2012-11-21 / Local & State

How To Make A Difference This Holiday Season

Better than any toy, trinket or fruit basket, what if you could give a gift that would actually make a profound difference in one’s life?

The holidays are the perfect time to reach out to the less fortunate. Here are a few ways you can help this holiday season:

Work at a soup kitchen

Many people have made it a yearly tradition to volunteer at a soup kitchen during the holidays. You can help the homeless and hungry get a hot meal and give them the small gift of a full stomach. Contact your local soup kitchen to see how you can help. If you don’t have time to volunteer, consider donating non-perishable goods, as many soup kitchens have a food pantry as well.

Help a family in a crisis Zone

A gift from the mall is nice, but donating to a philanthropic organization on behalf of a loved one is a much more meaningful way to celebrate the holidays.

There are an estimated 40 million people around the world who have been uprooted from their homes by war and disaster. They live in limbo, struggle to survive and have no place to call home. By purchasing a “Rescue Gift” to honor friends and family in lieu of storebought presents, you’ll be contributing to critical supplies and services for vulnerable families.

The International Rescue Committee’s Rescue Gifts offer a wide variety of gifts at various price points. For example, you can opt to help fund a year of school for girls in Afghanistan, contribute to gardening tools and seeds to help families in need grow food, or help train Burmese refugees, to deliver basic health care. In so doing, both you and your recipient gain a true sense of the kind of work your gift is supporting.

“These gifts have a tangible impact on the lives of refugees and others who have been displaced by conflict, political upheaval and natural disaster around the world,” says Kay Bellor of the International Rescue Committee. “They help families to survive and thrive and last a lot longer than a box of chocolates.”

For more information or to give Rescue Gifts visit www.Rescue.org/gifts.

Donate toys

Unfortunately, there are countless children out there whose families can’t afford a gift-filled holiday that many of us take for granted. By donating unwrapped toys and books to charity, your generosity will undoubtedly brighten up a child’s season.

As you enjoy the holidays, take the time to help out someone less fortunate. Just a small bit can go a long way.

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