8 Ways to Give Back Safely This Holiday Season
This has been quite a year! In the early months, a global pandemic brought about fear and uncertainty as we recognized the toll and impact COVID-19 would have on all of our lives. At times, humor and creativity would help change our perspective of the challenges we faced. Toward year-end, we're still navigating our way through changes.Most everyone will be doing the holidays a bit differently this year. But there is still a strong desire for many people and organizations to pause and ask how we can give back. If you're looking for ways to get involved, there are plenty of opportunities to help.
Here are eight ways you can safely help your community this holiday season:
Toiletry Bundles for Those Less Fortunate
Head to your favorite retailer and stock up on toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, soap, and other personal hygiene items. Consider purchasing essential clothing items like hats, gloves, and scarves, putting them in a holiday bag or stocking for easy, festive distribution. You could also donate blankets or other household items. Hand-warmer packs are another great gift idea for individuals or families in need. Donations of gently used, pre-washed items are welcome year-round.
Other Items to Donate:
- First aid kits
- Sleeping bags
- Drawstring bags
- Water bottles
- Fruit snacks
- Gift certificates
- Hand wipes
- Hand sanitizer
You can drop these items off at your local community shelter. Please call ahead to familiarize yourself with COVID-19 restrictions.
Thank an Essential Worker
Not everyone will get time off during the holidays. Service workers and essential workers will be busy keeping our communities safe and ensuring we are protected if emergencies occur. You can show your support by sending cards or treats to firefighters, nurses and health care workers, local police officers, and our remarkable service members. Visit your local nonprofit for more details, or visit: https://www.giveessential.org/.
Organize or Donate to a Food Drive
Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households have experienced food insecurity this year. To help bring comfort to those in need, partner with local businesses, food banks, or churches to organize a food drive. Don't have the time? Opt to donate instead. Items in high demand include nonperishable foods like peanut butter, canned vegetables and proteins, dried beans, dried fruit, cereal, pasta, and rice. You can also donate monetary gifts.
Armstrong is teaming up with Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. Please visit our donation website and consider giving to a much-needed cause.
Brighten a Senior's Day
You can help keep more vulnerable citizens – like older adults and those with disabilities – safe by volunteering to deliver meals or other necessary items, such as prescription medications, blankets, or scarves. Check with local churches and service groups to determine what they need and what you can do to contribute. Some organizations in your community can't rely on volunteers because of pandemic precautions, so consider donating nonperishable items or cash.
Or brighten someone's day the "old-fashioned" way. Send a greeting card or have your children create some festive artwork that can be delivered to an assisted-living resident in your community.
Donate to The Salvation Army
Each year The Salvation Army recognizes that every child deserves to feel the joy of the holidays! The organization partners with local businesses across the nation to provide gifts and new clothing to more than one million children and families each year. To help donate, please visit your local Salvation Army.
You can also visit your local news station website for more information on how you can help make a child's holiday memorable this year!
Take Care of Yourself!
Though it may feel selfish during the season of giving, it's essential to take care of yourself, too. Consider:
- Getting a flu shot
- Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables packed with vitamin C
- Staying active
- Protecting yourself and others from COVID by wearing protective gear
- Making time for yourself
- Ensuring you get enough sleep
- Practicing good hygiene by washing your hands for at least 20 seconds
Give a Four-Legged Friend Some Extra TLC
Let's not forget about our four-legged friends in need. Drop off cat or dog food, used towels, blankets, cat litter, treats, and leashes to your local animal shelter. We suggest calling ahead of time to ask about which items are most needed and whether there are COVID restrictions during donation drop-off.
Have you considered fostering a pet during the winter months? Offering assistance to a local animal shelter takes an enormous weight off the staff’s shoulders at a time of year when overcrowding tends to increase. With families being asked to stay closer to home this holiday season, fostering a pet can be a fun way to make memories and give an animal in need some much-needed attention and nurture.
Together We Heal
This year has taken a toll on the entire world in one way or another. Be sure to reach out to your loved ones, family, and friends when possible and enjoy some quality (virtual) time! These interactions can be a great temporary fix for lack of physical contact.
Bring a smile to faces by challenging your family members or friends to an ugly sweater contest. Embrace your competitive spirit by playing games like Liar's Dice or Pictionary. If you haven't done so already, try downloading apps like Zoom, WhatsApp, or Facetime. Even a few minutes of care and attention can help brighten a day.
Want to Learn More?
With more than 130 agent offices nationwide, and a growing network spanning over 60,000 carriers, Armstrong recognizes that our mission and values extend well beyond our immediate community. If you or someone you know is looking for an opportunity to be challenged to do your best every day in a fun, casual work environment, we'd love to hear from you! With a new year on the horizon, many freight agents have questions about financial planning and tax obligations.