Spread The Charitable Holiday Cheer On A Budget

Rolling into the “ber” months has many of us anticipating the upcoming holidays. While December usually means plastic pine trees from Home Depot and the return of Starbucks’ secret menu, it is also a time of giving. Though it’s the simplest and most practical way to help others in need, we aren’t all equipped to donate money. (That is, of course, unless you’re Bill Gates) However, there are a plethora of different ways to spread the charitable holiday cheer on a budget — and it may be more rewarding than you think.

Making a physical donation is easily the most viable option for holiday busybodies. If money isn’t exactly on your side, choose to donate in kind. Considering that the Christmas season rakes in a lot of presents, there are probably household items you can choose to live without. You can pledge clothing to shelters and toys to children’s groups. Books can go to your local library and appliances or electronics can end up in Goodwill. Of course, it is best to ensure that the items in your “give” box are in good condition.

If you can spare a day being proactive, you can opt to give your time. Charities don’t only seek checks and boxes — they need people. Volunteer at a home, whether for the elderly, ill, or four-legged. Chances are, there will be a lot for you to do. A rise in nonprofit groups may leave you with a copious amount of options. If you’re unsure of where to start, figure out where your interests lie and what skills you have to offer. This is where making a list and checking it twice may come in handy. (Scoot over, Santa)

If you are keen on raising funds, plan something income-generating like a garage sale or auction. If you’re without a charity of choice, research a group that could use the money. Remember that you will make the greatest impact by sticking to one organization. A few hundred dollars will go a long way for a single cause as opposed to dividing costs between various groups.

Some people love experiencing the immediate effects of giving back. If you’re handy in the kitchen, consider running a food drive. Get your neighborhood in on the action. Decide what meals are easiest to throw together, and are most cost-efficient. Not only will you satisfy a handful of hungry tummies — you’ll bring the community together.

Needing a change? Or are you simply not so squeamish? Make a medical donation. Blood drives are common during the holidays and a perfectly suitable option for those who have managed to stay in shape. (Perhaps skip the fruit cake?) If you’re not too hot for needles, donate your hair! You’ll be surprised how many people are affected by hair loss due to medical conditions. Moms can also donate breast milk to milk banks.

Giving back can be rewarding, especially if you have the money to do so. But you can choose to be charitable every single day. The time you take to change someone’s life will likely be more meaningful than just a dollar bill.

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Anonymous Giver Buys All Goodwill Toys For Kids

When the holiday season rolls around, it’s easy to get into the giving spirit. Whether you’re donating a goodie bag or paying off $10,000 in pending Christmas gifts, it’s the thought that matters. Still, some enjoy going big — like a mystery Colorado donor who purchased an entire Goodwill’s toys for kids in need.

“All kids today, all day long, you get one free toy, free stuffed animal or free kids book,” [Goodwill director Todd Wakefield] said, announcing a special treat made possible by an anonymous donor.

A Christmas tradition, the anonymous giver has been buying out Goodwill toy sections for 10 years. In a special gesture, the man also roped Aspen Speech Therapy and Cosner Financial Group into the kind deed.

“We’ve got some amazing people throughout our community,” [Wakefield] said. “This is what our business is run on, people willing to give and to help their community.”

Lucky for every kid in Colorado, Christmas stockings will be one toy heavier.

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Charity Machines Help Third World Families

Vending machines are perfect for a quick fix on the go. They’re practically everywhere, but aren’t necessarily accessible to everyone. Since Nottingham introduced free machines for homeless customers, a Salt Lake church figured it’d do the same. The LDS establishment is kicking off the holiday cheer with a machine that operators can use to donate to needy families.

“You could donate a goat that gives milk, and someone can use it to support their family. There’s not many places around here where you can donate a goat,” [LDS executive director] Elder Nielson said.

Other goodies include first aid kits, school shoes, food items, and even chickens. Four machines cater to four different charities, and will be around for the season. LDS, however, hopes to keep them running, with the help of partner groups and volunteers.

“Sometimes it’s hard to know how to give, where to give. This is simple way to donate to a charity,” Elder Nielson said. “We are hoping people see how easy it is to give a few dollars or share money with a charity in need.”

“Sharing is caring” has never been truer. Especially now.

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Girl Raises $1,500 For Charity With Thanksgiving Boxes

When you’re an Eagles defender or Bill Gates, giving back to the community is an easy job to sustain. For others, simpler lifestyles don’t always allow sizable donations. Still, 7-year-old Alex Fischer, determined to help feed the homeless, raised $1,500 by selling Thanksgiving boxes.

“I just thought it would be nice to do Thanksgiving food boxes for people in need. I want other people to have a happy Thanksgiving.” [said Fischer.]

To raise a goal of $150, the Fischer family threw together goodie bags filled with canned goods and stuffing. Besides door-to-door selling, Fischer opted to put up a lemonade stand. Impressed by their daughter, parents James and Lisa called for donations online.

“Your donation is twofold; you’ll be helping a family enjoy a homemade Thanksgiving meal together and also helping Alex learn the joy of helping others in her community.” [wrote Fischer’s parents.]

The whopping $1,500 will feed 100 families, while any remainder will go to the Charlotte Rescue Mission. Looks like Fischer is truly in for some holiday cheer!

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Stranger Pays Off $10,000 On Pending Christmas Gifts

To some, giving back means grand gestures. For celebrity chef José Andrés, it was cooking for thousands of Puerto Ricans in need. For Eagles defender Chris Long, it was playing an entire season for charity. Now just in time for Christmas, a New Jersey secret Santa has paid off $10,000 on pending orders in true holiday spirit.

“Just, you know, trying to bring some happiness to people. That’s really it. Help bring back to the community that brought so much happiness to me and my family,” [said the anonymous donor.]

Known only as “Charlie K.” the generous patron shouldered a total of $10,780 on two layaway orders. Further boosting Christmas cheer, Charlie K. purchased $2,000 worth of toys for the Toys for Tots charity.

“I can only do it because of the community that provided me the luxury to do it. I love this community, and I’m trying to provide back for it,” [said] Charlie K.

While it pays to be recognized for one’s good deeds, sometimes actions do all the talking.

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