The holiday season is one of giving and receiving - but one of the most fashionable things we can do as college students is to continue giving and bring joy to everyone's life, even after the Holiday season ends. Nothing is more fashionable and fabulous than a big heart! Oftentimes, we feel like we don't have the resources to make a difference, but there are lots of cheap and easy ways we can give back throughout the year. Here's how!
- Did you get clothes or gifts this year that you don't need? Consider donating them to thrift shops, like Goodwill, or to programs that collect items for foster children. Also, it's a great time of year to sort through your closet and donate any unneeded items - those clothes that you don't need anymore can bring a lot of joy to others!
- Shelters are always in need of basic items, like food, toilet paper, and shampoo. As college students, we don't have a lot of money to give, but buying a few bottles of shampoo won't break the bank and will help some people out! Find a soup kitchen, a women's shelter, or a homeless shelter in your area to see what you can do for them - often, they have lists of things they need the most.
- Give a few dollars to a worthy charity. Not only is giving to charity a tax write-off, but you can choose a charity that is taking action towards a cause you believe in. Even $5 can make a difference. Before you give to a charity, I recommend doing your research by checking them out on the Better Business Bureau's website. They have a list of criteria they use to grade all the most popular charities, so you know which charities will spend your money on the cause, and which will use it for purposes you probably didn't intend.
- Help others. The Holiday season can be a difficult season for shelters and soup kitchens, and can be even more difficult for the people who depend on them! Since us college students are on a break from school, consider using a little bit of your spare time to volunteer at a local shelter, soup kitchen, nursing home, or wherever! Just a few hours of your time can make a big impact.
- There are volunteer opportunities everywhere. Often, women's shelters, children's hospitals, and soup kitchens will have thrift shops attached to them that you can volunteer at. Do a search of your area and see what you can find - even if you can only be there a few hours a week, you can still make a difference.
3. Look for Ways to Keep Giving
- Take every opportunity to help others! Take every opportunity to bring a little joy to people's lives - volunteer, donate, help out, or get involved in your community in whatever way you can! Even if you feel you can't give your all (you do have school to worry about!), do whatever amount you can. Every small action can have an impact.
- Donate time to a cause that you believe in throughout the year: a children's ward in the hospital, a soup kitchen, a shelter for abused women and children, an animal shelter, or whatever other cause you support. You don't have to save the giving spirit for the holiday season!
- Make someone happy every day! Giving a little bit every day to make someone happy - giving an extra tip while getting your morning coffee, smiling at the clerk scanning your groceries at the store, helping someone carry something - is a great way to give throughout the year. Make a New Years Resolution to make someone happy at least everyday - you'll be surprised how positive and happy it will make you feel.
What do you think?
It's important to be socially conscious and to help people in need. Part of being fabulous is helping others as much as possible and that is especially important at this time of year. How do you keep giving throughout the year? What do you like to do to help others? Let me know in the comments!