During this season of giving, you can find many
ways to help others in need, especially through local charities or
One suggestion in the article “20 Ways to Give Back This Christmas”
is to “Ask around in your community, work, or church to see if there
is a family with a particular need that you might fulfill. Perhaps
there’s an elderly woman who just needs help keeping her driveway
shoveled this year. Perhaps it’s a family who otherwise won’t have
groceries this month. Whether it’s things or service, there is bound
to be someone near you who could use some help, and there is bound
to be some way you can help them.”
Check with a local church or organization to see if there are some
families who are in financial straits and unable to provide much for
Christmas, then “adopt” the family by providing food, gifts, and
other basic needs they may have during the holidays. It can even be
done anonymously. Either way, it will likely make an impact.
Audrey McClelland in her blog on “25 Ways to Spread Cheer and Give
Back During the Holiday Season” says, “During the holidays there’s
always requests for coats and gloves and hats.” You can donate these
items to a local church, school, or organization such as Community
Action to be distributed to those in need.
Donating hats, coats, and gloves, as well as thermal underwear or
blankets to homeless shelters in the nearby cities like Peoria,
Springfield, and Bloomington would help shelters supply needs. The
shelters are also likely to have need for year-round supplies like
paper products and toiletries, especially at the holidays.
Consider making up a blessing bag with personal hygiene items and a
few snacks to hand out to those in need.
Put together a bag with a couple outfits, sippy cups or bottles, and
diapers, which the local organization Fostering Grace can give to
the Center for Youth and Family Solutions for new foster parents.
Choose a name from an Angel Tree and have the family help pick out
gifts the child has requested.
Donate toys to the “Toys for Tots” foundation, which helps children
who have been abused.
Pack a shoebox full of gifts for children that Operation Christmas
Child will distribute all over the world who otherwise might not get
Put together a care package to send to a soldier who might not get
to be with family at the holidays filled with holiday treats and
other items the soldier might not have access to overseas.
If you are a pet lover consider taking homemade dog biscuits, cat
and dog food, pet toys, or blankets to the Humane Society or Logan
County Animal Shelter. These donations along with monetary gifts
help provide care for the animals.
Give blood if you are eligible. There is more need at the holidays
and your donation might help save a life.
For families looking for volunteer opportunities, there are various
ways to serve.
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Sign up to ring the bell for the Salvation Army Red
Kettle campaign. The money raised through this campaign helps the
Salvation Army assist many people during the holidays and beyond.
Volunteer at the local food pantry. Donating food, money, or paper
products is appreciated, but food pantries also need volunteers to
pick up, store, organize, and stock the shelves.
Sometimes the way to help others is through simply
giving of your time. One way to give your time at the holidays is to
visit lonely people. The whole family can visit a neighbor or family
member who lives alone and ask about ways you might help them.
There are numerous concerts, pageants, and holiday celebrations in
the schools, churches, and senior centers. Joining in large
festivities is a great way to enhance your Christmas spirit, and
taking some less involved person as your guest can be a great gift.
Families could also visit a local nursing home and bring some extra
cheer to the lives of lonely residents by singing carols, playing
games, or doing puzzles with the residents.
You may also know someone facing their first Christmas without a
recently deceased love one, so you could visit that person and share
tears as the departed one is remembered, discussing how the deceased
appreciated Christmas. Ask if there will be any special remembrance
of this person at Christmas. You may even offer to help put up
decorations as grieving people may not be inclined to decorate.
It is easy to become wrapped up in the busyness and stress of the
holidays but finding ways to help those in need during the holiday
season can bring them cheer and will often brighten your holiday at
the same time.
Center for Youth and Family Solutions
2100 W. Fifth Street Lincoln
Toys for Tots
Toy Distribution Date December 14,2018
Operation Christmas Child | Shoebox Ministry - Samaritan's Purse