The holidays are a time we love to give. It is also a time where affordability and the expectations of the season, for many people, do not align. This creates the opportunity for families planning their holiday giving to get creative with the many ways we can help each other.
Start planning your holiday giving with a family conversation of who and how you might want to help. Animals, children, seniors, youth… Do you want to give a needed item, or spend time with others, or make and mail a greeting card? The possibilities are many – it depends on your time and interest.
Consider if you wish to volunteer in a formal role (where you commit to a specific time and place) or an informal role (where you volunteer when it suits you best). Talk with your family about the social issues they might want to support like literacy, food poverty, or inclusion. Would your family rather volunteer inside or outside? This type of conversation ensures that your holiday giving includes your family’s preferences.
Many agencies offer ‘adopt a family’ programs, asking for specific items of need. This is a great way to give, but has the challenge of coordinating the items, storing, and delivering the items to the families. Therefore, the popularity of gift cards is increasing with local agencies. Gift cards have many positive benefits, bringing hope and empowerment to those we serve.
Gift cards allow families to buy groceries that align with their dietary needs and cultural preferences. Improvements in diet quality occur when families can purchase more fresh fruit and vegetables compared to the less expensive canned or frozen options. Gift cards also enable a parent to buy their child a gift that comes from them, whether this might be clothing, games, or a book or toy. The joy of buying, wrapping, and watching your child open a gift you chose is one of the powers that a gift card brings.
Most importantly, gift cards provide the ability for families to reallocate funds to other household expenses like rent and utilities.
Gift cards give a homeless person a hot drink or a bowl of soup. $5 gift cards to a fast-food restaurant are popular with agencies. Gift cards are used to welcome new clients, support clients in crisis and as small tokens of kindness. They are also welcomed by pet shelters who can buy specific needs their animals require.
When purchasing a gift card, we recommend taping the receipt to the card. The proof of purchase eliminates any possible issue of the card not registering. Tucking the gift card into a card, a pair of socks or a mitten is a kind way of giving even more.
Other supportive ways during the holidays are giving tickets to holiday events you cannot attend, sharing your musical talents with a senior retirement center, or assembling holiday care kits for those living in shelters. Planning how you wish to share your time, donations and gifts over the holidays ensures that the joy you receive from giving becomes a favorite tradition for you and yours.
H!P’s mission is to connect people to causes by creating fun and simple ways to practice humanity.
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