In the midst of the holiday season it is easy to be caught up in the decorations, parties, and presents. It is easy to forget about the most special thing this time of year, The gift of giving. If you are looking to spread some holiday cheer this year one of the greatest ways of doing so is by giving a helping hand to someone in need. Serving others is always a good idea anytime of the year. However, the holidays are the perfect time to focus on how you can make a difference in someone else’s life. Luckily for us there are so many wonderful ideas and organizations out there that will help guide you in how and where to give back. Let us help you find all the information you need in order to brighten up someone else’s holiday season.
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🔫 Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots was started in 1947. Diane, the wife of Marine Corps Reserve Major Bill Hendricks, asked her husband to deliver a few of the her handmade dolls to an agency that would give them to children in need. Bill reported back to her that he could not find such a thing. Her response was they would have to start one themselves. That very year Maj. Hendricks along with his reserve unit collected and distributed around 5,000 toys. After seeing such amazing support for the program all Marine Reserve Sites were instructed to implement the campaign. This effort made Toys for Tots a national community program. The goal of Toys for Tots is to collect unwrapped, new toys. The Marines then distribute those toys to children in need during Christmas time in order to bring them joy and send a message of hope.
With that being said, this is a great way to donate new toys. There are many drop-off locations in Weber and Salt Lake County such as the Walgreens in Bountiful, Clinton, Kaysville, Layton, Ogden, Syracuse, etc.
Keep in mind, dropping off toys is not your only option if you would like to donate to Toys for Tots. You can also donate a sum of money in which Toys for Tots will then use to keep the program running and to buy toys for the children. You can donate money by mail or online. If you are looking to mail in your donations all you need to do is print off their form, fill it out, and attach your check. Click Here to access the form. If you would like to donate online just follow the simple and secure steps on their website.
🎖️ The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is another great program dedicated to helping others, especially during Christmas time. Their goal is to help meet human needs without discrimination. They assist Americans and 130 countries around the globe. Something special about the Salvation Army is their Angel Tree Program.
During the holiday season they partner up with different businesses and schools where they can set up on of their Angel trees. On these trees there are paper ornaments that will have a child’s name, age, clothing sizes. Kids list what they are interested in or items that they need. When you pick an ornament off of the tree you are sponsoring that child. You then go pick out new clothes or toys for that child that without your donation they would not be able to have under their tree. Once purchased, take your gifts back to the tree so they can be given to the child. If you are interested in sponsoring an angel this year one of the schools Salvation Army is partnered up with is Weber State University. This year they have two Angel Trees set up. One is located at the Shepard Union Atrium and the other is located at the Weber State University Davis Building D3. Donations need to be brought back to the tree by December 14.
📬 Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child has been helping to make Christmas special for children in need since 1993. Their goal is to collect and distribute gift-filled shoe boxes for needy children all around the world. They send the boxes and messages of love to 150 countries. If you are looking to create a shoe box to donate you have the option of making it at home or online.
The holidays can be a busy time and Operation Christmas Child understands that. That’s why they have created the option of creating your own shoebox online for a $25 donation. It only takes a few clicks or swipes to choose what you would like to include off of a list of gifts and add a personal letter or photo. From there their team will take care of packing and shipping your shoebox for you. Click Here if you would like to start building your very own.
If you would like to build it yourself, here is all the information you will need to know, such as what to pack, how to pack it, and how to get it delivered.
What to Include in Shoebox
- A “Wow” Item: This is to get the child excited and capture their attention as soon as they open the shoebox. Items they suggest for a quality “wow” are a doll, soccer or other sports balls, stuffed animal, etc.
- Personal Care Items: Items such as a blanket, hairbrush, flashlights, or bandages (colorful ones will help children feel more comfortable when hurt).
- School Supplies: Pencils, markers, crayons, and notebooks are not only items they can use in school but can also help them express themselves and be creative.
- Clothing and Accessories: Clothing items to consider are shirts, pants, shoes, hats, scarfs, and mittens.
- Crafts and Activities: These kinds of items can inspire the children to be creative and stimulate their brain. Puzzles, chalkboard and chalk, playing cards, and jump ropes are a few ideas.
- A Personal Note: You may enclose a note to the child and their family or even a photo of yourself and your family. If you choose to include you name and address in your letter, the child may be able to write you back, but of course that is not guaranteed.
How to pack your shoe box
First, find an average-size shoebox. If you would like to wrap or decorate your box make sure you cover the lid and box separately. Second, decide if you are creating a box for a boy or girl and in which age category they fall in: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Next fill it will all the gifts you would like to include in your shoebox. The organization asks that you donate $9 dollars online to help cover shipping costs. When you do this you will also receive a tracking label so you can watch your shoebox on its journey. Finally, all you have to do is drop it off. This year if you are wanting to do this you will have to mail your shoebox to their headquarters at 801 Bamboo Road, NC 28607.
🥫 Giving Back Locally
Bake a Homemade Treat for Your Mail Carrier
The holiday season is the busiest time of year for your mail carrier. They make sure all your Christmas packages are delivered with care. You can give back to them and let them know how much you appreciate their hard work. Bake them a simple treat such as cookies (click the link for 5 easy Cookie Recipes) or brownies and leave it in your mailbox for them to find. If you have children you could have them include a drawing or note saying thank you to them. This simple act of kindness could brighten up their day. What an easy way to let them know they are appreciated during this stressful season of deliveries.
Buy Extra Canned Goods to Donate
A simple and easy way to give back to your community is by donating canned goods. On your next trip to the grocery store pick up a few extra canned items that you can then donate. If you are unsure on what you should be looking for, canned fruit and vegetables are great non-perishable items that food banks are always in need of. You can donate your canned goods at the Utah Food Bank in Salt Lake City, the Ogden Bishop Storehouse in Ogden, Open Doors in Layton, or any Harmon’s near you.
Another amazing option if you are looking to give back to your community is to volunteer. Homeless shelters are a great place to volunteer and they are always looking for as much help as they can get.
Lantern House is a homeless shelter in Ogden just off 33rd Street. They still have a few openings during the holidays to help serve lunch or dinner. If serving times are full, there are still plenty of volunteering opportunities. They welcome volunteers that have professional skills. Trades such as giving haircuts, art classes, or resume workshops are very helpful. You can also volunteer to set up activities such as arts and crafts, holiday cookie decorating, or board/card games. Contact them at (801) 621-5036 to see how you can help.
The Road Home is a homeless shelter in Salt Lake off of 200 South and Rio Grande Street. They accept volunteers that would like to help with a variety of areas. The front desk, playgroups for the littles, kids book club, playroom activities, and on-call language interpreters are just a few of the opportunities. They have so many great ways for you to get involved and help change some lives this holiday season. Contact them at (801) 359-4142 if you would like to volunteer
There so are so many different ways to get involved in your community and give back this holiday season. However, something as simple as a smile or compliment as you pass someone on the street can make a huge difference in brightening up their day. So get out there and start spreading some holiday cheer.
If a new home would brighten your day, please contact C4 Elite Real Estate Team for all of your Real Estate needs.