Being a company that is all about staying active in our community, we thought everyone could use some volunteer ideas. We know that giving back isn't just for the holidays, but even with active lives and busy schedules, we still look for ways to help spread holiday cheer.
Keep things warm. Chances are this season, it’s probably cold where you are. Think about all the people who don’t have a warm coat or blanket to help with that winter chill. Blankets for the Homeless collects and distributes not only blankets, but coats, hats, warm gloves, rain ponchos and winter clothes. Pair up with this organization and start your own blanket or coat drive to help people stay cozy.
Be the host. Sometimes throwing a party is the best way to spread cheer. Host a holiday party with a local shelter or retirement home and invite residents and people who may not have family or friends nearby.
Love your neighbor. Neighbors are important! Some people are very fortunate to have good neighbors who look out for others. Being a good neighbor yourself helps build a sense of community. Show your appreciation (or take the step to introduce yourself!) by bringing gift baskets and treats to neighbors. Offer to help elderly neighbors with a household chore or yard work, like shoveling their walkways.
Sponsor a family. Local organizations can help you find a family in need. In fact, Fusion sponsors a few families each year through our Be The Change initiative. When you sponsor a family, you have the opportunity to shop for them over the holiday season. Use some of your holiday money and help to create a magical holiday for a family who can’t provide it at this time.
Donate to a food bank. Your next grocery run could really help the hungry this season. While you’re out getting your household staples, consider grabbing a few canned goods and non-perishables to donate to your local food bank. Extra food around the holidays always helps those who are hungry.
Pay it forward. One of the easiest things to do for a stranger is to pay for their meal or coffee. The next time you go through a drive-thru to get your morning cup of coffee or lunch, pay for the person behind you as you pay for your own. Kindness to strangers always warms any heart and you’ll know that you totally made a stranger’s day.
Love the animals. Our furry friends should have a good holiday too! Offer to walk dogs at the local animal shelter or spend some lap time with some of the cats. Pick up items that are on the shelter’s wish list before you show up to volunteer. Giving some love to the animals can make everyone happy.
Appreciate holiday workers. As someone who works in the medical field, you can probably understand that some jobs simply don’t allow for time off. Hospitals, clinics, police stations, fire stations and even some retail stores are full of workers on holidays. Show your appreciation for your fellow holiday workers by taking bagels, lunches or gift cards to people who work over the holidays.
Tip well. While it’s just good manners to tip well when your service is great, service personnel work pretty darn hard for those tips. An easy way to do good over the holiday season is to randomly increase your tips to 50 or 100 percent when you go out. Write a simple "Happy holidays!" greeting on your bill and leave your service provider a nice tip.
Thank your local firefighters, police officers, and emergency personnel. Call the non-emergency number of your local police or fire department to find out how many people they have in the office. Then, put together a basket of baked goods, treats and other tokens of appreciation that you can drop off to thank these brave men and women for their service.
Get crafty with cards. If you like art and DIY projects, you can put your skills to use by creating homemade cards for hospital patients. There are tons of kids who are spending their holiday cooped up in the hospital, and a nice card can cheer them up. Check out the details here.
Visit a nursing home. Some people in nursing homes aren’t always lucky enough to have friends and family to visit them during the holidays. Go as a family, or with a group of friends, and don’t forget to call ahead to schedule your visit. Take cards or decorations to add something festive to the rooms and sit and talk to the residents. You can even bring treats or cookies, but be sure to ask the facility first.
Gift packs for the homeless. Put together care kits to help the homeless. Care kits are a simple and practical way to provide for people in need. Some great items to include are granola bars, hand wipes, water bottles, Band-Aids, Chapstick, toothbrush / toothpaste, applesauce cup, tissues, maxi pads, warm gloves and socks. You can contact your local shelter for more items ideas. Keep these care kits handy in your car or in your commute bag, and hand them out to homeless people you encounter.
Clean out and donate. The holidays are a great time to assess what you have, what you don’t need, and what could help someone else. Donate some of the games, clothing, toys you have around your house and add in some new things you shopped for to donate. This is also a great way for kids to understand the process of donating and being grateful for the things they have.
Use Amazon Smile. A lot of us are avid Amazon buyers. But did you know, your shopping spree can give back too? After signing up with Amazon Smile and choosing any charity of your choice, a portion of your purchase will be donated to your charity every single time you shop. You just need to make sure that you always use the smile.amazon.com URL instead of amazon.com.
Get more ideas. Need more ideas and ways to volunteer? Volunteer Match can help you find opportunities in your area that go with your schedule and what you’re passionate about.
Here's to making everyone's holiday merry and bright. If you're planning on taking a vacation this season, check out our blog The Difference Between Traveling and Vacation. Travel and vacation are closely linked when you’re a traveler; learn to spot the differences.