The holidays offer lots of opportunities to donate time and money — but what about the rest of the year?
The holidays are officially here, along with the influx of those who set out to help the homeless and poverty stricken who struggle to put food on the table for their families. Instagram and Facebook will be flooded with selfies posted with hashtags like #helpingthoseinneed. And while it’s noble to think about those who have been forgotten by society on those two days a year, what about the other 363?
Many people who volunteer and give money during the holidays might be surprised to know that random acts of kindness, throughout the year, would have a bigger impact. Having been a volunteer for nearly 18 years and now as the founder of Dinner’s on Maxx, I have worked closely with other nonprofits and I’ve had many conversations with the people we serve.
Did you know that even though there are thousands of people who are homeless and hungry the chances of finding even one who hasn’t had a meal on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day are slim to none? On the holidays, acts of kindness are expected – appreciated yes, but still expected. That’s just a fact. Non-profits benefit from monetary contributions during the holidays, but if you’re looking to volunteer your time, you might find yourself on a long waiting list.
Let’s set aside the meal aspect. Why must we wait until the time of the year when people are most vulnerable to make a difference in their lives? Showing kindness to another can be more than giving possessions or offering your time. Sometimes the most powerful act of kindness is a simple acknowledgment of another human being.
I know, I know, sometimes it’s difficult to make eye contact because you never know what to expect. You may say hello and then be asked for something, but there’s no way to know until you do it. It costs nothing and saying it, unless you’re from the South like me, will only take a couple seconds out of your entire life.
OK, so now let’s get back to giving. Though it’s more convenient to drop off donations at Good Will or Salvation Army, the items you donate there will eventually end up with a price tag. Your unwanted items would get better use if you donated them directly to a shelter or an organization specifically set up for recipients who qualify.
Food-wise, donate directly to soup kitchens and shelters where food is accepted. In most cases, these kitchens are open to all kinds of donations; cookware, knives, non-perishable foods and cooking oil are just a few examples.
This cause is something I live and breathe, and it doesn’t have to mean the same thing to everyone. But if you want to make the world a better place, why wait for the holidays?
Copyright © Tricia Maxx/2014 Singular Communications, LLC.