Giving back to the community has always been very important to both my husband and I. When we were living on our own after college, paycheck to paycheck, we donated every month to a cause that lets you sponsor a child in a third-world country. We sponsored a little boy from Rwanda for a few years, and in return received letters and artwork from him (via the agency) every month. Unfortunately, the monthly donation – though it wasn’t much- became too much for my husband and I, and we stopped the sponsorship. I felt terrible, like I had failed this little boy and his family.
This was several years ago; I think about that little boy often, and hope he and his family are well. Now that my husband and I are in a better financial place, we’ve begun giving back, though we still live on a budget. Giving back to the community in any way possible not only feels good, but makes a wonderful impact. This holiday season, I’d like to share with you a few unexpected ways to give back that won’t break the bank.
Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots is a wonderful organization by the Marine Corps that helps bring the joy of Christmas and send a message of hope to America’s less fortunate children with new toy donations. This is a cause I contribute to every holiday season, and there are many similar drives as well that collect gently used and new clothing, books, and shoes. Toys can be relatively inexpensive, and is a small but impactful way to give back and spread cheer this season.
You can check for donation locations in your areahere.
Round Up your Purchase at the Register
An incredibly simple way to give back while building a great relationship with your money, rounding up your purchase at the register is an easy way to spread joy. Anytime you are at the register and are asked to round up or donate to a cause, say yes to the roundup or commit to donating at least one dollar.
Donate your Time
We’re all busy, especially this time of year, but donating your time is an easy and free way to give back. One of the greatest gifts you can offer a charity is your time, whether you assist with administrative tasks, fundraising, or volunteer directly with those in need (such as a soup kitchen or food pantry).
Cooking and Baking
One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is package up homemade baked goods or meals and deliver them to my neighbors. Its a simple way to bring a smile to their face, and you never know who may need it. You can also check with local assisted living communities to see if there is any need for meals you can provide.
Donate Blood or Plasma
Several years ago, a family member of ours suffered a terrible injury and required several liters of blood, all of which was obtained through donations to the Red Cross. Blood drives are incredibly important to me because of this, and such an easy way to save a life. I have a very rare blood type, and I give as often as I can, with the hopes that should I ever need the services, someone would do the same for me. You can check here to sign upfor any upcoming drives in your area. Check with your workplace as well, as I know my company hosts blood drives once every three months.
Donate through your Church
Most churches accept cash, and many also collect donations of gently used or new clothing, shoes, books, and toys for families in need. Check with you church to see if they are sponsoring any families and consider donating to their cause. It’s also a great excuse to cull your wardrobe of any unworn clothes (in good condition) that can be given to someone in need instead of thrown out or sitting in your closet.
Other Ways to Give Back
Shop through AmazonSmile’s charity page (you can customize the charity you wish to donate to)
Host a bake sale
Create a fundraiser (Facebook, GoFundMe, etc)
Have a truck? Deliver things to those in need, or snowplow for your neighbors
Donate the money you saved on buying a sale item
Read to children at your local library
Donate your hair
Donate unwanted furniture
Volunteer at an animal shelter
Do a charity walk, such as the Walk to End Alzheimer’s (a cause I support dearly)
There are so many different ways you can give back to the community on a budget that it’s impossible to list them all. However you decide to donate this holiday season, it is sure to make a positive impact and bring joy to those in need.