The Season of Giving
By Isabel Terrett
With Thanksgiving’s end and Christmas just around the corner, it’s officially the holiday season. While many plan to spend winter break at home, cozily wrapped up with plenty of food to eat and gifts to unwrap, December is a difficult time for many families. There are those who are struggling with the cold weather, no access to free school meals, and difficulty making the holidays as special as they would like. As unfortunate as it is, there are ways to help these families. Here are some organizations that you can show support to during the season of giving.
The Marine Toys for Tots works to collect new, unwrapped toys each holiday season and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in local communities. This organization collects donations virtually and at local distribution centers, where you can sign up for certain toys and donate them or donate certain values of money to the organization itself. This year’s campaign will conclude December 17th 2021, so it’s important that donations are made on time so they can be properly distributed before this Christmas.
Since many hard-working families in local communities struggle to make ends meet from month to month, the extra expenses of Christmas presents for children can strain a family’s already tight budget. Salvation Army’s Angel Tree aims to help these families put smiles on their children’s faces on Christmas morning as they open the gifts donated by their local communities. To contribute to their cause, you help by going to their website to adopt an “angel” online and collect toys specifically for them. You could also go to the Angel Tree at Crabtree Valley Mall, select a child on the tree, and conveniently shop for them at the surrounding stores and drop them back off at the tree site! They accept donations there Monday through Saturday (not Sundays) from 10am to 9:00 pm until Saturday, December 11th.
The Adopt a Family Program prioritizes creating a sense of community, generosity, and kindness among children across the nation by creating different opportunities for families to give back this holiday season. The Adopt a Family Program is a family oriented organization and keeps your entire family involved through the whole process, even in the beginning. In ideal circumstances, they purposefully match your family to another in need that is similar in age to your own children in order to celebrate your similarities and hopefully make the gift shopping process a bit easier. You can contact your local Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services or visit volunteermatch.org to be matched with your recipient(s), purchase your gifts, wrap them and then finally drop them off at the designated dropoff spot.
Operation Wake County Holiday Cheer
Operation Wake County Holiday Cheer aims to brighten the holidays of children and elderly in need by matching them with community sponsors who provide Thanksgiving and Christmas meals or gifts. This organization hopes to provide an opportunity to create personal connections between sponsors and their Holiday Cheer family. Individual people, families, faith groups, service organizations and businesses can all sign up to sponsor one or more families in need this holiday season. There isn’t a deadline to become a sponsor, but an early application increases the chances that your preferences giving preferences can be more closely with the family you are matched with.
Feeding America works closely with local soup kitchens, food pantries and food banks that rely on volunteers to help make the holidays special for families in need. Whether it’s by serving meals on Christmas Day or preparing holiday meal boxes, it’s important that people volunteer so that our community can make a difference. To help, you can contact a food bank or food pantry near you about volunteering for the holidays. It’s important to remember all of the effort that goes into making sure this organization runs smoothly during the holidays, so when signing up to volunteer you should be open to helping where you’re needed most. You may be asked to pass out food at a holiday meal pick up, serve a warm holiday meal, or deliver boxes of food to those who can’t make it to their local pantry. You can pledge to volunteer online or find a local food bank you can donate to by searching through your zip code here.
The holiday season is the perfect time to give back to your community and help others. If you or your family have considered donating but don’t know where to start, hopefully this article gives your guidance on what to support.