Wednesday, November 17, 2010

'Tis the Season to Give

So finally in my  neck of the woods, snow is beginning to fall and stay on the ground.  People are putting their lights up on their houses and the inflatable Christmas blow-ups are all around.  Yup, the countdown for Christmas is on!

Christmas is about giving-we all know that, but I think sometimes we focus on things that are too materialistic and too "big" for what the season is really about.  I think we focus on ourselves and not a lot on people out there who are struggling.

So while the economy has definitely changed things for some of us, there are a lot of ways that you can give back to help others without even realizing it.  Consider some of these options, whether just for Christmas or year-round.

1.  Cartridges and Cell Phones

You might not know it, but if you're throwing these out, you're throwing out money.  For the amount of product needed to get some cash back is unrealistic for the average joe, there are great organizations out there collecting these.  In my hometown alone, I know of two locations:  the local library and the Special Ed program at P.C.I.  If you donate to the library, money that is raised gets put towards new materials for the library.  If you donate to the high school special ed program, money is raised for new equipment for challenged students.  Both are awesome programs.

Agencies involved in the recyclable program include:
But if you look around and ask around, you might be able to find more as well.

 2.  Thrift Stores

The Canadian Diabetes Foundation collects items to sell to Value Village, all of which they will pick up from your doorstep.  Simply phone them and make arrangements.  As well, MCCs of Canada collect donations in which their proceeds go directly towards projects around the world-clean water, clothing projects, housing, education, etc.  Getting involved and donating things you no longer use is an awesome way of teaching kids that it's good to give to others, especially as they're looking forward to new toys.

3.  Hampers and shoe boxes

Whether it's filling a shoe box for a needy child or donating items to a hamper, it's a great way to get involved.  Shoe boxes are done through schools and chuches-and are usually collected at this time of the year.  Hampers can be school or community filled.  North Memorial School in Portage does hampers each year for needy families.  Items can be used, but in great shape.  General items usually taken include candy, clothing, food, games, toys, jewellry, shoes, etc.  You can support them by donating these items or cash, and if you really want to get involved, take on a whole hamper to yourself for the family whereby you're assigned a hamper and told the ages of all the family members.  I've personally delivered one and it's amazing how much that hamper means to the children. 

4.  Give donations as gifts
With your family and friend's tastes in mind, make a donation on behalf of them.  You can specialize it anyway you want.  One of my favorites is World Vision's Gift Catalogue-gifts range from about $10 and up and they will send out cards to the recipient of your gift saying what was purchased for them. 

I've done World Vision numerous times, and not only do I feel good, but it usually means a lot to the people I'm giving to.

So, now that you've got ideas, what's your plan on giving back???

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