Wednesday, December 21, 2016

5 Ways to Give Back this Holiday Season

Happy hump day friends! I am SO excited to bring today's post to you guys. I can't believe that Christmas is this weekend, but I've been doing everything I can to get in the Christmas spirit. I've been winter outfit planning, scheduling festive activities with family, burning all of my wintry candles, and baking up a storm!
However, my favorite thing to do to embrace the Christmas spirit is find a way to give back. I am so blessed to have all I have. I have a good job, a loving and supportive family, and a boyfriend who makes it feel like Christmas everyday. I am so lucky to always have food in my fridge and a bed to come home to, BUT, not everyone is that lucky. This time of year is so fun and exciting, but in the midst of that, it is so important to remember those less fortunate. Today, I thought I'd share 5 quick ways to make a huge difference in people's lives and spread some love this time of year.
  
 
I donated a present box earlier this year and it warms my heart every time I get an update email. I have never not had presents under the tree and it kills me for all the parents out there who want so badly to give their child a grand Christmas but can't afford to. These kids are SO over the moon about stuffed animals and soccer balls and it just makes me appreciate what I have. Basically, you pack a shoe box with small gifts up to $25, pick a gender and age range, and then your box is given to a child who would not otherwise receive anything for Christmas. The company, Samaritan's Purse, has a Christian background, so they also spread the message of Jesus's love in the boxes. Obviously it is too late now to pack a box, but all donations are needed and will send OCC into 2017 strong!

Y'all, speaking of causes that absolutely yank your heart strings. The situation in Aleppo is devastating. Absolutely horrible. And I wish I could be there to scoop up all the babies who are so scared and hurt. I feel like donating to the people who are there day in and day out providing hot meals and sleeping bags is the next best thing. PLC is gold star rated for the amount of money that actually goes into the field and not into their executive's pockets, so you can donate knowing your money is actually going where they say it is. Most of us can't be the boots on the ground, but we can make sure that Syrian refugees have something to eat and a warm place to sleep this winter. As little as $10 can provide SO much!

Nothing is closer to my heart than inspiring girls and equipping them to go out into society and be successful. I can really see improvement in the way women are being treated in the workplace, the media, and in schools all over the country, but we still have so far to go. I think foundations like this are so important to keep making improvements in the futures of young girls, and donating your money or your time to such a great mission would serve such a great purpose. 

I know that budgets are tight around this time of year and not everyone has extra to donate, so this one is for you. Salvation Army takes monetary donations, but also clothes, home goods, furniture, and appliances. They even send a truck to your house to pick up your donations! How easy is that?! I'm definitely going to clean out my closet and cabinets when I'm home for winter break and put some things aside for people who have a greater use for them.

Last but not least, using the link above, you can find a food bank in your area! My local food bank has recently asked for citrus, so I have plans to cut some of our oranges and lemons and drop them off, but food banks are always in need of canned goods. I think it's so easy to place a few extra tins of beans, corn, etc into your cart when shopping at the grocery store but it makes a major difference to the people who are trying to feed hundreds of hungry people every day. I know I've got a Christmas dinner waiting for me at home, but many don't, so I'm either going to give what I can or donate my time to help make the holidays better for everyone. 

What are your favorite causes to donate to this time of year? Comment them below so we can all be links in a chain that make this Christmas a time of giving and grace.
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