During this time of giving, there are great ways to make a meaningful impact to help all those in need. Programs, like those I referenced in an earlier post this month, are just some ways to help make the world a happier place. However, there is more joy to be spread, so if you are looking to give back in San Diego or around the country, check out the following suggestions for a jolly holiday season.
Feeding Our Families and Fulfilling Holiday Hopes
Who doesn’t love digging into a warm feast or opening presents during the holidays? Of course, these small pleasures hinge on whether or not you are fortunate enough to be able to afford warm meals and gifts to give, which is a reality for far too many San Diegans. Consider volunteering your time this holiday or donating meals to those in need. Further, donations of new or even lightly used toys and clothes, passes to the zoo or museums, and/or gift cards that can be used for food and home goods are some of the things that can mean the world to those that may otherwise be left in the cold this holiday season.
Giving Back to Those Without Warm Meals
The San Diego Food Bank needs your help this December in helping feed those in need. Whether you have time to clean and package fresh produce, inspect and sort food donations, or assemble food care packages for those living without the ability to afford a trip to the grocery store, your time is of high value. Volunteers ages 11 and older are welcome to help make wishes come true with the SD Food Bank, so please consider signing up for a shift and ensuring there are no growling stomachs this season. More information on how to volunteer, available shifts and duties, and where to volunteer can be found here.
Hope for Holiday Wishlists
Can you remember making lists of what you were wishing for during the holidays? Maybe you filled out those Toys-R-Us fliers with your top gift ideas, dreaming for a new Lego set, Easy Bake kit, or board game. Though you may have ended up getting one or two or all of the things on your list year to year, for those without the funds, those wishes never reach realization. That’s where you can step in and help give the gift of joy. Charities and organizations like the Ronald McDonald House and Social Advocates for Youth in San Diego are looking for San Diegans to do a little extra shopping this holiday to pick out some gifts that have been put on their wish lists. Clothes, games, books, trips to visit museums and shows, gift cards, toys, baby supplies, and other things make up a smattering of the requested items and it can take a city to ensure everyone has a joyous holiday.
Helping out Service Members and Vets
To those that joined me and thousands around the country in laying wreaths on the graves of veterans that have passed on, thank you for your warm and generous contributions and time! It is through the dedication of everyone around us that we are able to make service program ambitions a reality. If you still have the itch to lend a helping hand in making the holidays bright, there are three ways you can lend aid. From care packages to our deployed troops to supporting family members at home to shopping at military-spouse owned businesses, these are just a few ideas for all you secret Santas.
Holiday Care Packages
Gestures of kindness can come in tiny envelopes or big boxes. You can send the love overseas with programs through the Department of Defense that help you send care packages to our troops while they are deployed. By providing some cheer from home, you can help make this holiday season special even for those whose duty comes before being home with their families. With gift suggestions and a localized address for distribution, it is easy to make a donation to put smiles on the faces of those who may simply need a few dollars to call home for the holidays. Do you know any troops deployed who may be left out during the gift-giving season? Troops can also request care packages for specific goods. For more information on how to help and where to send your gifts, click here.
Resources for the Holidays
The holidays should be a time for smiles and full bellies, but this isn’t the reality for many of our local service members, veterans, and their families. Through organizations like Soldiers’ Angels, you can help adopt a service member, veteran, and/or their family for the holidays (including those that are currently deployed) by providing them with gift cards and other resources to ensure everyone has a merry December. Additionally, organizations like Hearts of Patriots work to ensure caregivers, spouses, and partners of our veterans living with PTSD have a happy holiday. If you are interested in adopting PTSD caregivers this season, you can find more about how to do so here.
Supporting Military Spouses This Holiday Season
Still doing your holiday shopping and want to double up on supporting your military families at the same time? This list of businesses can help you find just what you are looking for. A compilation of spouse-owned shops, cafes, and boutiques, local listed businesses in your area are great places to invest in for your holiday presents and your military families.
Pet Parents to the Rescue
Humans aren’t the only ones needing your help this holiday season. Shelter animals are also in need of supplies, and this season is the perfect time to make some tails wag. There are plenty of ways to help needy animals during December and programs through the San Diego Humane Society and non-profit Not a Monster are here to give you ways to help out. Toys, treats, blankets, and sheets can turn an anxious cat or pup into a purring ball of fur or waggy puddle of cuddles. By donating suitable items, purchasing things through an Amazon WishList, or donating money or gift cards, pet lovers everywhere can make the Monster Holiday Drive a success. Looking to make a smaller-scale donation and are feeling crafty? The Humane Society needs enrichment and comfort items for their dogs this season, and your artistic talents can be put to great use. Old shirts, twine, or even PVC pipes can be used to create meaningful gifts for bored dogs and anxious puppies waiting for adoption through this awesome holiday toy and treat guide. Donations are accepted daily, so don’t miss out on helping these animals who could use your love and support.
Have a happy and safe holiday season my fellow San Diegans!