Advice: How to give back this holiday season

The holiday season is truly the perfect time to give back. As we open our gifts and spend time with family, it can be hard to not feel bad for the children and families who won't be smiling at all this Christmas.

If you want an opportunity to give back, here is a list of five ways to help your community this holiday season.

1. Visit a nursing home.
Especially at this time of the year, nursing home residents start to think about the fact that no one comes to visit them over the holidays. You don't have to know the residents, just talking to them is all they could ever want for Christmas. Visiting them, and maybe giving them a gift too, can make them so happy. Contact your local nursing home to request a visit.

2. Volunteer at a food bank or donate to a food bank.
Do you love the food that comes along with the holidays? You might, but there are millions of people who won't have any holiday feast or Christmas cookies this year. Typically around the holidays, food banks are in need of volunteers to help make and serve their annual Christmas feast, which is the perfect opportunity to help people out. But if you can't make it to the food bank, donating lots of canned and instant foods to your local food bank could easily feed a few families this Christmas.

3. Buy a homeless family presents.
To really make someone's holiday a lot brighter, contact your local homeless shelter and ask for a family who has kids and isn't supposed to receive any presents this year. Ask them if you can buy the family presents to put under the tree. Then, go shopping with your family to buy toys, clothes, school supplies, blankets, winter clothing, and kitchen supplies for the family. Only a few presents can go a long way. If you can't afford fancy items, a few toys from Five Below could make a homeless child insanely happy. Wrap the presents nicely, and deliver the surprise to the family.

4. Donate toys, treats, food, and blankets to an animal shelter.
Ever think about the animals? Animals can be just as sad as people, even if they don't know what Christmas really is. By donating toys and treats to any animal shelter, you can make a few more tails wag this holiday season. Being a dog person myself, I know that donating to an animal shelter is the perfect way to spread more holiday cheer.

5. Donate winter clothing to a homeless shelter.
Every year, you tend to buy new winter hats, coats, and gloves in preparation for the upcoming winter temperatures. So why not donate your old winter gear to a family who may be freezing this holiday season? Not only can you clear out your closets, but you can make another family smile. Look around your community for a winter coat drive, which tend to occur all winter long.

By Olivia Sullivan, LS News reporter

The opinions of the stated author does not constitute an official position of the Lampeter-Strasburg School District or of the LS News editorial board.

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