It’s the time of the year we’ve all been waiting for… holiday season! There is a lot of love and joy spread throughout these wonderful months, and for many people, it’s a time to give back. Charities hold all kinds of holiday drives/events for anyone to participate in, and it’s tough when there are so many to choose from. Well, we just made your job easy. We listed some of our favorite foundations/events for YOU to effect positive change! Take a look, and don’t forget to give, give, give.Are you struggling to decide how you can give back this holiday season? We made this list to help you: Click To Tweet
Give Back With These Opportunities:
Maren & Jeremy: Give to causes that are important to you all year round. For us, we sat down to determine which charities most closely align with our values and they are:
- Feeding children: NoKidHungry, WorldVision and OpenDoorMission here in Omaha.
- Ending Sexual Slavery: Love 146, Rejuvenating Women
- Freedom of Speech: The ACLU, The Southern Poverty Law Center and supporting vetted journalistic newspapers like The New York Times, The Economist, NPR and The Washington Post
- Refugee Outreach: Rescue.org
- Human and Civil Rights: The Human Rights Campaign, Pathfinder
Kyle: A great way to give to the kids and families that can’t afford gifts is to participate in the Angel Tree Program. Angel Tree is an anonymous gift giving program offered to low-income families. Simply grab a tag off of a participating Angel Tree (this will show the family and/or child’s name and what they like) and purchase a gift. For more information on where to find an Angel Tree closest to you, go to your local Salvation Army website and search for “Angel Tree.”
Kristine: Make a difference this holiday season by adopting a family from the Salvation Army “Adopt A Family” radio-thon. By adopting a family you directly make a difference in either an underprivileged family or a senior citizen. You can adopt a family as an individual, a family or even a business. When you adopt a family, not only do you bless the kids with gifts, you bless them with the good spirit of the season and memories.
Haylie: Blood is in high demand year round and if you don’t have the resources to donate gifts of monetary value, blood is a great option! Go to the Red Cross website and set up a time to donate at a donation center near you.
Stevie: The Lydia House in NorthEast Omaha. They provide shelter to domestic abuse mothers and children, or those who happen to be homeless. They constantly need things like baby care products (especially diapers) and clothing for both the moms and children of all ages. The one is Omaha is through the Open Door Mission. But there is also another one incase you want to branch out to other states as well.
And, during this time, don’t forget about our furry friends! The ASPCA and Humane Society of the United States are always taking donations of food, blankets, money, and pet accessories!
Kerry: Most shelters and charities offer holiday volunteer opportunities. My family spends several Thanksgivings or Christmas mornings delivering hot meals to underserved families in the metro. Check out your local shelters for opportunities!
Eric: Volunteering at your local homeless shelter is a great way to give back during the holidays. When my Grandpa was alive we would volunteer during the holidays to give out hot meals.
Shalaina: A great low-cost way to give back this season is to donate what you already have in your household to the less fortunate. You can even make it a family-wide or neighborhood effort by getting everyone together and bringing your gently used coats, gloves, and scarves to the local Goodwill or donation drop-off bin or be on the lookout for the “Share the Warmth” coat drive in your local neighborhood which is an initiative that collects coats and winter accessories for families in need.
Noelle: The House of Ruth is a safe living quarter for families suffering from domestic violence. There are three easy ways to help these families in need. View their segmented wish list for adults, children and newborns, right here. If you don’t have financial capacity to donate, give them your time and attention! The House has a 24/7 need for hotline services, childcare and more- look here to see what you can do to volunteer. For ongoing assistance to the House of Ruth, sign up for news alerts to get notified for upcoming events!
Shaley: Samaritan’s Purse runs a campaign every holiday season called Operation Christmas Child. In November, people from all over the world pack shoeboxes filled with toys and necessities for children in need all around the world. There are over 5,000 drop-off locations in the US so you can build your own box or you can build the box online! You can build a box for girls and boys ages 2-14 and they ask you to include personal care items, a craft, small toys, clothes and accessories and one “wow” item! You can even follow your shoebox’s tracking label to see where it ends up. Learn more here.
Marissa: The holidays can be difficult for the elderly, especially those in senior care facilities. Many are spending the holidays away from family and have even lost those they’re closest to. The Be a Santa to a Senior program ensures seniors within your community have something special to unwrap for the holidays.
Kendra: Sometimes making something yourself to give to those in need helps you to feel more connected to them. If you can sew, quilt, or tie two knots together, Project Linus might be the right charity for you. Just make a warm blanket, and drop it off at a local collection. They’ve collected over 6 million blankets since 1995 to keep children and families warm over the Christmas season.
Grant: I think that giving time to the poor and needy is a great way to spread the holiday cheer. One great way to participate is through the Goodfellows Drive. This is Omaha World Herald’s annual campaign that has raised nearly 10 million for disadvantaged families in the Omaha Metro. Be sure to bring your extra clothes or provide a holiday meal and participate in the Goodfellows drive.
Christine: The Nebraska Humane Society is a nonprofit that depends and survives on their donations and volunteers. Much like people this time of year, pets and other animals struggle. Give back to a loving animal so they never have to know what neglect or malice are. You can fill out this application to volunteer here, or if you cannot find the time to volunteer, you may send a donation here. Now go hug a puppy!
Everything from helping the homeless to volunteering with animals, the Branchers encourage you to give back. After reading this article, I’m sure you feel more than inclined to get out there and make a difference, so get going!