Any time’s a great time to give back but given our busy lives, the holiday season is a good reminder to get out there and make an impact. Whether it’s making a financial donation, contributing canned goods to a food pantry or volunteering your time at a soup kitchen, there are so many great ways to give back each holiday season. No matter where you live, how little time you have or how limited your funds are, there are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved. Here are some of our favorites this holiday season:
Your power’s in your wallet. While we encourage you to be mindful of how you spend your hard-earned dollars every day of the year, you can be especially impactful by paying attention to where you shop during the holiday season. Choose a credit card that donates to non-profit organizations with every purchase, and only buy from socially-responsible companies that have a give-back component (like us!). Online shopping networks like ShoppingGives allows you to shop from companies that will donate a percentage of each purchase to the cause of your choice.
Giving back can be as easy as adding a few extra cans of veggies to your shopping cart. Most grocery stores offer food drives during the holiday season, but if you want to find one close to you, Feeding America will help you find your local food bank here. Nearly 40 million people face hunger in the United States (including more than 12 million children), so even donating a few cans of soup or a box of cereal can make a huge difference.
No matter where you live, it’s likely that you’ve got a neighbor who could use a little extra something this holiday season. Whether that’s help shoveling a driveway or an invitation to your dinner table, be mindful of those who live around you and make the effort to reach out and offer what you can. Never met your neighbors? This is a great time (and a great way) to break the ice – not only will you be helping someone who needs it, you may find the new connection brightens up your day as well.
While there are plenty of drives for holiday gifts for young children in need, there are very few for teenage girls. Project Glimmer has set out to fix that – since its founding, Project Glimmer has given more than 350,000 gifts to women and girls throughout the United States. While you can donate cash, an even better way to help this awesome organization is to host a Glitter Drive; it’s like a toy drive except with jewelry, accessories, makeup/beauty products and journals – all gifts intended to inspire at-risk teenage girls and women to believe in themselves by letting them know their community cares. Hosting a Glitter Drive is easy – gather your company, friends and family, pick a location and timeframe to receive donations and start spreading the word! More info on hosting a Glitter Drive can be found here.
If you’re looking to get more involved year-round, signing up to be a mentor to young girls is a great way to forge a connection, share your insight and experiences, and have an impact in the life of someone who really needs it. There are a number of great organizations with mentor programs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, but one we’ve just fallen in love with recently is Girls Write Now. Located in New York City, this fabulous organization mentors underserved high school girls to find their voices through the power of writing and community. From their one-on-one mentoring program with professional writers and media makers to offering workshops, leadership, college prep, and professional development opportunities, Girls Write Now is on a mission to empower girls to find their voices and tell their stories. Learn more about being a mentor here.
There are countless important organizations to choose from for your holiday donations, but these are a few of our favorites.
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) – the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline and offers programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.
Women For Women International – Women For Women’s programs enable the most marginalized women in countries affected by conflict and war to earn and save money and improve their health and well-being. By providing women with the skills and resources to build self-confidence, understand their rights, earn an income and gain the respect of their family and community, women are able to create sustainable change for themselves, their family and community.
Lady Parts Justice – Their slogan is literally “kicking politicians out of vaginas since 2012.” Founded by the former head writer of The Daily Show, LPJ is using comedy, culture and digital media to educate citizens about the “terrifying erosion of access to reproductive rights” and to motivate voters to fight back at all levels of politics.
Planned Parenthood – Providing access to high-quality health care for communities across the country, Planned Parenthood has been a champion of women and a partner in reproductive health care for over 100 years. Their work is more important now than ever.
National Organization For Women – NOW is the largest organization of feminist grassroots activists in the U.S. and has been fighting on behalf of women’s rights for over 50 years. Their mission is to promote “feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life.”
In the wave of the #metoo movement, there is one population that has been forgotten – prisoners throughout the U.S. No matter the crime, rape should never be the penalty and JDI is working to end sexual abuse in our prison system. Through their work with policymakers, advocates and corrections officials, they are helping to ensure the basic human rights of all people in prisons. Through their Words of Hope campaign, you can send a holiday message to a survivor to help them feel less alone and less forgotten. To participate in this impactful program, visit here.
No matter how you give back, we hope that this holiday season you’ll consider spending a little of your time, money or energy and reaching out to someone in need. Having an impact can happen through something as small as a few dollars or a few moments of your time. As so many people in this world struggle through things we can only imagine, we have this awesome opportunity to make a small gesture for the greater good.