There is something magical about the holiday season. Amidst the flurries of wrapping paper, layers of snow, and cups of hot cocoa, communities rally to help those in need, and inherently there is a giving spirit more profound than any other time of year. The urge to do more for others is apparent with every curbside bell ringer, community fundraiser, and donated toy found under the tree for a child in need. Whether you choose to give through volunteer work or philanthropic donations, you’re doing your part to inspire hope in others.
If you want to give back this holiday season, but aren’t quite sure where to start, consider South County Physical Therapy, Inc.’s (SCPT) eight suggestions to get you inspired. Involving the whole family can instill a greater sense of compassion within children and help them to grow into generous and thoughtful adults. Discuss what options make sense for your family, and pick a project that excites and involves everyone.
- Toys for Tots: This initiative, spearheaded by the United States Marine Corps Reserve, distributes toys to children whose families are facing financial hardship and can’t afford to buy gifts. Make a child smile by donating new, unwrapped toys to one of the many drop-off locations spread throughout the region. Click here to find one near you.
- Give Blood: Winter is a notoriously difficult time for collecting blood and blood products, leading to a potentially dangerous decrease of this life-saving resource. Help hospitals and transfusion centers by becoming a blood donor. The American Red Cross provides all the information you’ll need to get started – find a blood drive in your community.
- Volunteer to Serve: There are dozens of food pantries and soup kitchens providing emergency food aid to residents of Worcester County. Locate a food distribution center near you, and help serve those in need.
- Organize a Drive: Rally your business or neighborhood to gather non-perishable food items, winter coats, and toiletries for those less fortunate. There are many organizations that provide a haven for homeless women and children. For a comprehensive list of charitable organizations in Central Massachusetts, click here.
- Sponsor a Family: Community programs like Auburn Youth and Family Services sponsor families for the holidays. As a donor, you can offer food baskets, gifts, or funds to your sponsored family or child.
- Help our Animal Friends: The next time you’re picking up food for your own pet(s), consider your local animal shelter. Shelters rely on volunteers to donate items like cleaning supplies, treats, toys, and linens to keep animals safe and healthy, while they’re waiting for their forever homes.
- Holidays for Heroes: Join the American Red Cross in honoring Military Members and their families during the holidays. Contact your local Red Cross Office for additional details and needs.
- Distribute Nutritious Food: Programs like Rachel’s Table in Worcester, Massachusetts work to end hunger and decrease the amount of wasted, nutritious food by distributing it from businesses and farms to 35 local shelters, pantries, and soup kitchens. Help Rachel’s Table and families, children, and seniors in need by distributing food or volunteering to answer the food donation hotline. Others include the Worcester County Food Bank, the Community Harvest in Grafton and Harvard, and more.
From our SCPT family to yours, thank you for spreading the spirit of the holidays throughout Central Massachusetts and beyond. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of many.