This was recently published in The Albrightian, which is my campus’ newspaper and I decided it was worth a blog post. This is exactly how it was published in print. ‘Tis the season to give back to those in need whether they be people or animals. It’s great to give back. It’s nice and makes you feel all fuzzy on the inside like sipping hot cocoa on a snowy day! As a college student, it seems hard to give back since we do not have much to give, but what we can give is our time. That’s about it. Here are some easy ways to give back this holiday season:
- Charity Miles- This is a free app that allows people to track the miles that they walk, run or bike. For every mile travelled, some amount of money is donated to a charity of your choice. This app could be especially helpful in completing a get-fit New Year’s Resolution. Tell your friends to get it, and create a friendly contest to see who can raise the most money.
- Free Rice– I’m sure many of you are familiar with this self-quiz study tool. Every time you answer a question correctly, you earn grains of rice to feed the hungry.
- Free Kibble– How well do you know dogs and cats? On freekibble.com, you can answer all sorts of questions about animals, and with each correct answer, kibble is donated to animals! Even if you get a question wrong (like I did, plenty of times) 10 pieces of kibble are still donated.
- Share your cookies! Does anyone else go crazy when making holiday cookies? I know I do. A cool idea to do with your leftover cookies is to bring them to a veteran center, police station, senior home or soup kitchen. They will appreciate your culinary skills as much as your friends and families do!
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen. If you do not know what soup kitchen is closest to you, you can visit www.foodpantries.org. This website will tell you what soup kitchen is closest to you. Once you find the one closest to you, the website will provide you with an address and a phone number. Be brave and give them a call. I’m sure they would be happy for some help! While you may not be serving the food, you could be preparing it or even just simply sorting it.
- Donate your change. A good idea for the New Year is to get a jar for your change; once it collects, you can donate it to a good cause. Already have some? Consider giving it to the Salvation Army (you know, the ones with the bells?!).
- Haircut for a cause. Since it is that time of the year, do you want a new look? It’s the perfect time of the year to make the chop and donate your hair to Locks of Love, or one of the many other organizations that create wigs for patients who want them.
- Clean out your closet. Are you ready to update your wardrobe? You can donate old clothes to Goodwill and other organizations. If you and your friends have plenty of clothes and old items you no longer want, think about hosting a garage sale and donating some of the proceeds to the charity of your choice.
- Send letters to soldiers or get well cards to hospitalized children. There are many organizations that seek just cards. Make it part of your holiday celebration.
- Clean up. Do you live near any forests, beaches, rivers or parks? It’s easy to organize a cleanup. You can make it a big, festive event for you and community members by providing them with hot cocoa, cookies (and water for hydration).
- Encourage your community to donate items, too. Start a canned-food drive in your town or collect supplies for an animal shelter.
- Visit a nursing home. You never know what you will learn from your elders, it could be a new recipe or it could just be someone telling you a story.
- Donate books to your local library. They’ll get more use in circulation than on your shelf.
- Play ‘Santa.’ Go to your local post office and ask about the Letters to Santa program. You will have to fill out a small form for the postal service. Once the form is completed you are allowed to pick and choose up to 10 letters to answer. Answer the letter then come back and provide the gift for the child.
If you are totally lost about what you want to do help with, you can go to http://www.volunteermatch.org. They will help you identify causes and things to do in your area, and even offers a choice of categories, so that you can choose what kind of volunteer work you’d most like to do.
I hope this helps inspire you to give back. It’s simple and makes you feel amazing. Happy holidays!