As December first draws closer, and I drive around and see the lights going up all over town I can’t help but start to think about Christmas. My four year old has also started to notice the lights up around down and the holiday items in every store we go in. I have also started the mental list of things he sees that he wants. Now that we have cable, I feel like that list is a few pages longer and more of a changing list than in the past.
This point leads me to the point of this post – while I am a firm believer in that kindness should be paid to others all year round, there is something special about doing a little extra during the holidays. Especially for the purposes of teaching my children that there is more to the holidays than the gifts that mom, dad and Santa bring you.
Each year, I have brought Maddox to the store to pick out a toy to donate to toys for tots. Near where we used to live in New Hampshire, they would run an annual event called “stuff a bus” – which is exactly what it sounds like. The toy donations were for toy’s for tots and would be collected to fill up a bus – a hefty goal but if I recall correctly, accomplished almost every year. I plan to continue this tradition of teaching the kids about giving to others who are less fortunate. I did a bit of research this year to see what else is out there, other places we could give. Maybe one year we’ll give a goat (see Heifer International below).
So in the spirit of giving, I have spoken with family and friends and put together a little list of some awesome places to give.
- Your Local Children’s Hospital – Here in Columbia, the children’s hospital collects donations for its patients. During the holidays they open a holiday store for the families of their patients so that they can shop for their children without leaving the hospital.
- Samaritan’s Purse – Operation Christmas Child – Pack a shoe box up for a child yourself, pack one online, or just donate! Also- this video and the kid in it are awesome
- World Vision – sponsor a child or give a gift
- Heifer International – Built of the ‘teach a man to fish philosophy, donations provide livestock to those in need. In turn teaching them sustainability. You can buy a full animal, or a share of the animal for a family.
- Operation Warm – New coats for children in need. Started by Dick Sanford in Pennsylvania. 96 cents on every dollar goes directly into their coat program.
If you prefer places a little closer and more wide spread charities, then of course there are the more well known;
- Toys for tots
- Salvation Army
- American Red Cross
- All your local charities (i.e. food banks/drives, animal shelters, etc.)
All I can say is, it doesn’t matter, where or how much you give – if you have the opportunity to make a difference for someone, why not?