The rumors are true: We’re really into holiday shopping here at Purch. Our writers and editors have a common mission to help people buy better, every day, and that mission gets kicked into high gear this time of year. But Purchers aren’t just savvy shoppers and deal finders — we’re also volunteers, philanthropists and all around do-gooders.
So in the spirit of giving back, we’ve brainstormed a list of ways that we (and everyone else) can help out in our communities over the busy weeks ahead. These excellent ideas were inspired by two Purchers who make doing good their mission both at work and in their personal lives — Juli Weber, Purch’s organizational development manager and Jeannie Mitchell, our New York office manager.
1. Donate to a food or clothing drive. You can also help organize a drive at your workplace, school or other community organizations or organize a mini drive among friends and family members.
Pro tip: Gamify your food or clothing drive by asking people to bring in different categories of items each week or create donating “teams” and award the team that donates the most!
2. Donate household items. Want to donate something a little more specific? Or perhaps you have an abundance of something — diapers, toys, toilet paper — that someone else could use? Consider dropping these items off at a local shelter.
Pro tip: It’s always a good idea to call shelters before dropping off donations. Some shelters only accept certain goods, while others may have specific requests for items they need most.
3. Donate toys. Lots of organizations collect toys and games during the holidays for kids in need. And let’s face it: Shopping for toys is fun for grownups, too! So get out there and make a kid’s day.
Pro tip: Some organizations have “wish list” programs that connect people who want to donate gifts with specific individuals in need of gifts for themselves or their children. Participating in these programs is a great way to make personal connections while giving back.
4. Collect cash for food. Sometimes, collecting food or other items can be logistically difficult (Where do you keep all the donations you receive? How do you get a box of canned goods across town on the subway?) Consider collecting money instead. You can decide ahead of time what cause you’d like to make a cash donation to or use the money you collect to buy items to donate.
Pro tip: If you plan on donating food with the money you collect, give your local food pantry a call first. They may have specific requests during the holiday season, says Purch’s Juli Weber — and she should know! Juli recently purchased several frozen turkeys with money donated by employees in our Ogden, Utah, office after hearing on the news that local food pantries were quickly running out of this popular ingredient for holiday meals.
5. Donate your time. Giving your time is one of the most generous things you can do during the busy holiday season. Whether you spend some time stocking shelves at the food pantry or visiting with seniors, you’re guaranteed to connect with people in your community in a meaningful way.
Pro tip: Volunteering is a great thing to do during the holidays, but volunteers play an integral role in communities every day! Try to keep the holiday spirit alive by finding a volunteer role that you can carry out all year long.
6. Practice random acts of kindness! If the prospect of volunteering or organizing a food drive seems a bit daunting to you in these final weeks of the year, don’t worry; every little bit of giving back counts. Whether it’s stopping by a relative’s house for an unexpected visit, shoveling your neighbor’s portion of the sidewalk or giving an unexpected compliment — your smallest acts can make a big difference in someone’s day.
Pro tip: When thinking of small ways to give back, focus on your strengths; Let the simple things you excel at guide your giving!
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