A coat could keep someone warm, a meal could relieve a person's hunger, and an organ donor could save 75 lives. A single charitable act could put a smile on someone's face or even make someone's life better – all on a budget. As you prepare for the holidays, this is the perfect time to give back with charitable drives.
The Feeding America network distributed 3.6 billion meals to those in need in 2019. In the same year around 55,800,719 people were homeless. In the course of 2020, unemployment rates rose despite the previous year's figures – and you can help.
The holidays can be a big drain on your budget, but luckily there are plenty of ways you can help your community without breaking the bank. The smallest kind actions can affect one, if not many, people in need.
Support your local community
Giving back makes you feel like a million dollars, but you don't have to spend that much to help others. Spread the vacation spirit by giving back to your community, even on a budget.
1. Give blood
Somebody in the US needs blood every two seconds. This act might not be high on your to-do list, but it can save lives. Donated blood is used for life threatening circumstances such as blood transfusions and serious injury. Donating blood once can save up to three lives.
2. Donate blankets and coats
Seventeen out of 10,000 Americans were homeless in 2019. As the colder weather approaches, dig up blankets and coats that you and your family don't need and donate them. If you find other items like a CD player or old books that collect dust, donate them too! Warm coats, blankets and fun games are thoughtful Christmas gifts for those in need.
3. Shop in stores that give back
When you go shopping, you are shopping smart. Research and support for companies giving back to charities and corporate social responsibility. Companies like TOMS Shoes donate one dollar for every three dollars they make. They also help fund startups that are also good for their communities.
4. Register as an organ donor
How heroic would you feel if you could save up to 75 lives? That is how many human lives a person could touch as an organ donor. If you'd like to become a donor, contact your automotive department and have them added to your ID. When you die, your organs could go to those who need them most.
5. Volunteer at your local food bank
If you don't have a lot of flexibility in your budget, give your time as a gift. At your local grocery store, help sort, collect, and distribute groceries for families in need. Make it a family activity by checking off this charitable act from your 30 day kindness challenge.
Spreading kindness doesn't have to cost anything but your time. Divide your time and give something back to your community with small charitable activities. Who knows, these thoughtful acts could set off a giving back chain reaction.
6. Round off your purchases
There may be useless change lying around that could be used. Instead of having your change collected over time, donate it to a charity of your choice. First, connect your online bank accounts to a trusted app like RoundUp. This app rounds your purchases up to the nearest dollar and donates your "extra change" to charity.
7. Give Christmas cookies to the homeless
Cookies give every moment the perfect holiday touch. To get into the mind, hand out your favorite baked goods. Have a bake night with your family and make vacation treats to give to local animal shelters. Before you begin, check with your local animal shelter to make sure you meet packaging requirements. If you don't, your favorite treats may not be served for safety reasons.
8. Donate your tax refund
Your tax refund isn't free, but it could be money that you budgeted for without. Consider spending your tax refund on a charity instead of buying a new one. Even if you donate half or a quarter of your refund, that money could go a long way for those in need. Make sure you collect a receipt to transform into your accountant for the tax season. If you do, you will receive a small bonus on your next refund.
9. Walking, running, or cycling for a reason
Take action with loved ones to support a cause. Connect with your community and ask about fundraisers, runs, or bike rides. If there aren't any events in the coming months, download an app like Charity Miles. All you have to do is log your training to raise funds for a charity of your choice.
10. Hand out gift cards
When you're short on time but have space in your budget, hand out gift cards to those in need. Go to a local grocery or restaurant and purchase a few $ 5 to $ 10 gift cards. Keep these cards in your car to give out to families you see on the street. For every charity you do, cut out our printable hearts and place in a jar. See how full you can fill your glass before the holiday season ends.
Encourage others to give back
Make it a group activity while giving back to your community. Invite your friends and family to join charity events or host your own – the more the merrier!
11. Share charity events on social media
Inspire others by sharing your charitable activities on Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat stories. Make sure to tag all of the charities involved and everyone who attended the event. Raising awareness is another way you can help charities when you can't afford to donate.
12. Invite your friends to a charity event
Instead of having your weekly take away dinner with friends and family, save your budget and give something back. Get your loved ones in the holiday mood by attending a charity event that you all agree on. Save half the money you would have spent on dinner and donate the other half. Take it a step further and make your charity meeting a monthly activity.
13. Ask your employees for a donation
Encourage others to give back by asking your employees to donate jackets and blankets that they are not using. When you and your family donate your items, you may be able to give away a full clothes basket over a couple of jackets. You can also save your employees time by making a donation for them.
14. Work Charity Matches Advocate
Find out what your company is doing for charity fundraising. If your company has one, you can donate your time or money to a charity so that your employer can bring them together. If your job doesn't offer these benefits, advocate for them! Contact your HR department to see if you can help them start one.
15. Throw a charity-themed vacation-themed party
Holiday parties are perfect ways to spread friendliness and raise awareness. To save your budget, hold a holiday meeting at your location. Ask each guest to bring their favorite dish and a donation in lieu of a present. Let your guests print out our Charity Goal Tracker before attending your event. This could give you a fresh perspective on the purpose of your events.
A casual act of kindness could send waves across your community. Perhaps the most heartwarming gifts are those that don't cost a penny. As you and your loved ones prepare for the holidays, check your budget using our app to see what donations you can make. Whether you can donate your coats or your tax refund, every act counts.