How to give back this holiday season

It’s the season of giving. But between work, family, friends and holiday parties, you might not have much time or energy left to give.

The good news? Giving back doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. Recruit your co-workers’ help. And then consider any of these options.

Holiday Giving

If you can spare an afternoon

Does your workplace hold a Holiday party during office hours? Consider using a part of that afternoon to visit a soup kitchen. Chances are, you’ll find it more fulfilling than overeating the annual holiday cheese ball.

If you can spare a full day

Contact a local shelter or donation centre and ask if they could use a few extra hands. Many charities are looking for more volunteers around the holidays. You can also go through a volunteer organization to find the right match.

If you can spare only a few hours

At this time of year, the homeless are especially vulnerable. Get your coworkers together to do a soup, socks and coffee run. Hand these out in your city centre, or any area around town with a large homeless population.

If you can spare some funds

An office fundraiser is a great way to give back if you’re too time-strapped to volunteer. This can take two forms. Option one is to become the office fundraiser; pick a charity, then send out an office-wide email asking for contributions. The second is to host a bake sale; ask each coworker to contribute a dish, and donate what’s raised to a local charity.

If you can spare coats or non-perishables

Winter clothes can be a big expense for low-income households. And no one should go hungry during the holidays. Set up two bins at the front of the office — one for winter clothes like hats, mittens and coats, and the other for non-perishables — then put up posters around the office asking for donations. Choose a cut-off date for donations, then take the items to your local food and clothing bank.

Having trouble choosing a cause? Make it a democracy. Choose a handful of charities and send out an email asking everyone to vote. The popular option wins.

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