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The holiday season is upon us. While so many of us get bogged down in worries such as shopping lists and holiday greeting cards, many families in our area are worried about where their next meal will come from, or how they will keep their children healthy and warm this winter. Now is the perfect time to start a tradition of giving back to the community and those who live in it. The Healthy Path Foundation shares five ways to give back to families in need this holiday season.

  1. Drop off nutritious food to local food banks. So many families in our area go without food, including families with young children. While giving is needed all year long, the holidays are a great time to get started. Foods that are highly nutritious but still non-perishable, such as healthy canned vegetables and fruit in natural juices, are in high demand at food kitchens and food banks throughout all of New York.

  1. Drop off essentials at non-profit organizations and shelters. Struggling families in our area are in need of so much more than just food. Donating essentials, such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, razors, and deodorant help parents and children to maintain proper hygiene, improving their physical health conditions as well as mental welfare. Cold weather accessories such as scarves and gloves, warm coats, and even blankets are also of dire need for many families. Donating unopened personal essentials and good condition winter must-haves, can go a long way in improving the lives of many local families this holiday and beyond.

  1. Adopt a family. Many local organizations and religious groups such as Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, and even local malls and shopping centers, offer an adopt-a-family program. These programs allow people to donate to specific families to meet their specific needs, whether it’s food, clothing, toys for the kids or any other needs. Gift cards are also a popular method of donations with adopt-a-family programs. Gift cards are a good option to make it easy for those donating as well as for the recipients, providing them with the opportunity to go out and get exactly what they need for their families.

  1. Serve at a soup kitchen or drive for meals on wheels. With the increased amount of traffic that soup kitchens see during the holiday season and the extra demand for meal delivery, these organizations are in desperate need of help. Providing a little extra support when you can, even if on one holiday of the year, greatly helps non-profit organizations to meet the demand and help so many. Taking a hands-on approach to helping families in your community this holiday season will benefit you as much as the recipients of the food.

  1. Read a story to a sick child at a local hospital. Lifting the spirits can go a long way to help with the healing process. Reading a story to a sick child at a local hospital is a great way to lend a helping hand to support the child as well as their family. Small acts of kindness such as this help the recipient’s mental and emotional state. This is also a great activity that you can involve your own children in. They can bring a book or small toy to another child in need in the hospital and learn first hand about giving back to their community and exhibiting compassion.

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