Spreading the Holiday Cheer by Giving Back
For today’s Motivation Monday, I want to talk about giving back. Volunteering in my community has always been incredibly important to me. In prior lives, I have coached at Girls on the Run, volunteered at a children’s hospital, tutored GED students, worked across the country/world for Habitat for Humanity, run races for charities, worked as a volunteer counselor at amazing camps for children with terminal illnesses, organized blood and marrow drives, started a 5K for another camp for children with cancer … the list goes on, but I’ll stop boring you. The point is that I’ve spent a LOT of time volunteering, quite simply because I love it. I love seeing people smile because of something I did, just as much as I love the feeling that I get when I’m finished and know that I helped others. Yes, it could be considered selfish to volunteer in order to get something out of it for yourself, but it’s also helping others, so I feel fine about it!
Recently, I haven’t had (or made) enough time to volunteer regularly, but I still find ways to give back. Some people have time, some people have money, some people have passion, others have something unique to offer … but everyone can do SOMETHING. While Kevin and I try to donate in small amounts throughout the year, we have started the tradition of making larger donations at Christmas to two causes we care about – diabetes research (through the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund) and ALS research (through the ALS Association). Both of these causes have affected my family deeply, and it means a lot to us to make these Christmas donations. (picture source)
I really encourage you to find a way to give back this holiday season (or whatever time of year feels best to you!). It certainly doesn’t have to involve money or a long-term commitment. Here are a few ideas:
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, church, temple, or other similar organization
- Donate blood, or sign up to be an organ donor or a marrow donor
- At the grocery store, the gas pump, or other retailer, pay for your items and those of the person behind you
- Go through your closet and select any items you haven’t worn in at least a year to donate … or donate books, old kitchen items, unused electronics, or even worn running shoes!
- Offer to help a friend prepare for a job interview, pack up boxes in a move, watch the dog when they’re out of town, or whatever else they need at the moment
- Cook an extra meal for a busy neighbor
- Commit to raising money for a cause during your next race
- Head to an animal shelter to see if there are dogs that need to be walked
- Give a Christmas gift of a donation to WorldVision … my sister gave me a donation of fruit trees and Kevin some soccer balls last year. Of course, we don’t actually get these gifts, but they’re donated to those in need. I thought this gift was the perfect balance between meaningful and personal
- Leave an Operation Beautiful note
- Volunteer your time with one of these organizations
- Check out these online ways to donate money (without actually giving any cash of your own)
- And here are 25 other ways to give back with little to no money!
(I can’t believe I’m using a quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it’s a good one! … picture source)
So tell me in the comments … what is your favorite way to give back? Do you have a cause that’s near and dear to your heart? (PS – depending on how the next few days ago, I may take a day off from blogging on Wednesday … but I’ll be back on Friday!)