During the holiday season, many people want to give back to their local community. It’s not always easy since we are busy running to soccer practice and activities with our child’s friends…but even with just a few minutes to spare, something can be done. Your child may come home from school one day and ask what they can do. At my house, we buy a lot of charity gifts for Christmas (a simple Google search will do the trick) and donate to some of the below causes below:
- Buy a couple of extra items at the supermarket and donate to a local food bank. Some stores (like Dave’s Marketplace and Stop and Shop) already have collection bins located by the checkout lines, allowing you to donate in the store. If you would rather bring the goods to a location, here are two great choices:
- RI Food Bank located at 200 Niantic Ave, Providence. They are open 8AM to 5PM weekdays (except holidays) and have a list of most needed items on their website.
- Westbay Community Action located at 211 Buttonwood Avenue, Warwick. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. They are also in need of clothing and toiletries.
- Collect old or unwanted cell phones from friends/neighbors and donate. There are many great programs who utilize unused cell phones:
- Cell Phones for Soldiers. This organization was started by two kids aged 12 and 13 (wow!) and has donated over 220 million minutes of talk time to troops serving our country so far.
- National Network to End Domestic Violence. You can call ahead to your local Verizon store and see if they are participating, or you can just drop it in the mail with a prepaid label. In 2015, $7 Million in cash grants were provided to domestic violence organizations.
- Providing access to 911 calls. A free service to the public, this organization is funded by donations to provide 911 calls to anyone who needs it (mostly senior citizens and domestic abuse victims).
- Help an elderly neighbor rake the leaves or do something around the house. It gets more difficult for us to move around as we get older, so having a neighbor come over and do something as simple as bringing in the mail or chatting about their day really makes a difference.
- Collect coats, mittens, or other gently used winter clothing to donate for this upcoming winter. You can ask friends, neighbors, or anyone you trust. I don’t know about you, but I already turned my heat on this year.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State. On this website you can type ion your zip code and locate the closest donation center. Even easier, you can schedule a pick up at your house. There is a list of acceptable and non-acceptable items on their website (but most of it is common sense). Not to mention collection boxes are everywhere! Everything goes to supporting their programs.
- If you find any clothes that you wouldn’t want anyone else to wear, feel free to donate anyway. They will just end up at RI Textiles. As long as the clothes are clean, dry, and odorless, there are many uses for clothing that this department dreams up.
- Ask for donations to a local animal shelter for Christmas or your birthday. This is becoming a bigger trend for children. Instead of asking for Pokémon cards (still a thing?) or action figures, some kids as asking for dog food and cat toys so they can donate them to their favorite local shelter. Maybe it is the shelter they brought their favorite pal Patches home from.
There are so many opportunities in the season of giving to donate our time and a couple extra dollars (which would have been a very unneeded box of Oreos in my case). Do you have any other suggestions for kids that I missed?