2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said that, heard that, or read it written somewhere and while it’s insanely overstated, it couldn’t be more true. This year has been filled with fear, anger, anxiety, illness, and isolation. And while that’s true, it has also given us a new sense of appreciation for community. It has brought new means of connection between family members that are separated from one another. It has brought forth incredible creativity from businesses, parents, teachers, and healthcare workers. 2020 has been a hard and painful year, but there are still good things happening all the time. With the holiday season arriving and 2020 nearing its end, now is the perfect time to focus our energy on giving back to the people we love, our communities, and those who have been hit the hardest this year.
5 Ways to Give Back to Your Community
1. Donate Time
So many businesses and families have been hit hard financially this year, but giving back isn’t exclusive to your bank account. Giving back to your community with your time can be just as impactful as giving money, especially when it’s to a cause that you care about. Research the local outreach groups in your area and find ways that you can safely participate in events around your city. For example, Wheeler Mission is a great organization in the Indianapolis area that provides care and assistance for the homeless community. They have volunteer opportunities ranging from organizing donations to housekeeping and meal service. If you aren’t in a position to give financially this holiday season, consider volunteering in your community. Warmth and kindness goes a long way for those who are lonely and hurting during the holidays.
2. Give Gifts for Christmas
Every year, families struggle to afford gifts for Christmas and this year is no different. If you know any families who have been hit hard with illness, lost a family member, or have experienced lay-offs, consider getting a small gift for each person in the family and wrapping it so they have something to open on Christmas day. Some gift ideas that won’t break the bank include candles, books, a framed photo, or a gift card to a favorite restaurant. If you don’t know anyone in need personally but still want to contribute gifts, you can check out these organizations or give to your local domestic violence shelter. If you’re in the Indianapolis area, we recommend contacting the Julian Center to see how you can give.
3. Make a Meal for a Friend
Sometimes the best gift you can receive is a warm, home-cooked meal. There is so much thought, tenderness, and love packed into a home-cooked meal, and for someone who is isolated from family or struggling with loneliness or pain this holiday season, it can bring comfort. Need a recipe? Try one of these simple crockpot ideas that are easy and delicious! If you aren’t the best cook, order out from your friend’s favorite takeout place!
4. Decorate Someone’s House
One of the best things about the holiday season is all the festive lights and decorations around neighborhoods and towns. For those who are ill, injured, or dealing with a health condition that keeps them inside, it can be hard to make their home feel festive. Grab some friends and decorations and give their house a little face lift! This is a simple joy that you can give to someone in need.
5. Make a Financial Donation
Lastly, if you are blessed with financial resources and comforts, consider making a donation to any of the organizations mentioned above or to a family in need that you know. It can be as simple as a gift card, buying groceries for the week, write a check, or pay a family’s utilities for the month if you’re able. Financial stress is a heavy burden to bear, especially when you’re providing for kiddos. If you have the capacity to help ease that burden, a financial donation is an amazing way to give back to your community.
This has been a tough year, there’s no doubt. But this year has also been an opportunity to challenge ourselves to look on the bright side, lead with generosity, and give back to our communities. If you are looking for ways to give this holiday season, try one of these ideas and see how much it impacts not only your community, but your own heart.