Holiday Giving‘Tis the season for giving. My favorite season—or, being a Florida girl who needs her sunny weather, my favorite holiday season. Christmas! Hanukah! Kwanzaa! Whatever your holiday celebration in December, it’s still a season of giving.
Most of us think about gift-giving at this time of year, but as much as I enjoy theh idea of presents, today I’d like to talk about a different type of giving. The one that involves your time, your compassion, and your desire to do good for others.
I’m talking about volunteering in your community. Whether it’s just something you do during the holidays (like, helping to serve Christmas dinner at a local shelter) or on a regular basis (like, weekly/monthly visits to a local crisis nursery or animal shelter), I truly believe it’s important for us to consider those who are less fortunate, and find some way to do our part to help them. We can’t all donate financially, and that’s okay. But we can find a few hours, at some point in the week or month or year, to count our blessings and do what we can to make someone else feel special.
As a writer and avid reader, I think about how life-altering it would be to lose my eyesight. The written word is an important part of my daily life. I’ve taken it for granted for many years, until I started volunteering at Minds Eye Radio Station for the Blind at Our Lady of the Snows Shrine in Belleville, Illinois. Find the station at www.mindseyeradio.org
Minds Eye provides special radios to the visually impaired in the metro St Louis area. These radios receive daily broadcasts of the written word, along with other special programs. Volunteers record or read live on-the-air segments featuring local and national newspapers, books, magazines, sale ads, and other articles or items of interest to Minds Eye listeners.
Naturally the station also reaches out to listeners and potential donors/volunteers in other ways as well, so it’s possible to give of your time in many ways. But for me, who relishes a stolen moment with a novel or my weekly Sports Illustrated, and who carves out time for textbooks and assigned reading in my master’s degree program, I find reading for those who can’t a rewarding endeavor.
Translating the written word to the spoken word is a blessing of mine that I can transfer to others. Giving two hours of my time on a weekly basis is one small gift I can give to someone who, if given the chance, would relish an opportunity to read for two hours themselves.
This holiday season, will you be able to find the time to show someone or a group of someones that they aren’t forgotten? Or take a few hours to do for another what you hope someone would do for you if the roles were reversed?
Maybe you already do. Maybe you need some help finding the right organization. Don’t sweat it, help is on the way. Check out the following websites and see what you can find.
www.serve.gov or www.volunteermatch.org
Happy searching. Happy giving. Happy Holidays!