December 2014

Giving Back This Holiday Season

Author: Courtney Hillis


Tis the season for giving back! Almost everyone wants to find a way to help others, especially during the holidays, yet many people do not know where to start. There are countless options to assist those in need locally or on a national level, all of which involve different degrees of monetary and time commitments. Therefore, it is easy to donate or volunteer at a grade that suits your lifestyle and desires.

Volunteering or donating to a local cause is a great way to get more involved in the community, teach your children the power of giving back and witness the difference you make. First, decide what you are passionate about: children, the elderly, animals, military, families in need, etc. Then, figure out how much time and/or money you are willing to contribute to the cause. Next, contact your charity of choice and get started. It is that easy!

Would you like to help sick children? If so, contact Savannah Memorial Hospital about making and bringing holiday cards to the kids. You can do the same thing for the elderly by contacting local retirement and assisted living homes. Other local children and elderly charities are Palmetto Autism Connection, Hilton Head Heroes and Memory Matters.

If you are interested in helping an entire family in need, Family Promise is a local organization whose mission is to provide temporary shelter, family stability and permanent housing solutions for homeless families with children by mobilizing community resources. You can adopt-a-family for the holidays and provide food and/or gifts for a family the size of your choosing. Call as soon as you decide you want to adopt a family so that Family Promise can accommodate your wishes. Another way to help Family Promise is by donating toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, postage stamps, cleaning supplies and/or trash bags at their location Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Visit familypromisebeaufortcounty.org for more information.

How about helping neighbors in need? Bluffton Self Help provides food, clothing and emergency financial assistance to Bluffton neighbors in need. This year Bluffton Self Help is trying something new. Rather than offering an adopt-a-family program, the organization is hosting its first ever Toy Shop. Drop off unwrapped toys, and the parents of children in need can select for their kids. This is a great way to allow the parents to be more involved their child’s Christmas and gives them a sense of pride for selecting their child’s gift. Bluffton Self Help is also always (year round) in need of food and clothing donations. For your holiday party this year, ask guests to bring a couple of cans of food, soap, toilet paper, diapers, etc. (rather than a hostess gift or bottle of wine) as a way to get everyone involved and give back to the community. For more information, visit blufftonselfhelp.org.

Perhaps animals are your passion. Donate pet food or cat litter to your local Humane Society or rescue, or contact them in regard to their volunteering needs. Brookes Haven Animal Rescue, which is the rescue division of Brooke’s Bed and Biscuit in Bluffton, is another option for volunteering or donating within the animal community.

Of course there are also countless charities on the national level that need assistance. From Toys for Tots to supporting our deployed troops to the Salvation Army, the opportunities are endless. The Salvation Army Savannah and Beaufort have a number of volunteer and donation choices available that can fit any budget or time commitment. It can be as easy as cleaning out your closet and donating to your local Salvation Army Donation Center. For more information regarding volunteering, visit salvationarmycarolinas.org/beaufort for Beaufort and salvationarmysavannah.org for Savannah.
Toys for Tots has several locations for collecting unwrapped toys. To find the closest drop-off location, visit savannah-ga.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/default.aspx (This Savannah link includes Beaufort County).

From sending care packages to making and sending holiday cards, there are many ways you can support our deployed troops. For more information, including deadlines and addresses for care packages, visit ourmilitary.mil/community-resources/supporting-our-military-this-holiday-season.

Everyone wants to volunteer and get more involved over the holidays, but it is important to remember that charity organizations need help all year long. Try volunteering when you have extra time or dropping off donations throughout the year. Make it a goal and add it to your calendar to do something once a month, whether it is dropping a package of toilet paper to Family Promise or canned food to Bluffton Self Help or visiting an assisted living home. By giving back all year long, you will feel great and inspire others to the same; and hopefully we can raise the next generation with an awareness of gratitude, giving back and an understanding of what is truly valuable in life. 

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