Last-minute Ways to Give Back for the Holidays

From talking on the phone to senior citizens to helping kids in foster care get their wish, here's how to give back this holiday season.

The holiday season is in full swing. By now, you’ve probably ordered gifts for everyone on your list, have your cookies baked, and have cocktail recipes on standby for all your Zoom happy hours. Now, there’s just one thing left to do: give back.

Now’s the perfect time to sit and reflect on what a wild year it’s been. It’s also a time to count your blessings, and give back where you can to those who may need a little helping hand. Here are a few last-minute ways you can give this season to ensure everyone feels a little love.

Christmas clothes donation. Cute hand drawn family in Christmas hats holding donation boxes.
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Donate gifts via One Simple Wish

One Simple Wish is an organization dedicating to helping every child feel “love, hope and joy.” The organization, which comes with a four-star rating on Charity Navigator, allows anyone to send a little gift to a child in the foster care system for the holidays and beyond. “When wishes come true, kids not only have a chance to just be kids, but they can also make important connections, experience new things and find their passion,” the website explains. Kids can ask for everything from toys to school supplies, experiences, and more. Peruse the wishes and fulfill the ones that feel right to you here.

Donate services to Meals on Wheels

Perhaps one of the most well-known charitable organizations in the nation, Meals on Wheels is actually a “nationwide network of community-based, non-profit programs.” That means even though it’s a massive collective, individual branches are still in need of local help. Volunteering with Meals on Wheels means dropping off desperately-needed meals to older members of your own community and becoming a vitally important connection for that person. See holiday volunteer opportunities here.

Donate a call with Social Call

Giving this season can be as simple as making a call to a new friend. Social Call can help you do just that by matching volunteers with an older adult for a phone call or video once a week for about 30 minutes. “We all benefit from better social connections! We provide an avenue for you and older adults to grow wonderful relationships through swapping stories, asking interesting questions of one another, and more,” the organization explained. Learn more and sign up to make some calls here.

Donate money (and get a gift in return) via Next Adventure

Travel lovers can give back and get a gift in return by donating to a conservation project via Next Adventure. This season, the travel company Next Adventure is curating a list of stellar conservation projects in Africa for travelers to donate to. And, to make the deal a little sweeter, Next Adventure is offering to match any contributions to these projects up to $500 with a matching credit toward travel arrangements between now and the end of 2022. See more about the program here.

Stacey Leasca is a journalist, photographer, and media professor. Send tips and follow her on Instagram now.

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