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Volunteer as a Family this Holiday Season

It’s that time of year again where the world is colder but hearts seem to be warmer as people are preparing for the holidays. It’s a time to come together with family and friends and share food and laughter, but why not share those times while also helping others? This year, try to find a way to work together and give back to the community and those in need.

Donate: Pick a charity to donate to as a family so everyone feels more involved, and then set donation goals to add motivation. Have your kids go through their old clothes, toys, and other things that never get used and have them choose things to donate. Take them shopping to buy presents to donate to Toys for Tots, or have them designate a piggy bank for money to be donated.

Create: Get the kids together and have them make cards to those in your community who deserve a little extra love this season. Make an afternoon of it and invite your children’s friends to join in. Craft thank you cards to bring to the local fire department, police station, or to any local volunteers seen out in the cold or at the front door of various shelters. Deliver homemade cards to nursing homes or to a homeless shelter or hospital. If you plan far enough ahead you can even send some overseas to our troops who deserve a little holiday cheer.

Go Out: Many charities and organizations throw benefit events that the whole family can participate in. Concerts, dinners, mini festivals, and races are usually sponsored either by a charitable organization, or by a company intending to use the money for charity. Go out as a family and spend a little time and money having fun and supporting a good cause.

Get Your Hands Dirty: If you have older kids, look into Habitat for Humanity. The charity takes volunteers as young as 16 (18 to use power tools) to help build affordable housing for low-income families. They have people available to teach you, so don’t worry about not being overly construction-savvy. If you have younger kids, try looking into local trash pick-up or adopt a highway projects and spend an afternoon cleaning up your community.

Puppy Love: Don’t forget about all the fluffy little guys who also deserve your help this season. If you don’t have the lifestyle to foster a pet of your own, look into helping out at an animal shelter this season as many of them will be in need of temporary help. Also look and see if any of the shelters in your area are in need of food, toys, or other pet supplies items that you could provide. Take the whole family when you drop off the donations and briefly visit all the four-legged friends who will benefit from your kindness.