6 Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season

It’s pretty easy to give thanks for what you have during the holiday season, but it is also a prime time to actually give it back by volunteering in the community.

Nearly 100,000 Michiganders are food insecure (limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe food, according to No Kid Hungry) and almost 100,000 are homeless. While these numbers have been steadily declining, this means that volunteer organizations like food banks, homeless shelters, free clinics and soup kitchens, among others, are as busy as ever.

The good news is that you can pitch in and make a first-hand difference. Check out these six ways to volunteer in Michigan during the holiday season:

  1. Deliver meals: Give thanks to public service personnel by bringing a holiday meal, or treat, to your local fire or police station. Meals on Wheels is also a great way to voluntarily deliver food to seniors who are unable to acquire meals themselves.
  2. Food banks: Gleaners contributes to a major portion of Metro Detroit’s food bank supply and Feeding America helps nearly all of West Michigan. Find a food bank near you and inquire how you can pitch in this holiday season. Many organizations not only have storage centers, but also community gardens and distribution locations.
  3. Homeless shelters: Serving food, sorting clothes or assembling toiletries packages at a shelter is sure to make someone’s day. Seek out a shelter near you to make firsthand impact on your own community.
  4. Medical volunteering: Donate a pint of blood to the Red Cross, volunteer at a free clinic in Michigan or reach out to your nearest hospital to help hold sick babies, work in the gift shop, or donate time as a support aid.
  5. Animal outreach: Help clean out cages, volunteer at events or work with animals at your local Humane Society or adoption network. Many animals in Michigan struggle year round just as people do.
  6. Make a donation: If you can’t find room in your schedule to volunteer, make a donation of goods to the Salvation Army, canned or nonperishable food items to a food pantry, or a cash donation to charity. Every little bit counts.

How do you like to give back during the holidays? Share your experience in the comments!

Photo credit: Geoffrey Dudgeon

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