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5 Easy Ways

to Give Back This Holiday Season by Rachel Stewart

Tis the season to celebrate and reconnect with loved ones, but it’s also the perfect time to give to causes close to your heart. Giving back won’t just impact your community, but it has a direct correlation to your health. University of Exeter researchers found that people who volunteered increased their longevity by 20 percent, compared to those that didn’t. And if you’re giving back along with other family members, you’re teaching one of the most important life lessons: kindness. Here are five ways you can serve your community and help others in big ways at little to no cost. 1. Give your time. Wrapping presents, serving a meal or building something — these are all examples of activities you can do during the holidays to help others. Your time is valuable to many volunteer organizations this time of year, so look for places that may need help in the winter months, including soup kitchens, homeless shelters or Habitat for Humanity. Keep an eye on events or calls for help on the news or your local newspaper. 2. Encourage others to give online. Fundraising is easy as logging into Facebook, especially if you’re wanting to support a national nonprofit organization. Just click the “Fundraisers” link under the “Explore” sidebar menu and then you can choose from a large selection of causes, including supporting arts and culture, education, international concerns, community and social action or animals. Once you’ve decided what you want to support, you can set how much you want to raise and how long you want the fundraiser to run. Then you can invite friends to donate. At the end of the fundraiser, all the funds are automatically donated to the charity. 3. Make a food donation box. Food banks typically take a hit during the winter months, so consider keeping a box on your counter for canned food or shelf stable food donations, such as dried pasta, rice, beans, or lentils. You could challenge family members to help you fill your donation box by a specific date or have them make their own. Once it’s full, deliver it to your local food bank or other public drop off point. Looking for another way to assist your local food bank? Other non-food donation ideas could include coats, gloves, and hats to keep people warm during the colder months.

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4. Raise your voice. Whether you love singing in your church choir or in the shower, there’s no better way to bring that holiday cheer to all than by singing carols. Consider having a few friends go from door to door in your neighborhood to sing a few of the season’s favorite songs. Weather frightful? Invite friends, family or next door neighbors over to sing instead. This has a whole host of health benefits, including boosting the immune system and lowering stress levels. 5. Roll up your sleeve. The American Red Cross estimates that one blood donation can save up to three lives. Consider dropping into a blood drive with your loved ones and give the gift of life. If you’re a regular donor, you could encourage others to go with you the next time you make an appointment. If you have health concerns, discuss with your physician before donating blood.

Giving locally by Corbie Hill

Want to give locally, whether to a nonprofit within North Carolina or to one within your county? Here are a handful of ideas, though they are only a smattering of the many worthwhile nonprofits within North Carolina.

Profile for OutreachNC magazine

OutreachNC December 2018  

The Trading Traditions Issue

OutreachNC December 2018  

The Trading Traditions Issue