This time of year can easily be criticized as being too commercial with too much emphasis on spending money and shopping. Although these critics may be right to a certain extent, they’re also wrong, because at this time of year, more than any other, charities and organizations offer so many opportunities to give back to the less fortunate. The wonderful thing is that people, companies, associations, and groups do give back at this time of year, helping many at a time when it means the most. Are you giving back this year? Is your company? How can you learn about these opportunities?
Whether you live in a big city or a suburban neighborhood, there are tons of opportunities right in your local community to help out. You can even present the idea to your company, if they aren’t already doing something. Sell them on the fact that giving back is important – and if that doesn’t work, describe to those decision makers the good PR that could come from it.
For example, here at New American Funding we are partnering with an organization called Families Uniting Families in order to provide underprivileged children with toys from their wish list. Our whole company is split up into teams, and each team has a family’s wish list they are responsible for. This is the third year we are participating in this Toy Drive.
Other good examples are eBay and Kraft. During this holiday season eBay has set up two window displays in New York and San Francisco with toys that come to life when their QR tag is scanned online. When someone buys this virtual toy they are making a donation to Toys for Tots. This year Kraft is continuing their campaign Huddle to Fight Hunger. When Facebook users “Like” the Fight Hunger fan page and play a quick trivia game, Kraft donates money towards meals at local food banks. When fans enter their zip codes, the donations will go to food banks in their areas.
If your company isn’t keen on the idea, but you still are, grab a few family members, some friends or coworkers and participate in a toy drive, serve food at a shelter, or adopt a family in need. Here are a few resources to help get you started.
Local to Orange County (our home base)
1. The County of Orange invites volunteers to help with special projects that benefit many programs serving the local community. They offer many holiday volunteer opportunities.
2. OneOC is an organization committed to helping Orange County nonprofits achieve their goals. They match volunteers up with nonprofits in order to build a stronger county.
3. Volunteer Match is an organization that connects volunteers with good causes throughout the nation.
4. Holiday Project brings the holiday spirit to those who would not otherwise experience it. They support local chapters in visiting people confined to nursing homes, hospitals and bringing them holiday cheer.
5. ”ServiceNation is a campaign to increase service opportunities and elevate service as a core ideal and problem-solving strategy in our society.”
6. Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief charity. They feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of food banks and get people involved in the fight to end hunger.