Giving Back For The Holidays

The holidays are a great time of togetherness and celebrating! There is lots of fun to be had with white elephant gift exchanges, trimming the tree, and eating way too much turkey (and then taking a nap). But what about some events or things we can do that give back to the community? We've compiled a list of ideas and have included a little tidbit about where to start when using this as an event for your neighborhood.

  1. Donate to Toys for Tots.
    • You can enter your state/city and find a local toy drop - your property can collect donations to be taken to this drop or encourage residents to take donations on their own.
    • You can apply for your property to become an official "Toy Drop" spot.
    • You can organize a group of neighbors and all volunteer with Toys for Tots at the local level doing things like assisting in the transportation and storage of toys, volunteering in their local warehouse, helping with meals... and much more.
       
  2. Donate or volunteer with the Salvation Army's Christmas Angel Tree.
    • To support an Angel in your town, contact your local Salvation Army by entering your zip code at www.SalvationArmyUSA.org.
    • The Salvation Army needs volunteers to help distribute gifts along with food for holiday meals to the participating families. So, contact your local Salvation Army and organize a volunteer day (maybe a "love your community" day), gather a group of residents, and get to distributing!
    • Do you know of a family in need? You can help connect them to receive gifts for Christmas. To learn more about dates and eligibility in your local community, contact your local Salvation Army by entering your zip code atwww.salvationarmyusa.org.
  3. Educate neighbors and provide them with the opportunity to sponsor a child. There are lots of organizations to choose from, find one here.
    • You could host a "sponsor night" and invite interested residents to come eat, learn about the organization, and then help match them up with a child to sponsor.
       
  4. Donate food or get a group of neighbors together to go distribute food at a local food bank.
     
  5. Encourage residents to go through closets, bookshelves, and toy boxes to donate things.
    • Here's a big list of who needs/accepts what.
    • You could host a "donation drop" night where residents can come, eat, and drop off their items for donation while learning about where you're going to donate items and why. Then the CARES Team takes items for donation.
    • Choose an organization you would like to donate things to, plan a trip one Saturday morning, and invite residents to come with you to the organization to donate their items. This could be for individuals that want a receipt for their donations.
       
  6. Make Care Kits for the Homeless.
    • CARES Team purchases supplies and hosts an event where residents come together to help "build" kits for homeless individuals.
      • You could follow this event up with one to distribute to homeless individuals in your community or make it all one event.
      • Distribute a list of kit items to your residents for them to purchase, invite them to bring their items to your "building" event where you assemble kits as a group and then go hand out.
         
  7. Make a jar of hearts for someone special
    • This would make a great gift giving activity - serving those we love with kind words.
    • Great for kids!
       
  8. Pass It On
    • Organize a community night out at a local restaurant. Let residents know that there will be an opportunity for them to pool money and buy the meal of the table sitting next to you guys.
    • Contribute to or pay the bill of the person behind you in the check-out line at the grocery store.
      • Organize a group grocery store trip where this is your group's only mission - to "pass it on" by contributing to or purchasing the groceries of the person behind/in front of them.
         
  9. Pick up trash in your neighborhood.
    • Organize a "Pick Up Our Place" event where neighbors come out on a Saturday afternoon to help pick up trash around the neighborhood. You could provide gloves, grabbers, and bags - or encourage residents to bring their own.
    • Great for kids!
       
  10. Deliver Meals on Wheels as a group.
     
  11. Make Chemo Care Packages for a local oncology center.
    • Contact a local oncology center to determine their needs (confirming that they actually need what's listed in this link, or determining different needs).
    • Host a Care Package Construction party. CARES Teams can provide supplies or distribute a list and have residents bring their own supplies.
    • Host an event to go hand out kits to patients or just to drop them off at the center.
       
  12. Contact a local foster care agency and make care packages for their children.
    • Often children arrive at the center with nothing and have great needs.
    • Determine local needs and host a "Care Packages for Orphans" event where you come together, eat, and put together packages.
    • You can supply items for packages or tell residents to bring their own (depending on your budget).
    • Deliver the care packages and think about asking your local center if they need any volunteers for anything else (cleaning, yard work, painting, etc.).
       
  13. Write letters and send care packages to service men and women.

(Lots of these ideas came from Pennies of Time & FeelsLikeHome and then got a CARES spin.)

Would you like more information about the CARES Program and what we offer? Visit our website today. You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.