will be a great resource for you to find a local shelter. Here you can help out by walking dogs, cleaning and volunteering at the shelter, purchasing food, toys and supplies. My girls are passionate about animals and one of our daughter’s had her friends donate food and toys to the local humane society instead of bringing her birthday presents. She also contributed with her own money and it was a joy for us to see our daughter looking beyond herself at 10 years old and wanting to help others in need.
Perhaps you are passionate about helping children with illnesses. You will want to check out these amazing sites to see how you can help out with your time and/or money.
Below is a list of charities that help children both locally, regionally and/or globally.
Toys for Tots They often have toy drop off sites around town but if your town doesn’t have one, maybe you need to start one up! You can also donate online.
Angel Tree A program by Prison Fellowship that shares the gospel message and gifts to children who have parent(s) in prison. Sometimes you can find these in your local mall or church where you can chose a name and drop the gift off at a local collection site.
Operation Christmas Child A ministry of Samaritan’s Purse. Pack a shoebox filled with toys, candy, school supplies and hygiene items for a girl or boy. You can also track your shoebox online to see where it goes. A great idea to do with your children, small group, MOPS table, office or neighbors.
Feed My Starving Children One of our favorite charities. If you are lucky enough to do a Mobile Packing Event, please sign up and do it! Our family did this last January and we are excited to be able to do this again soon. What an experience we had with our children packing meals for starving families across the globe. Seeing photos of starving children really opened up the eye’s of our own children, they couldn’t wait to start helping pack the food. You can also visit one of their many permanent locations and pack meals there as well. Really an amazing charity that we are proud to support!
Food for the Hungry I blogged about this charity last year. You can read more about here. Sponsoring a child is another way you can help globally. They also send out a catalog at Christmas time that lets you purchase items such as deworming pills, goats and water purification tablets among many other items.
Compassion Another child sponsorship website. Recently they have been taking bloggers on missions trips and it’s been amazing to see through their eyes what Compassion is doing. If you want to read more, check out Layla and Kevin’s recent trip to Peru from the Lettered Cottage!
There are so many ways we can give to others, I am just barely scratching the surface of all that is out there but I have wanted to share with you all just a few that maybe will get your brain and heart thinking of where you can help. I am partial to giving to places that help children but there are places like Red Cross, United Way and Salvation Army that are well known and help out in so many ways beyond what I’ve talked about here.
The whole point of my blog post is this, we are all blessed with something that we can give, it doesn’t have to be financial! We can all do our part to make the world a better place, help someone out, in big and small ways. Obviously you can start in your own neighborhood by shoveling an elderly person’s sidewalk, taking them to a doctor’s appointment, bringing your neighbor who has cancer a meal, knitting her a scarf to keep warm, buying a coat for the family that has recently suffered a job loss. There are endless ways we can bless others and it should happen all year round, not just during the Holiday season!