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! megan taylor blakeBack Camera Back Camera

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. Making-a-Difference-300x300(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!

public service(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!)

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9 Comments

  1. Karen on December 23, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Yes indeed – your family has been so touched and appreciated your kindness and generosity with repeated donations to JDRF and ALS……as both charities have significant importance to our family.
    And your volunteer work has ALWAYS been noticed…..even back in high school when you were President of the Habitat chapter and slept in cardboard boxes for 3 nights to raise awareness of the homeless. You continue to do ALOT for others even with your demanding career.
    Enough soap box from “the Mom.” 🙂

    • Megan Lyons on December 30, 2013 at 11:15 am

      Thank you so much for your support, as always, Mom. Even if you’re the only one noticing my volunteer work, your pride in me makes all the difference in the world!

  2. Michael Anderson on December 23, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I think I mentioned it here and definitely on my blog, but on Christmas morning we will be out delivering gifts for kids who would otherwise get nothing. It really puts things in perspective – and allows us to help financially, then with organization, and finally distribution. Wonderfully satisfying.

    Also through work my group does a shop & wrap ‘adopt a family’, this year for a single mom with 5 kids whose husband died overseas without even meeting the youngest baby. Tragic … just glad we could help.

    Everyone has different things that touch them, and different abilities to give, so the whole thing is just to do whatever you can. If it makes you feel better? Bonus!
    Michael Anderson recently posted…9.75 mile Hill/Speed Mix and 5 Things I Want to Do Over the BreakMy Profile

    • Megan Lyons on December 30, 2013 at 11:18 am

      Michael, you and your family are truly amazing. Thank you for giving back in such a meaningful way this Christmas! WOW on the family you sponsored this year – I just have no words. How generous of you all to give their Christmas season some light.

  3. Arman @ thebigmansworld on December 24, 2013 at 3:25 am

    While others were butterflies or statues in their past life, look what you were doing 😉

    Jokes aside, you have a heart of gold- Something REALLY rare in today’s day and age. I’ve mentioned to you about the Sydney move, but I’m definitely hoping to help out somewhere- Either the Indigenous Australian community or a soup kitchen or something similar!

    If I don’t speak to you before Wednesday, Have a GREAT much deserved Christmas break 🙂
    Arman @ thebigmansworld recently posted…From me to you- Merry ChristmasMy Profile

    • Megan Lyons on December 30, 2013 at 11:18 am

      I can’t wait to hear what you decide to do in Sydney, Arman! Whatever it is, I know that your efforts will pay off for both you and those you help. Excited for you!

  4. GiGi Eats Celebrities on December 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    OMG I love you even more for your efforts!!!!! 🙂 Have a merry merry XMAS 🙂
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted…Gluten-Free: Not You Too Santa!My Profile

    • Megan Lyons on December 30, 2013 at 11:19 am

      Thank you, Gigi! I hope your Christmas was wonderful as well!

  5. […] also have so many other wonderful things going for me – my health, my family, my friends, my ability to give back, and especially my incredibly supportive husband, who has never once doubted me or thought I was […]

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