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Giving Back to the Community

Giving Back to the Community

'Tis the season of giving. Have you ever wondered how you can make a difference over the holidays? Are you low on available funds but want to give back this holiday season?  Or maybe you're strapped for time and you're not sure how you can help within the craziness of the holidays. These are some of the same questions that I have been asking myself and now I would like to share a few tips that I have learned during this season of giving.

Benefits of Giving

There are many benefits of giving at any point in time throughout the year but there is something special about giving over the holidays. It's easy to get lost in the craziness of shopping, preparing for family events, and traveling over the holidays. At first it may seem overwhelming to add another task to your to-do list however the feeling you experience while making a difference in someone else's life is quite the opposite. I recently volunteered at a local transitional shelter to prepare the home for the holidays and once I arrived on location and began to work there was an instant feeling of emotional satisfaction. We worked as a company team to clean, sanitize and garden at one of the Mercy House transitional shelters that was home for 20 homeless men and veterans in our community. Being there I had a sense of purpose and I felt appreciation, gratitude, compassion, and joy for the work that I was doing. Not only was I making a difference in their lives but I believe the experience made a major difference in my life as well. The many emotions that you feel when giving your time, resources or various donations are without words.

Not only do you personally experience an emotional fulfillment but also imagine the psychological benefits of the individuals on the receiving end of your generosity. Picture the child's face when they receive a toy this Christmas or the homeless enjoying a hot meal on a winter day or a family having money to pay their bills this month and picture the impact that you can have on their lives. For me, the impact that I can have makes all of the difference and it becomes easier to set aside my holiday to-do list and take action. You never know how much of an impact you can make with the smallest amount of kindness.

Beyond the emotional gratification of giving back to the community over the holidays there could also be tax benefits for you as the year comes to an end. Credit Sesame refers to making charitable contributions as one of the 5 moves you should make before 2014. Providing to charities before the year some comes to a close may help you lower your tax liability when properly documented. Be sure to consult your tax professional for more information.

Ways to Give

When you think of giving it's easy to instantly think of a limitation that you may face with the act of giving, you are not alone as this was my initial thought as well. Here is a great list of the ways that you can give today:

  • Monetary Contributions: Giving funds to a charity helps provide them with the resources that they need to operate and it gives them the ability to use the funds as they see fit for their non-profit. Be sure to check out Charity Navigator for more information on what questions to ask before donating.
  • Offering Your Time/Skills: If you are low on available funds a one great way to give is to donate your time or skills to help a local non-profit with their efforts. Check out a volunteer matching  website to help find the best volunteer opportunity for you and your family.
  • Donations: Another way to give this holiday season it to simply donate items that you already have in your home such as clothes, cars, toys, etc. Why not make it a family tradition each year to clean out closets and storage spaces and take a trip to your local Goodwill or any other organization of your choice that accepts item donations?

Impact of Giving

What you do makes a difference for yourself, others and for the community as a whole. I encourage everyone to give back this holiday season and be that hope for someone in need. No matter how you give, every little bit counts and working together on mission of giving this holiday season 2013 can help pave a way for a brighter future.

How low will your payment be?