Since 2012, what began in New York, #givingtuesday is a way to change focus from all the crazy commercialized Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping to one of being charitable. Although it’s one day, the National Day of Giving is meant as a reminder to not only give today but throughout the year. Check out these 12 Ways to Give Back and join in the movement.
I’m a firm believer in teaching my kids to appreciate the things they have and to value the things that aren’t things in their lives, like family and health.
These 12 Ways to Give Back include a variety of ideas for any budget. You can be charitable without spending a dime. Often it’s giving of your time that is most valued.
12 Ways to Give Back
1. Donate to an animal shelter
Contact your local animal shelter to inquire about volunteering your time. My oldest did this last year. She spent a few hours a week socializing with cats. This included brushing them, feeding them, and just loving them.
Most shelters also rely on donations for toys and food for the animals housed there. Call ahead to find out what they need most.
2. Donate warm clothes or blankets
This time of year can be treacherous for homeless people, especially in climates like ours where it snows a lot and temps dip into negatives.
Go through your old coats, gloves, hats, and blankets to see if you have some that you don’t need anymore. Go directly to homeless shelters in your area or a local church that provides help to the needy.
3. Donate canned foods
Our community runs canned food drives about three times a year. Contact the organization who heads up the drive in your town to find out what is accepted and needed. Usually, the fire department is in charge of the canned food drives, so they would be a great place to start.
4. Visit Grandma or Grandpa
Offering to spend an afternoon with grandparents is an excellent way to give. They will appreciate your time more than you may realize.
Sharing a meal with them, playing games, making crafts, or helping them complete projects around the house are all great ways to give back to them.
5. Surprise a family member in your home
Spend some time brainstorming ways you can give of yourself to someone within your household.
You can do a chore for them that they usually do, make them a special treat, or just offer to do an activity with them that maybe you usually say no to doing.
6. Make a bird feeder
You can make a bird feeder yourself with supplies you mostly already have on hand. Hang it high up in a tree in your yard to help keep the birds fed while the snow is covering the ground.
Here’s a simple bird feeder you can make:
empty toilet paper roll
Run a length of string through the paper tube, tie off to make a loop. Coat the outside of the paper tube with peanut butter. Place bird seed on a plate, roll the peanut butter covered tube in the seed until well covered. Hang bird feeder from a high branch outside.
7. Offer to Babysit
Have a neighbor with small children? Why not offer to babysit for them so they can go shopping or just have some kid-free time? Most parents would love this.
8. Make treats and give to neighbors
Why not spend an afternoon baking cookies as a family, then making tasty gifts for your neighbors? This is a tradition in our home and one that our neighbors often reciprocate. It’s fun tasting all the different treats.
9. Shovel snow for a neighbor
We have quite a few older people who live in our neighbor. They can’t shovel anymore and would end up trapped inside for weeks on end if no one helped them.
Taking the time to go over a shovel their walkways and driveways is a wonderful way to give. Shoveling is hard work, so this would be a great family activity.
10. Pay for someone’s coffee, meal, or groceries
Have you ever had someone pay for your coffee in the drive-thru? It is so unexpected and kind. Why not do it for someone today?
Depending on your budget, you can offer to pay for the order of the person behind you in a fast-food restaurant, coffee house, or even pay for someone’s groceries.
11. Donate to a charity
As a family, research and decide on a charity you can all believe in. Then decide on a donation amount and make a donation today.
This can be a local charity or a national one, the possibilities are endless.
12. Homeless Care Packages
This is another great idea to help those in need. Instead of handing out money or random food, make a care package full of useful items instead. We use gift bags and fill them to the brim, then drive around and hand them out.
Here are some ideas to add to your bag:
- Hair Brush/Comb
- Lip Balm
- Warm Gloves
- Protein/Granola Bars
- Bottled water
- Beef Jerky
- Nuts/Trail Mix
- Dries Fruit
- Pre-paid phone cards
- Gift Cards
- Hand Warmers
- First Aid Kits
If you want even more ideas, check out Pinterest – there are tons of pins about these.
I hope you have found some ideas you’d like to try for #givingtuesday. Which of these 12 Ways to Give Back do you like the most?
Let’s all vow to have the best giving season yet and teach our kids through our words and our actions to be selfless and make the world a better place for it.
Looking for gifts to give? Check out this list of 7 awesome games for teens sure to please even the most difficult in the bunch.