The stockings are hung by the chimney with care in hope that St. Nicholas will soon be there. ‘Tis the season of giving and while I love this time of year for the time with loved ones and the exchanging of gifts, I think it’s important to also remember that not everyone is so fortunate. Sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves that giving back during the holiday season is no less important than exchanging gifts. Today on LtL I’m sharing 14 ways to give back this holiday season in your local community or here in Nashville.
As a parent, something that is just as important to me as Brooks feeling loved is for him to know how to share love too. Whether he’s old enough to participate in all of these volunteer opportunities or not, I want to lead by example best I can. Growing up, I remember the mission trips and volunteering opportunities I was given were some of the most impactful moments of my childhood.
If you’re looking for ways to give back in Nashville or locally in your community, here are 14 ideas to give back this holiday season for you, your family, or a group of friends.
In your community:
Give blood –
All you need is about one hour out of your day to make a large impact in a strangers life. This is a perfect way to give back for those with a busy schedule or might like to give back anonymously. Visit the American Red Cross for details in what to expect and where to find your local blood drive.
Local food bank –
“Children and adults face hunger in every community across the country. Your neighbor, child’s classmate or even coworker may be struggling to get enough to eat.” What a saddening thought people in our own community struggle to find their next meal. This is such an easy way to give back by donating canned goods or non perishable items easily found in your local grocery store. To find out more and find a food bank nearest you visit this link and search the map provided.
Ronald McDonald House –
If you’re not familiar with the Ronald McDonald House, they are an amazing organization that provides housing for families to be near the clinical care they need, when long term stay is not financially realistic. When a loved one’s health is your top priority, worrying about affording your stay should not be of concern. To find your local chapter and ways to volunteer, visit their site HERE.
Offer your time –
Sometimes offering our time can be the most impactful for those directly in our lives. Know someone with a new baby? Offer to clean her home, fold her laundry, or run errands. Have friends who never get out for a date night? Offer to babysit for free and give them a night to reconnect. Has someone fallen ill or come into hard times recently? Meal prep an entire weeks worth of dinner or just show up with grocery bags full of the daily essentials to help them through the next few days.
Visit a nursing home –
There are so many who live in nursing homes with no family members to visit with. Growing up, we used to visit nursing homes around this time of year and sing them Christmas Carrols. I’d love to do this with Brooks and take by some wreaths to decorate their common area or maybe a few rooms for those who need a little extra cheer. If you don’t know where to start, try asking your local church or community for ideas of a nursing home to reach out to who encourage visitors.
Pay for the person behind you at your favorite coffee spot –
This is a classic ‘pay it forward’ act of kindness! It’s easy and not as intimidating for those who are more comfortable flying under the radar of giving.
Donate coats to One Warm Coat –
“One Warm Coat is a national non-profit organization that works to provide a free, warm coat to any person in need. Coats are distributed in the communities where they were collected, to children and adults in need, without charge, discrimination or obligation.” I love this mission! I just went through my coat closet and have a handful of coats I’m donating to a local coat drive near Nashville. Check out their website HERE to find a location nearest you!
Pay-off someone’s holiday layaways at Walmart –
I heard this idea from a friend in Nashville and loved it so much I thought I’d share it on LtL with y’all. Nothing says the season of giving like a secret Santa from a stranger. Can you imagine going to pay your layaway bill and there not be one?! Amen.
Local humane society –
Furbabies need love too! Contact your local humane society and see what needs they might have to volunteer this holiday season. Sometimes it’s just as easy as walking them or spending extra time.
Nashville locals’ ways to give:
ShowerUp is a shower truck that provides a warm shower, basic hygiene needs to the nearly 4,000 homeless men, women and children in the Nashville area. I heard about this wonderful non-profit through my friend Dawn at The Nashville Mom. If you’re in the Nashville area, there is an opportunity to volunteer this Sunday, December 9th at 12:30 pm. I will be there with Dawn and others, so if you’re free this Sunday come by and help out! For more details you can visit the Facebook page HERE.
GraceWorks Ministries –
“GraceWorks Ministries, Inc. was founded in 1995, when area concerned citizens and faith leaders came together and decided Williamson County needed a central place to send people who needed help with food, clothing and financial assistance.” I’ve heard about GraceWorks through our church and have on my list this season to donate to their ministries. Some ways you can give are financially, donating food, gently used clothes, home items and your time. To find out more, visit their website HERE.
Agape Animal Rescue –
Y’allll volunteering at an animal rescue?! All the holiday feels for those sweet furbabies that need some extra love before they are off to their forever home. “Agape Animal Rescue is dedicated to finding forever homes for abandoned and displaced dogs while educating the public to be more responsible pet owners.” To find ways to volunteer that fit your strengths visit their site HERE.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee –
“Second Harvest is a network of individuals, local non profits, and corporate partners working together to fight hunger in our community. In addition to donating food, Second Harvest is in need of volunteers every day to help sort and pack food donations, prepare BackPacks for hungry children, as well as assist with special events and administrative support.” They even have Family Nights (for ages 6+). To find out more, visit their site HERE.
Book ’em –
“Book’em creates a more literate Nashville by helping economically disadvantaged children, from birth through high school, discover the joy and value of reading through book ownership and enthusiastic volunteers.” Ways you can give: monetary gifts (every $2 donated provides a book to a child in need), book donations and fulfilling book wishlists. I love this idea so much. Brooks loves to read and learning from new books. It’s nice to know some of the books he’s loved (and still have a binding attached) can live on through another little growing mind. To find out more visit their site HERE.
Hands On Nashville –
“Hands On Nashville’s mission is to meet community needs through volunteerism. It all started with one Nashvillian’s desire to find meaningful ways for people to volunteer.” The HoN website is so awesome y’all. They have a holiday volunteer guide with opportunities to volunteer all over the city. You can even specify your availability and what type of volunteering you’d like to do. They make it very easy to find a way to give back within the Nashville community. Find out more on their website HERE.
Thank y’all so much for reading! If you have any other volunteer ideas or opportunities, please share below! I’d love to spread the word of ways to give back this holiday season.
Have a wonderful week!
‘Tis the season,