As we gather together with family and friends this holiday season to give thanks, share memories and create priceless memories, it is also a great reminder of how much we have.
And the perfect opportunity to give back.
Whether you are looking to give back to an organization that has helped you or make a difference to someone who may have less than you, now is the time of the year to take a step back and reflect on the ways you can share your good fortune with others.
According to the American Red Cross, the need for blood is constant. Every two seconds, someone in the United States need blood, and more than 44,000 blood donations are needed every day. Less than 38 percent of the United States population is eligible to give blood. The donation itself usually takes less than 15 minutes, and the entire process is about an hour and 15 minutes. Some upcoming blood drives in the area include, according to Memorial Blood Centers include (see website for details):
- Nov. 26 - sponsored by Minnesota School of Business - Plymouth Campus
- Nov. 28 - sponsored by Brocade/Stanley CSS in Plymouth
- Dec. 1 - sponsored by Maple Grove Energy Hockey
- Dec. 4 - sponsored by Christopher & Banks Corporation in Plymouth
Libraries often have giving trees set up during the holidays. Monetary donations are used to purchase items on the library’s wish list. This helps supplement budgets often cut in the face of tough economic times.
Contact the Maple Grove Library to see if they have a giving tree or wish list. Most libraries accept donations throughout the year. Check with your school library as well for another avenue of giving. And remember, libraries often offer other ways to volunteer.
Many organizations have toy drives during the holidays to gather gifts for children who would otherwise not receive toys this year. Toys for Tots is one of those organizations. You can find a local drop point here, such as Sherwin Williams. Operation Christmas Child allows the whole family to participate. Get the children in on the shopping as you select gifts to pack a shoebox for a child in another country. Find out more at Samaritan’s Purse.
Food banks are always in need of money and food donations, but during the holidays, many food banks provide special holiday baskets for qualifying families. Contact C.R.O.S.S. Foodshelf to find out the needs in the community this season. Some local businesses are helping to give back as well. MarcDaniel Salon in Maple Grove is collecting non-perishable food and hygiene items through November 2012 to be donated to those in need in Hennepin County.
Many of the organizations listed above also accept monetary donations. The American Red Cross is a leader in helping those in need, whether during times of natural disasters or during other challenging times. If you respect a local organization at work in your communities, find out how you can give by contacting them.
Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Become a Big Brother or Big Sister. Offer your expertise as a 4-H leader or project leader. Deliver Meals on Wheels to people in need. Help out a neighbor in need by raking leaves. Look for opportunities at one of Maple Grove's many nonprofit or religious organizations. Ring a bell for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Drive. Often what organizations need most are volunteers, someone to help with their efforts.
Share: How will you give back during the holiday season? Tell us in comments!
If you know of other organizations who are looking for more help during the holidays, put a call out for volunteers in our announcements section here. Business and organizations - you can also share how you are giving back in the Patch announcements section.