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How to pay it forward this holiday season

By: Maria Werner-- 2015-11-10 9:30 am --

The holidays are traditionally a time of giving. They are a time when people reconvene with family and friends to celebrate the blessings in their life, while spreading generosity and kindness in return. Even small acts of kindness have the potential to transform someone’s day and make the cold days of winter feel a little bit warmer. Here are small ways that you can embody the spirit of the holidays and give back to the community at large.

  1. Volunteer at a local nonprofit. Volunteering is a great way to make new friends, learn useful skills, and create a stronger, more cohesive community. In the cold winter months, homeless shelters, food banks, and animal shelters are often overwhelmed with an inflow of clients, and they need all the help they can get to cater to the masses.
  2. Make an end-of-year charitable donation. There is no better time to donate than winter, when shelters are overflowing with people desperate to escape the cold. Wholesale donations like canned food, socks, clothing, and toiletries are all tax-deductible, so you can spread some seasonal kindness, while receiving a tax break in return.
  3. Foster a homeless pet. According to org, only one out of every ten dogs finds a home. The rest are left to wander the streets or reside in shelters where they are eventually euthanized. Couple that with an estimated 70 million stray cats, and animal homelessness is becoming a national epidemic. Fortunately, people can help reduce the number of euthanized animals by offering to foster dogs and cats. Animal shelters euthanize pets after they have exceeded a certain number of days at the shelter. By offering to foster an animal that is about to be euthanized, you can save the life of an animal, while increasing its chances of finding a home.
  4. Give gifts that give back. There are many companies that thrive on giving back to their community. The shoe company, Tom’s, will donate a pair of shoes for every pair they sell. SoapBox Soaps, an all-natural soap company, donates a bar of soap with every purchase. By buying presents from charitable companies, you can give two gifts in one, helping to reduce global poverty, while shopping for friends and family.
  5. Donate toys. With an average of 5 million children going homeless every year, there are many young kids who don’t get to experience the merriment of the holidays. Rather than just adding to your children’s boundless toy collection this Christmas, consider donating some of their old toys to make room for the new ones.
  6. Open up your home. Many people are unable to spend time with family this holiday season, which can make for a particularly lonesome winter. Open up your home to friends or coworkers who may have nowhere else to spend the holidays. This way, everyone can experience the togetherness of the season, even in lack of immediate family.

With the holidays upon us, many are eagerly anticipating their trips home. Yet, some Americans are faced with unfortunate circumstances that detract from the holiday cheer. Even the smallest of gestures provide the opportunity to lift a person’s spirits and spread joy in your community. This season, utilize the cost saving benefits of wholesale donations to pay it forward and bring happiness to those in need.