The holiday season may seem overwhelmingly skewed toward focusing on what you can buy and what material possessions you should spend your money on, but that all quite belies the core principles of the season. Namely, the holidays are a time of togetherness, compassion and lending a hand to those in need.
There is no better way to honor this spirit of the season than by pitching in to help out your area shelters, both for displaced persons and stray animals. There are numerous ways that you can do your part while simultaneously managing the rigmarole of battling traffic and buying gifts; so, consider the following.
Care2.com recommends using your social media reach to help your local shelter or rescue group. If these organizations have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any one of the various other social media platforms, follow them and share their posts. Telling your followers and friends about worthwhile causes is a great way to raise awareness for larger issues and draw attention to the needs of local organizations.
Volunteer your time
If you are fortunate enough to have time to give to others, consider volunteering at a local soup kitchen. These facilities are crucial during the cold winter months, and so even if they are well-staffed during the holiday season proper, consider signing up to volunteer into January, February, March and even into the early months of spring. Call local churches to determine which soup kitchens may be in need, or visit http://homelessshelterdirectory.org. to see what kitchens, shelters and pantries are located in your area.
Donate your food
Some families consider it a problem to have too much food on their tables during the holidays, while there are those who have quite the opposite problem. This year, if you feel that you are at risk of over-preparing, eliminate that problem and help aid those who have less than you by clearing out your pantry and donating non-perishable food items to a local food bank. If you do prepare too much food, give whatever you can to your local homeless shelter to ensure that nothing goes to waste. To find food banks in your neighborhood, visit http://feedingamerica.org/foodbank-results.aspx.
Give the gift of a rescued pet
Kittens and puppies are among the most coveted presents during the holidays, and if you are considering giving a friend or family member the gift of a furry friend this year, consider adopting a rescue. Adopting a pet not only ensures that a dog or cat will be welcomed into a loving home, but it helps to free up a space that will be occupied by another creature in need.
There is truly no wrong way to give of yourself this holiday season. Whether it is a few hours of your time at a shelter, hospital or soup kitchen, or setting aside a few dollars to donate to a worthwhile local cause, any gesture you make toward the effort of helping others is one made toward fulfilling the true spirit of the holiday season.
This article is presented by New Century BMW in Alhambra, California.