We’ve all heard the phrase “It’s better to give than to receive” and during the Holidays, I think that phrase means even more.
While most of us are blessed beyond measure and our stockings are full of things we don’t actually even need on Christmas morning, there are so many fellow Vermonters who are just hoping for a roof over their head, a good meal in their stomach, or one toy to cling to for the entire year.
This year, when you are planning what to buy your neighbors or friends, consider making a donation to a local charity in their name. Not only will you be doing something good for your community, the gift of giving will warm your heart as well.
There is something for everyone in the world of charitable donation. Below is a list of local charities you can support financially and also some ideas of ways you and your family can give back this Holiday season!
“The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Burlington, Vermont provides emotional support, comfort, and temporary lodging to families with children receiving medical treatment at Vermont Children’s Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care. In addition, Ronald McDonald House Charities provides assistance and support for children through various programs within our region.”
Our family has cooked in the Ronald McDonald kitchen to provide meals for their residents. It’s a great opportunity to serve a local organization as a family! You can donate towards their Wish List here.
“For over 120 years, Lund has been making a positive and lasting difference in the lives of women, children, and families in our home state of Vermont, and well beyond. We serve over 5,000 people in Vermont each year and hundreds more throughout the country. Lund is a comprehensive treatment center and family support agency, offering an array of integrated services in response to the needs of pregnant or parenting teens and women, adoptive families, and children.”
You can support the Lund Family Center by contributing to their Holiday Wish List as well as making a financial donation. Take the list to the store as a family and then drop it off at the Lund Center together. What a fantastic way to show our kids that Holiday shopping is not just about the newest toys!
“Thousands of our neighbors struggle to meet their food needs. Each year the Vermont Foodbank and our network of partners throughout the state serve as many as 86,000 Vermonters in need of emergency food assistance.”
We know that many of our neighbors are in need of support when shopping for food for their families. Supporting the local food banks is a really easy and obvious way to give during the Holidays and all year round. Just $1 can help provide three holiday meals. With a gift of $35 you can send loved ones or business associates a holiday card letting them know a donation has been made in their name to the Vermont Foodbank.
Check out these stats for the Hunger Free Vermont website: 13% of all Vermont households are food insecure. More than 25,000 children under 18 live in food insecure households (21%). More than 84,000 Vermonters of all ages live in food insecure households (14%). 32% of Vermonters cannot afford either enough food or enough nutritious food.
Donate in honor of your family this Holiday season and they will send you a place card to display at each place setting during your big Holiday meal.
“The Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) provides emergency shelter, services, and housing for people who are homeless or marginally housed in Vermont.”
COTS is a fantastic organization that serves the homeless in our community. You can support COTS by making a donation, buying items for their wish list or by taking part of their Holiday Giving program. Another great way to get the entire family involved in making a difference.
“Spectrum is a nationally recognized leader in homeless youth programs. We have been offering shelter and community to Vermont’s homeless and at-risk youth, and their families, for 42 years.”
This would be a great organization to donate to on behalf of a teen in your life. What better gift to give than showing our kids that instead of the latest gadget, we are helping disadvantaged kids in their honor! You can donate to Spectrum financially or by providing items on their wish list.
We’ve all seen the Toys for Tots barrels around town. Toys for Tots provides gifts to over 14 million kids each year. Consider donating a new toy to be distributed to a child in need right here in Vermont. Check out the website for guidelines and to find a donation center near you.
“Lake Champlain International (LCI) is a federally recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization actively involved in shaping the future of Lake Champlain’s water and fisheries health for the well-being of the people who depend on it today and tomorrow. To protect, restore, and revitalize Lake Champlain and its communities, LCI educates, advocates, and motivates to ensure that Lake Champlain is swimmable, drinkable, and fishable, understanding that healthy water resources are essential for a healthy economy and a healthy community.”
This is the perfect place to make a donation on behalf of your Lake Champlain loving friends and family!
“Local Motion is a member-supported non-profit organization promoting people-powered transportation and recreation for healthy and sustainable Vermont communities.”
Looking for the perfect gift for that running, biking, outdoor loving person in your life? Make a donation to Local Motion in their name!
Donating to the Humane Society will be the perfect way to honor your animal loving friends and family during the Holidays. Wrap a doggie bone in a card stating you’ve made a donation on their behalf!
ANEW Place serves the homeless community in Vermont. There are many ways to give to support their mission on their website. Stop by their holiday gift wrapping station at the University Mall!
Other ways to give during the Holidays
The Salvation Army partners with many local charities by setting up giving trees in local stores. And we all recognize the infamous bell ringers! One of the strongest memories I have as a child is going Christmas shopping as a family and my Dad giving us money to put in the red box. We’ve also blessed bell ringers with a cup of hot coffee on cold days!
Visit a nursing home! Many elderly people in nursing homes do not have family to visit them during the Holidays. Call your local nursing home and ask if there is a time your family can come visit, play games, sing Christmas carols and spend time with their residents.
Vermont 2-1-1 is a program of the United Ways of Vermont. By dialing 2-1-1, you can get information about health and human service organizations in your community. Learn more about them on their website. If you are looking for help yourself or would like to know what programs are out there to support or volunteer with, call 2-1-1 for a list of resources in your area!
Random acts of kindness. Buy the coffee of the person behind you. Shovel your neighbor’s driveway. Let someone go ahead of you in line. Buy a homeless person a hot meal. It’s the little things that make a difference!