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Giving Back for the Holidays (by SarKastic )

 The holidays are a very special time of the year. A time for friends, family, fun, and giving. Unfortunately, not everyone in the world has the same privileges. Some are left homeless or unable to afford gifts or a good meal and it can be especially hard for them this time of the year. That's where you come in! While you may not be able to solve every problem or make everyone happy, you're sure able to help in some way or another and make a difference! It could even be as small as buying someone a coffee or offering to help your mom/dad cook dinner. In the end, the holidays are about love (I know, super corny) and I'm going to help you with a few ways you can spread the love this year! 

Not everyone can afford to donate money, and that's ok! If you happen to have a little extra, here are a few ways you can help out!

Operation Christmas Child:
OCC is ran by Samaritans Purse, a world wide relief organization. It was started in the UK in 1990 by Dave and Jill Cooke who partnered with Samaritans Purse 3 years later. Their goal is to provide shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items to children effected by war, poverty, etc who may not be able to have these things otherwise. I remember doing this in school a few years and everyone would bring something to add to the shoebox. It really felt rewarding and when we heard back from the people we sent the shoebox to, it really felt like we made a difference. Here's a link to the website if you are interested in taking part. The link takes you to the US site, but there are sites for your respective countries if you do a quick google search.

World Wildlife Fund
While not exactly holiday centered, the WWF is still an important charity to consider this holiday season. For as little as 3 Euro a month, you can adopt an animal and help protect them and their habitats, especially the ones that are under threat. Adopting an animal makes for a great Christmas gift. When you adopt an animal, you have a wide variety of different animals to choose from. For purpose of research, I picked the Jaguar as they are currently under threat. Not only do you get the satisfaction of knowing you are helping to save said Jaguar, you also receive a plush animal, a "fact pack" which has stickers and bookmarks about Jaguar facts, and regular updates on how your money is being put to use. Don't buy another gift card this year, buy them a turtle or a leopard instead!

Local Gift Giving Charities
There are many people living locally that need your help during the holidays as well, and many cities offer programs to help that you can donate to! For example, in our malls we usually have a small Christmas tree set up with tags hanging from it. Each tag has the age and gender of a child, but no name as it's anonymous and safe. All you have to do is pick a tag, buy some kind of gift that is age appropriate, and put it in the big box that's beside the tree. Our gifts go to the Salvation Army, which then makes various gift packs for the kids of the families that have signed up. I have volunteered a couple years with making those gift packs and it's so nice to think of how they will react when they open them and see what they got. 

Alternatively, check with your local hospital. Usually they will have some sort of charity running around that time, whether it's by donation of money or gifts for the children that have to stay in the hospital for the holidays. I remember having to be in the hospital one year and Santa came around and brought all the children little stuffed animals and it just made it so much easier to be there. Our local hospital has the Tree of Light. You buy a bulb on the giant tree out front and it lights a new light on it. It's amazing to see the amount of people who donate by the end of the Holidays, and usually in memory of a loved one. 
You don't have to have money to help make a difference, all you need is time. There are many local places that may need help around the holidays. While most depend on the city and area you live in and are therefore different for everyone, I'll give you a few examples to start off with!

Soup Kitchen/Homeless Shelter
Being homeless is terrible, and the holidays can make it even worse. Volunteering at the local soup kitchen/homeless shelter can really help make a small difference in their life and maybe give them a spark of joy in this tough time of their life. A lot of homeless people are just having a rough patch and trying to get back on their feet. Take some time to help out in any way you can, whether it's serving food for dinner, helping set up/take down, or just being there and talking to people! Some have some amazing stories. I did my co-op in the mental health ward in grade 11 and made good friends with a man who was homeless. They all have interesting stories and sometimes just want someone to talk to. It takes very minimal effort to sit there and listen!

Retirement Homes
Growing old happens to everyone, and our elderly should not be forgotten during the holidays. A lot of retirement homes try to do a lot of activities during the this time to make them feel comfortable. While man of them have families that will visit them or bring them to their dinners, some don't have that luxury anymore and just want some company. Ask at your local retirement home what you can do to help. Sometimes they have special dinners you can help out with. One place I used to go would have regular singing/caroling days around December and everyone would join in and have a lot of fun. Even just sitting and talking with them will make their days. They grew up in a different time than us and have some wonderful stories if you take the time to listen. Double check with the staff before going though as some places may require you to have your flu shot or other preventative measures to make sure the people staying there don't get sick.

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Goudie690 wrote on 10-02 19:34:
Goudie690 wrote:
I like it
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MollyPolly wrote on 11-12 11:48:
MollyPolly wrote:
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Private wrote on 11-12 02:35:
Nanevane wrote:
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TogetherForever wrote on 09-12 06:12:
TogetherForever wrote:
This article is awesome! Love it!
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Antisocial wrote on 07-12 15:53:
Antisocial wrote:
The article is amazing <3
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Private wrote on 05-12 22:46:
Rochellette wrote:
So nice ways to enjoy the holidays! and share some love (l)
The layout is so beautiful
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Private wrote on 05-12 22:15:
Era wrote:
The whole article and layout are amazing! I really had a blast reading this 
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Pavlov wrote on 05-12 21:07:
Pavlov wrote:
can someone donate money to me pls i need new shoes
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SarKastic wrote on 05-12 21:04:
SarKastic wrote:
Brynhild wrote:
Thank you for this article, layout and text are very nice and interesting .

I permit myself to add that if you have old blankets or old plaids and want to make a donation for animals,  think about giving them to animal shelters. With winter and cold, they often need some .
Great idea! Tha k you :)
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Brynhild wrote on 05-12 20:58:
Brynhild wrote:
Thank you for this article, layout and text are very nice and interesting .

I permit myself to add that if you have old blankets or old plaids and want to make a donation for animals,  think about giving them to animal shelters. With winter and cold, they often need some .

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Focalin wrote on 05-12 20:55:
Focalin wrote:
I love the layout.
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Moss wrote on 05-12 20:54:
Moss wrote:
Love how the article turned out! In the future, I definitely want to support WWF, and tomorrow I'm making a christmas card at my uni that they will give to elderly homes and hospitals c:
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Private wrote on 05-12 20:07:
BloomCissi wrote:
This was a really nice article! I love the layout as well!
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Libertas wrote on 05-12 19:50:
Libertas wrote:
I love this article, both text and layout 
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DandelionMarie wrote on 05-12 19:30:
DandelionMarie wrote:
I absolutely 100% agree that the Christmas is about love!! Great post and a good reminder 
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Sirenita wrote on 05-12 19:07:
Sirenita wrote:
Nice post :)
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SarKastic wrote on 05-12 19:05:
SarKastic wrote:
Enjoy :)

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