*The views expressed in this post are of my opinion.
We’re in holiday crunch time now with just two weeks until Christmas! Many of us are still juggling holiday gift purchases, attending holiday parties/events, braving crowds for the kids to see Santa, planning holiday menus, and so forth! It’s easy to let donating and gift giving to the needy fall to the bottom of the list, but I’ve found some ways for our own family to make sure we give during the holiday season that are easy and take little to no time at all! I thought I’d share some top ways to give in case you are a busy mom or dad yourself trying to squeeze everything in, but still want to make sure you are helping another family enjoy the holiday season.
You will notice many options on the list simply require internet, a known donation address, some money, and the click of a button. We are fortunate to live in modern times where giving truly can be this simple & you can still involve your kids. Read on to learn how.
Amazon to the rescue!
Did you know many hospitals and non profits (such as shelters, food banks, etc) create Amazon wish lists you can shop directly off of? This is one of the easiest ways to give and to make sure you are giving items in need. You can even have your children review the list with you and pick out the items you wish to purchase. Simply follow online purchasing options and the items will be directly shipped to the organization. No fuss with mailing anything yourself and you can do it all from the comfort of your own home (you’ll see this a running theme here). So look up one of your favorite places, maybe it’s a local hospital or charity group you know of and ask if they have a wish list, most likely they do.
Shipping Address trick!
So maybe where you wish to donate doesn’t have a specific wish list (as noted in #1). No biggie. You can shop online anywhere and have items shipped to a location of your choice (fire stations, hospitals, churches, etc.). Last year, our family missed the Toys for Tots donation at school, so I just ordered items off Amazon, called our local fire department and asked if I could have them shipped there to be donated. They arrived in time and the fire station took care of the rest. You can look up participating locations on toys for tots here https://www.toysfortots.org/request_toys/Default.aspx. It’s always best to call or email the shipping site first to check cut off dates and confirm address.
Surprise, surprise! Another online, click of a button, and you can have non-perishable food items delivered to almost any local food bank, pantry, church, etc. that collects food for the holidays (and really all year round). Again, have the kids sit down with you and they can help pick out items, and it can lend to a great discussion on giving. If you can’t get to a food bank to volunteer this is a great option to help stock them with food and supplies.
Have the time, but small budget?
Any dollar store is a great resource to give plenty and on a small budget. Our girl scout troop is sending toys and goodies to our local children’s hospital and each girl is bringing in a $1 to purchase the toy to send. That’s basically tooth fairy money and is a simple way to involve kids in giving! This is a great option for families also on a budget. Fill up a basket at the dollar store of coloring books, toy cars, and dolls, some socks, stuffed animals - and for as little as $10 you can have a nice box of toys to donate to kids and families in need of some help for Christmas. And don’t forget, you can shop for food banks at the Dollar store too, where they sell many non-perishable foods and household supplies.
Think beyond toys and food!
A lot of people focus on toys and food around the holidays for giving, but there are many other items in need across hospitals and shelters. Women’s shelters are always in need of feminine products, diapers for babies, formula, clothing, and hygiene products. Many organizations also simply need money to help support their staff, their utilities for the buildings they run, to purchase immediate supplies when an emergency situation pops up, and so on. So, if a check or online monetary donation is more your style then there is certainly a place for that kind of giving.
I hope these have given you some ideas on how to give this holiday season if you haven’t already, and it really is so easy to give even for a busy family. Teaching our younger generations the importance of giving is crucial when so many are in need. Being too busy cannot be an excuse to miss out on this opportunity and not just for the holidays, but all year round. I'm a guilty parent of giving my kids too much...many of us parents are that are fortunate enough to do so - but with simple efforts noted above we can ensure our kids know the value of things, understand they are fortunate, and ultimately learn that giving to others is truly the best gift of all.
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season of love, merriment, and giving.
*Affiliated links are included in this post for which I receive compensation for from any sales.