12 Ways to Give Back to the Community: Holiday Edition

12 Ways to Give Back to the Community: Holiday Edition

By: Sarah Dirks


November 7, 2022

The holiday season is also considered the season of giving—so if you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit—find ways to give back to your community!

Whether you’re interested in donating your money, volunteering or running a race for charity—take a break from the family dinners, holiday parties, and office white elephant celebrations to be charitable this season.

We’ve put together a list of ways to give back to your community during the holidays. Keep reading for some charitable acts to share with family and friends!

1. Host a Holiday Food Drive

Hosting a holiday food drive is a great way to give back during the holidays. Host at your office or school to help keep food banks stocked in your community.

Before hosting, be sure to reach out to your local food bank to get suggestions and discover their needs during the holidays. Get everyone involved (including family and friends), and don’t forget that you can organize a food drive or charitable effort any time of the year (not just during the holidays).

You can also host a virtual food drive—where people donate money online that food banks can use to buy items and groceries at a discount. Fundraising for your local food bank or pantry allows them to buy the specific items they need. Plus—it’s a simple, yet rewarding, way to give back to others!

Check out this blog from Feeding America for even more tips to host a food drive this season.

man putting food away at a food bank

2. Volunteer at a Local Food Bank or Meal Program

Volunteering at, or donating to, your local food bank is an awesome way to give back during the winter. Be sure to contact your local food bank well in advance, as spots can fill up fast during the holidays. Most food banks accept healthy, non-perishable items—but check with the food bank first for drop-off information, hours and needed items.

Meal programs serve prepared meals to the hungry at lower prices (or sometimes free). Spend time prepping meals, serving or cleaning up at a local meal program this season. Find a location in your area by searching online, or check out The Salvation Army’s network of soup kitchens and food pantries to locate a site near you.

3. Help a Child’s Wish Come True

The holiday season is an extra special time to donate to the Make-A-Wish Foundation! This organization has been granting life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses since 1980. One easy way to support this foundation and get classrooms, scout troops and more involved is to write letters to Santa. For every letter, Macy’s donates $1 to Make-A-Wish (up to $1 million). You can also contribute to this organization during the holidays (and year-round) through community fundraising, donations, volunteering and more.

4. Read to Kiddos

Celebrate the holidays with your kiddos and a good book! Pick your favorite festive children’s book and volunteer to read it to your child’s class. Make sure to check with their teacher and the school for details. Volunteering at your child’s school is beneficial to the school and your child—so be sure to help out during the rest of the school year, too!

Many public libraries offer read aloud programs in which volunteers spend time reading to children. Take time this holiday season to encourage kiddos to read and volunteer to share your favorite holiday stories!

volunteer to read for your child's class

5. Consider Donating to Toys for Tots

U.S. Marine Toys for Tots is an organization that collects new, unwrapped toys to give to less fortunate children at Christmas. You can donate money or new, unwrapped toys, as well as contribute to their literacy program or start your own fundraising campaign. Keep in mind, collections usually wind down in early December for Christmas distribution. Find your local campaign here. (Many Store Space locations also serve as drop-off locations for this organization!)

6. Give Blood

Giving blood may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of giving back, but the need for blood is great, especially during the holidays. Reach out to American Red Cross (you must be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds), go to the Red Cross website or use the Blood Donor App to help save lives this season.

run for a charity cause

7. Run for a Cause

Whether you’re passionate about a certain charitable organization, eager to get active, or want to run off those extra helpings from Thanksgiving dinner—a holiday race is an excellent opportunity to give back to the community. Many of these races raise money for certain organizations or local charities.

Do some research and find a race that supports an organization you’re passionate about! There are normally entrance fees, and the proceeds go to the chosen charity. The runner’s high is even better when you know you’re helping others. Find a calendar of events in your hometown by searching online for “holiday races near me!”

women walking outside with shopping bags while it is snowing

8. Support Local Businesses

Another way to help your community during the holidays is to shop local. The past few years have been tough for everyone, but especially small businesses. Shop local Saturday doesn’t have to be reserved for the day after Black Friday, show your support and buy Christmas gifts from local shops and boutiques all season long.

