Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season


by Joanne Buelt

Toys for Tots donation drop-off box at the Hillsborough Municipal Building.

Katie Buelt, Features Editor

As the holidays continue to approach, people tend to become wrapped up in the frenzy of gifts and festivities. It can be easy to forget that the vast majority of people worldwide don’t have the privilege of carefree celebration. The holiday season is the perfect opportunity to give thanks for all that you have; that’s why these months offer a vast array of opportunities to give back to one’s community and provide aid to others in need.

Donate to Toys for Tots

Perhaps one of the most widespread charitable initiatives during the holidays is Toy for Tots. Run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, the group aims to collect new toys and distribute them to underprivileged children nationwide. Donating simply requires some money, creativity, and a willingness to brave the holiday shopping crowds. One can visit a nearby store that supports Toys for Tots, purchase the toys of their choice they think will be most enjoyable for the children, and place them in the store’s drop-off box. Not only is this a classic means of giving back to one’s community, but it is also a great way to involve friends and family in a charitable act.

Give to Deployed Soldiers

Every year, thousands of American troops sacrifice time with their families in support of our country. In response, there is plenty you can do to demonstrate your gratitude. Operation Shoebox, for example, is an organization with an organization that collects care packages of various items needed by deployed troops. Those wishing to donate simply need to shop for, wrap up, and mail their items to the address listed on their website– the charity will take care of the rest. Another formidable option is the USASOA. Each year, they host Operation Christmas Cards; as the name implies, one can mail a card or letter to them, and it will be delivered to soldiers overseas.

Work With Animal Shelters

Humans aren’t the only ones who need help during the holidays. One doesn’t necessarily need to take on the massive task of adopting or fostering a pet to be of service to these animals; shelters are in constant need of donations, whether it be money or supplies. Places like SAVE Animal Shelter in Montgomery and St. Hubert’s in Bridgewater are examples of local shelters that will happily accept donations. Giving back can be as easy as cutting and knotting old clothing to making dog toys or purchasing post-it notes for the administrative workers. And, for those not willing to spend money, shelters often have a vast array of volunteer opportunities, many of which require little to no prior experience.

Being charitable this holiday season doesn’t have to be a laborious affair; so long as you are open-minded, thoughtful, and have the will to serve your community, it is simple to make your holiday season, and that of others, even more enjoyable.