(Family Features) Giving during the holiday season can mean more than gifts. It’s the time of year when giving back to your community can make an even bigger impact – especially this year when so many need a helping hand.
This holiday season, do your part to help deliver smiles to loved ones and people in need. Reap the feel-good rewards of helping others with these ideas on how to make a difference.
Give time. One of the greatest donations an organization can receive is your time. Volunteer roles can vary significantly depending on the organization you choose but can leave you feeling like you’ve contributed in a real and meaningful way. From sorting donated items, preparing and distributing warm meals or wrapping gifts, organizations can almost always use an extra set of hands during the holidays.
Make your shopping count. To help make the season even brighter, Amazon is donating millions of items to more than 1,000 charities worldwide through product and monetary donations and is making it easy for you to give back as well. When shopping for holiday supplies or gifts for family and friends, you can give back and donate to your favorite charitable organizations. Simply activate AmazonSmile in the mobile app or on your web browser to get the same online shopping experience you’re accustomed to with the added benefit of donating a portion of eligible purchases to a charity of your choice.
Spread information. People are more willing to contribute to a cause when they understand how they can help. Align with an organization or cause you care about and share details about how the community can help. That might include talking about the group’s mission and needs to your friends and family or simply sharing info about its cause on your social media feeds. Let the organization know you’re eager to generate awareness for its needs, and it can typically find a way to put your skills to use.
Shop for a cause. One thing nonprofits often hear is people want to give, but they don’t know what items will be most useful. You can remove the guesswork with a resource like AmazonSmile Charity Lists, which offer a convenient way to donate to your favorite causes. Just search for your favorite organization and find its list of most-needed items, purchase and have the donation delivered directly to the charity’s door. You can also make a donation to the organization of your choice through your Alexa-enabled device by saying, “Alexa, I want to make a donation.”
Donate gently used items. This holiday season, you’ll probably add new clothes to your closet and new toys to the playroom, but others may not have presents to unwrap. As you receive gifts this holiday, see what gently used toys, clothes and household items could be donated to help others.
Find more information and resources at smile.amazon.com, and share how you’re giving back by using #DeliveringSmiles on social media.
Delivering Smiles to Charitable Organizations in Need
Charitable organizations often maintain a wish list of items necessary to deliver on their missions. This holiday season, you can help fulfill AmazonSmile Charity Lists of nonprofit organizations supporting causes including homelessness, hunger and disaster relief, among others.
Donations including food and pantry items, blankets, sheets, toys, educational items for kids, socks, outerwear and other apparel items, as well as monetary donations to put toward the purchase of these items, can help provide organizations with essential items they need and products they want.
Among the charities benefiting from this program are:
* Heifer International – You can help small-scale farmers transform their communities by donating essential tools.
* St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital -Toys and game donations can help deliver countless smiles to children battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases this holiday season. St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
* Best Friends Animal Society – Essential pet supplies can be donated to help provide nutrition and enrichment to dogs and cats while they await foster or adoptive homes.
* Operation Nightwatch – Help protect homeless communities by giving necessary food and clothing.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images