Six Ways You Can Give Back This Holiday Season – And Why You Should

Garrett Cathcart   |   December 22, 2021

When you think of the holiday season, what comes to mind? Maybe you think of spending time with family, taking stock of the blessings in your life, or setting new goals for the coming year. But more than anything else, the holidays remind us that it is the season of giving.

Statistics show about 30% of all donations for nonprofits come during the month of December alone, and about 16% of adults volunteer at least 2 hours a month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. What better time to find your community niche, and create a plan to give back on a regular basis?

It probably comes as no surprise, but community service and volunteer work don’t just benefit the recipients of your care – it also has both mental and physical benefits for you. According to an AmeriCorps report, people who volunteer over 100 hours a year are some of the healthiest people in the U.S. Volunteers also have reduced anxiety and depression, and decrease the likelihood of high blood pressure development by as much as 40%.

At More Perfect Union, we believe that community service and giving back to your local community are key tools to build a better country for all. Volunteering can help us bond with our neighbors, establish common ground and shared values, and ultimately build stronger communities and improve our country.

So if you’re looking for a way to get involved in your community this holiday season, MPU has you covered. Below are six ways you can kick-start your process to give back:

  • Food Collection and Distribution. Serving and/or collecting food is one the most popular forms of volunteering – making up 24.2% of all volunteer hours. Local food banks are almost always seeking volunteers and donations – especially during the holiday season. Find your local food bank on the Feeding America website, and sign up for a shift!
  • Sponsor a Family. Local social services can set you up with a family in your area and help you come up with gifts that will help the family. Get the whole family involved by creating a care package chock full of warm clothes, toys for the kids, and maybe even some cookies they can leave out for Santa. If you’re in the Atlanta area, you can sign up to be matched with a family at Families First, a local nonprofit organization.
  • Check an Item Off Someone’s Wishlist. There are several organizations that work with local families in need to collect and distribute toys for their children to open this season. If you don’t know of an organization in your area, you can visit ToysForTots to find a local chapter in your area. They’ve distributed 604 million toys to date!
  • Help a Student Ace Their Finals. Tutoring also ranks in the top forms of volunteering. There are several ways that you can give back through education – you can help underserved Title I students learn to read, or help an adult student obtain their GED, or if you’re a computer whiz, you can even teach STEM to K-8 students.
  • Throw a Party That Gives Back. When you host your annual holiday party, ask guests to bring a small donation – a pair of mittens, non-perishable food item, toy, or other kind of charitable contribution will work. After the party is over, you’ll gather all of the guests’ donations and bring them to your local charity. Out: BYOB. In: BYOD.
  • Turn a Curse Into a Gift. We’ve all heard of “swear jars,” now they can be put to a family cause! If cursing isn’t your vice, there are dozens of ways to do this. Collect spare change throughout the year, challenge your kids to pick up extra chores and match their allowance – however you decide to gather your money, once the jar fills up: donate the sum to a cause you care about!

Visit VolunteerMatch to Find Opportunities Unique to Your Area. This list is far from comprehensive – if none of these options appeal to you, there are hundreds of ways you can give back to your community. Visit a volunteer database like VolunteerMatch to find countless opportunities in your own community! And keep an eye on us in 2022, MPU is starting up chapters to train talented leaders and bring volunteerism to the next level across America. Sign up for our email list now to hear about it first!