Giving; A Tradition That Impacts All of Us


Amy Hannold,

The holiday season is a great opportunity to demonstrate to our children, the power and value of giving. Parents are relieved to see that “we’re doing something right”, as our children practice random acts of kindness from what they’ve learned about giving.

Our own personal gifts as individuals may grow and shine when we participate in charity. Children may find an interest or trait they have which we can foster as they grow – it may grow into something pertinent to their future.

Families can make a difference year-round, in the lives of their neighbors. Making giving a family priority ensures that others will be helped by our children’s children in generations to come.

Here is a list of charitable organizations:

Ronald McDonald House Charities Toy and Food Donation Program:

Ronald McDonald House Charities, in 52 countries, house families whose children are being cared for at hospitals. Each house needs basic essentials, as well as comfort items such as new toys, games, and entertainment items for all ages. Contact your local RMHC has a wish list available to those who wish to donate.

Ronald McDonald House’s Pop Tab Collection Program:

Many local chapters of Ronald McDonald House Charities distribute house-shaped collection boxes for aluminum can tabs. If you’ve never seen pop tab collection boxes, you can contact your local Ronald McDonald House Charity chapter to find out if they participate in this program. Local chapters of RMHC take the collected tabs to recycling centers and receive a check for the weight value of the tabs.

U.S. Marine Corp Reserve’s Toys for Tots Foundation:

“Toys for Tots” collects new, unwrapped toys in October through December and distributes them to needy children in the communities where the toys were collected. At their website, you can find drop-off locations by city and/or county. Each community has a collection team, led by one contact person. If you are in need of toys for your family, or a family you know of, you can make your request from Groups or businesses who wish to hold a collection drive, may also contact the chairman in charge for further information.

Angel Trees: In many communities, at shopping malls, churches, or hospitals, you will find “Angel Trees”. The name, age, and likes of someone in need are written on paper ornaments and placed on “Angel Trees”. Non-profit community organizations put together these trees from lists of clients they are currently serving. Families can choose someone to give to, and know that they are giving what that person needs or wants. If you do not find an “Angel Tree” in your area or are in need of an Angel, contact the local United Way, Family Resource Center, food bank, or church – these organizations know where to direct you.

Food Banks and Related Ministries: Food banks are being hit hard in these times with more people in need of basic necessities. In nearly every church, there are ministries which serve the non-food needs of families. These organizations need our help year-round. When you’re getting great deals on food or health and non-food items, consider donating them to these helping organizations.

Coats and “Keeping Warm” Necessities: Shelters, churches, and other charities need donations of blankets, hats, coats, and other cold weather wear. Go through your closets and the closets of your children to find items you could donate. Look in your yellow pages to contact shelters and get a list of their needs.

Supporting and Encouraging Our Troops (and Their Families):

Family is a big part of the holiday, and when you’re spending yours away from family, it’s tough. Contact your local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, American Legion Post, or Fleet Reserve Association to find out if they are conducting a care package program. As a family, donate some of their needed supplies. You may be inspired to start a care package item drive at your school, church or social organization. If you’re living near a deployed soldiers’ family, offer to babysit or include them in your holiday events. For a list of donations you can give (reading materials, care package items, or air miles) – and the opportunity to Adopt a Soldier, visit one of these websites:

Animal Shelters: They’re In Need of a Warm n’ Fed Holiday Too!

Animal shelters near you may be in need of funds, food, toys, blankets or other supplies. If you don’t own a pet, but love to be near cats or dogs, consider

“Be a Santa” For Someone Near You:

Holidays are a time of giving – and your time as well as your items would be very welcome to someone around you. Older adults and families may be reluctant to ask for help, but if you know of a need, find a way to help. Offering to help someone with their errands, Christmas shopping, or simply leaving a basket of necessities at their door will brighten a holiday – and keep the spirit of giving going in your community.

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