As the weather cools, it’s a perfect time to put your volunteer skills to work to help others. Here are some ways you can warm hearts—and bodies—this winter by helping others.
Feed those in need.
When you’re homebound, not feeling well, or food insecure, having someone deliver a warm meal can be enormously comforting and nourishing in more ways than one. Meals on Wheels or volunteer at food pantry or soup kitchen. You could also share your bounty. If you have friends or acquaintances that can’t make it home to their families this season, invite them over for a meal on the holiday or another day. You could even plan a potluck with a purpose. Or simply make a little extra and deliver a meal to an unsuspecting neighbor. If you suspect food insecurity is an ongoing issue with a family, you could also help them get the food assistance they need.
Help them stay warm.
During the cold-weather months, people need garments and other items to stay warm. Hold a drive to collect coats, hats, gloves, and blankets for a local homeless shelter, domestic violence shelter, or other nonprofit that can distribute the items to people who need them. Got a knack for knitting? Put those needles to good use and donate a blanket or two to Project Linus in support of helping children in need. Wool Works can help you find local knitting needs as you search by state.
Keep the heat on.
Heating and utility costs during winter months can climb quickly. If you know someone who is struggling to pay their utility bills, contact the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides federally funded assistance in managing costs associated with home energy bills, energy crises, weatherization, and energy-related minor home repairs.
For immediate needs, such as those caused by extreme weather or power outages. Find a local shelter and research opportunities by state. FEMA can also help you find a warming station or shelter in which to volunteer. Many are set up immediately before impending storms, at libraries, police stations, senior centers, and local schools. Another way to find shelters is through FEMA’s s Just text SHELTER and your zip code to 43362 (4FEMA).
Help them get home.
If a friend or loved one is traveling home for the holidays or is planning on visiting friends or family, offer to give them a ride to or from the airport or train station. It’s a simple way to help alleviate their stress.
Send a warm greeting.
Has someone gone above and beyond for you this year? Write a card or letter to a friend, family member, or others to express appreciation. Also think about writing a letter to reconnect with someone important to you. You could also spread warmth and cheer by writing a letter to veterans through Operation Gratitude. They even include a guide to help you craft your message.
Give the gift of bouncing back.
Sometimes, the people in your life who are struggling just need a helping hand. You can help others get the services they need, land a new job, or leave a difficult domestic situation and get the care, counseling, and support they need. If you notice something is amiss, offer your friendship and support.
Looking for more ways to give back this time of year? Visit Create the Good® online to find more ways to help.
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