If you’ve already done your Christmas shopping, or you’d like to cut spending during the holiday season, leave a raving review of your favorite places, tell your friends and family about the best local boutique, and be active on your top local business’ social media. It’s free, and it benefits small businesses.

couple petting a white dog at an animal shelter

9. Help out a Local Animal Shelter

Many animal shelters are reliant on people who donate their time to help our furry friends. Contact your local shelter and volunteer! It may not always be belly scratches and play time—but helping to better the lives of pets is a gratifying experience!

If your holiday event calendar is looking full, donate pet items instead of your time. You should check with your local shelter ahead of time, but many accept wet/dry food for dogs and cats, treats, toys, gently used pet beds and blankets, cleaning supplies and more. Here are a few more ideas to help out your local animal shelter.

cat sitting near Christmas lights
Photo by Jasmin Schuler on Unsplash

10. Adopt a Pet

Give a furry friend a forever home this holiday season. Adopting a pet is a special experience—but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Make sure you are prepared to deal with the responsibilities of being a pet owner and that you have the resources (financial and otherwise) to take care of an animal.

Giving a pet as a gift to a loved one may be tempting, but it should be carefully considered. Your friend or family member may not be up for the long-term commitment that is required as a pet owner. If you’d really like to gift a pet this season, be sure to discuss it with your loved one ahead of time.

11. Be a ’Layaway Angel’

Buying things on layaway is common during the holidays. Layaway allows families to make payment installments on reserved items, instead of paying all at once upfront. Give back to families in your community by paying or contributing to someone’s layaway balance! Check with individual stores or join a program like Pay Away the Layaway to help spread kindness and ease some of the financial burden on families this season.

man shoveling snow in front of a house

12. Spread Holiday Cheer

It may sound cliché, but spreading joy is another way to give back. Random acts of kindness can make someone’s day. Consider shoveling snow for a neighbor, writing letters to members of the military, volunteering at a local nursing home, buying lunch for a homeless person, baking cookies or caroling!

FAQs: Ways to Give Back to the Community This Holiday Season

With so many give back opportunities during the holiday season, we understand if you have a few questions. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about ways to give back to your community.

How can I help people during this holiday season?

A: If you’re wondering how to give back to the community this holiday season, you’re in the right place! Read our blog above for ideas including volunteering, donating and more. You can also show your support for charities and organizations on social media, donate flight miles, donate to a charity in a friend’s name, and much more!

How can I give back to my community?

A: Even though we’ve covered a number of ways you can give back to your community during the holidays, you can (and should) give back all year long! Read our blog on how to be charitable year-round for ideas!

How do you give back to the community at Christmas?

A: Check out some of our ideas above to give back to your community at Christmas! Consider volunteering at local food banks, meal programs and more, donating to a charity or organization you’re passionate about, supporting local businesses or running for a cause!

What can you do to contribute to the community as a student?

A: There are a variety of ways you can contribute to society and give back to the community as a student. Start by spreading awareness about topics you are passionate about or charities you support, help to create a healthy environment (recycle, pick up trash), and volunteer with your friends or school at food banks, meal programs, animal shelters and more.

Wrapping it Up: Ways to Give Back to the Community This Holiday Season

There are many creative ways to give back to the community during the holidays, and hopefully, we’ve inspired you to get out there and donate—your time, money, holiday cheer and more!

What is your favorite way to give back during the holidays? Let us know in the comments below!

Our motto “Storage That Cares,” means we care for our customers AND our communities. We support local and national charities throughout the year like Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Toys for Tots, Wounded Warrior Project, American Heart Association, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Save The Children and more.

Sarah Dirks content writer

Sarah Dirks is a Content Writer for Store Space who enjoys watching movies, being active and cheering for the Boston Red Sox.


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