Easy Ways to Give Back on A Budget

I promised myself I wasn’t going to write anything about Christmas until Friday 11/29, but I’m making a small exception for this topic. The past few years have been pretty rough for people. A lot of people are still out of work, and a lot of people are struggling. Christmastime just adds another layer of stress and worry to families who can barely make ends meet. Even those of us that are doing okay are still feeling the pinch in a lot of ways too. I’m not a millionaire, but my family isn’t suffering and skipping some bills to pay others. We have enough food to eat. And we’re not worried about paying our rent and heating bills this winter. So I think it’s important to give back and help other families and other children have a good Christmas season too. Even if you can’t contribute much, even $10 or $20 can go a long way towards making sure some little kid wakes up with a smile on their face on Christmas morning, and a good meal in their belly.

This is important.

Here are a few programs you may want to get involved with this season. Check them out, and decide with one is right for your family. It’ll make a big difference in someone’s life this year.

Woodman’s Check Out Hunger

If you live in southern Wisconsin or Northern Illinois, Woodman’s is making it really easy to donate food to a family in need. For just $6.00 you can purchase a pre-packaged grocery bag of food essentials, have it rung up with your order, then they’ll place it in the donation bin for you. They’ve partnered with local food pantries in their communities, so this food is going right to the people in that area who will need it the most. If you don’t live near a Woodman’s, check out your local grocery store for a similar campaign.

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

This is a donation program sponsored by a religious organization called Samaritan’s Purse. It’s so easy – you pack a shoe box full of small toys and necessities for a boy or girl child in one of their age group categories, and then drop it off at a donation point in your community by 11/25 (they have a location finder on their website). If you miss the drop off window,  you can mail it directly to their headquarters. For less than $20 you can make a very nice box for a child, by hitting up the Dollar Tree and Target One Spot. And for Target Cartwheel users out there – you can get more bang for your buck through 11/23 by using  your 20% off One Spot Cartwheel – making dollar items just eighty cents!

Toys For Tots

I’m sure most of you have at least heard of this one – they’ve been around for a long time. You can donate a new unwrapped toy for a child. There are drop boxes at many businesses in most communities this time of year, but if you’re having trouble finding one you can certainly look it up on their website. 

Heifer International

If you want to give a gift that keeps on giving, and change a family’s whole life, donating to Heifer International might be right for you. You can make a monetary donation for a specific animal, seeds, or “basic need” to be provided to a family in need. Heifer primarily serves families and communities in developing nations, and also serves some areas of the Mississippi Delta region here in the States. And if you don’t have the money to donate for a whole cow, you can still provide honeybees or a flock of chickens for only $20.00. Think about that – that $20.00 can buy a family an unlimited source for food and income. That’s a great gift to give. 

So I hope that you’ll think about including giving back in your holiday plans this season. I wish we had the means to donate tons and tons to each of these great organizations, but we’ve chosen two to do this year. It’s a start. And it will help one family, and one child. And that’s something. We’ve chosen to donate with Woodman’s and Operation Christmas Child this year, and I’ll be having Little Man help select the items for the shoebox, as well as help me assemble it and drop it off. It’s never to early to start teaching him that charity begins at home. 

So, even though it’s a little early… Merry Christmas! Let’s all do our part – however small – to make sure it’s a good one for everyone.

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