relationship

Spread the Holiday Cheer!

Stephanie Lanik

Strategic Marketing Coordinator

Stephanie Lanik

Strategic Marketing Coordinator

5 ways to volunteer with your family this holiday season

In the season of giving, you may find yourself getting caught up in finding the best present for your loved ones; from the newest iPhone or smartwatch to a pair of nice slippers or the latest kitchen gadget, there are many, many options for gifts. However, giving does not have to be a physical present. With thousands of families and individuals needing food, shelter, and love this holiday season, you and your family can give in a way that impacts the lives of others.

Here are just a few ways to help get you started:

Adopt a Family

Social service agencies, as well as organizations such as family-to-family.org, match people with families in need of necessities, such as clothes, food, and toys. In fact, in the areas surrounding the Benovate office, in Minneapolis, there are over 900 households in need.

We encourage you to check your local area–there could be an even greater need where you live.

gift ideas:

  • mittens
  • winter hats
  • socks
  • boots
  • scarfs

Homeless Shelter Donation

Whether it’s your time or gifts, homeless shelters are always in need of donations to help others get back on their feet. Giving presents to those in shelters can diminish the isolation homeless folks may feel during the holidays.

gift ideas:

  • serving meals
  • blankets and pillows
  • books
  • kits with basic hygiene necessities

Make a Visit

Each year, millions of people are confined to hospitals and care centers during the holidays and, according to Doing Good Together, 60% of these people in hospitals and 50% of these people in senior living centers do not receive any visitors, which can cause loneliness– especially during the holiday season. Bringing a sense of family to someone without one can be their greatest gift.

But first, Contact your local hospital or nursing home to see if they accept volunteers, and determine if you need anything specific to get started. Some hospitals have volunteer training programs, while smaller facilities often just need you to sign in and get a visitor’s badge.

gift ideas:

  • blankets
  • flowers
  • movies
  • slippers

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Provide Meals

Food banks are always in need of donations, especially during the holiday season. Not sure where to bring your items? FeedingAmerica.org offers a locator on where to bring donations for your local food bank. You could also check Meals on Wheels, which gives meals and social connections to those living independently, and is a fantastic gift during the holidays.

gift ideas:

Get the kids involved, have them decorate reusable grocery bags and fill them with their favorite non-perishable food items, such as:

  • canned goods
  • peanut butter
  • rice
  • noodles and pasta sauce
  • nuts

Get Global

Operation Christmas Child, an initiative by Samaritan’s Purse, is an international relief organization for children. In this program, volunteers are asked to pack a shoe box with small toys, hygiene items, and school supplies. These shoe boxes are then shipped to children outside of the United States affected by war, poverty, starvation, disease, and disaster.

gift ideas:

  • $9 donation (to cover shipping costs)
  • pencils
  • stuffed animals
  • toothbrush and toothpaste
  • coloring books and crayons

Help spread the holiday cheer to those overseas. It could be as simple as sending deployed service members a homemade holiday card, a self-care package or even a small box of holiday cheer to give them a little piece of home, even though they can’t be home. Include items that have special meaning and will help boost their spirits while they’re away from family.

small box gift ideas:

  • Miniature Christmas tree
  • String of decorative lights for them to put up in the common area (include a pack of twist ties)
  • Stocking filled with goodies
  • Candy canes
  • Cards that record voices – include envelope & stamps (for them to send back to their families/friends)
  • A wrapped gift with instructions that they need to wait until Christmas morning to open it.

Start Volunteering Today!

Volunteering as a family not only helps those in need, but it leaves an impact on your children that will remain long after the batteries on their new drone die out and their fidget spinner stops. With these tips from Benovate, we hope you and your family find time to spread the holiday cheer with others.

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