The Chamber’s Easy Guide to Giving Back During the Holiday Season

While we’re all drawing up our wishlists for the holidays, it’s important not to forget that this time of year is about more than just getting presents, eating your heart out, and family festivities. It’s also a time to be generous and compassionate, especially to those less fortunate than ourselves.

Small acts of kindness can have a more significant impact than you might think. Not only are you bringing joy to someone else, but you elevate your own mood, and inspire others to give back as well. It has a ripple effect.

Here are some little ways you can give back before the year ends:

  • Collect canned goods and donate them to a food bank
  • Gather old clothes and donate them to a homeless shelter
  • Run an errand for someone you know.
  • Give someone an unexpected and genuine compliment
  • Generously tip your next server or Uber driver
  • Leave a positive note on someone’s desk or windshield
  • Bring a box of toys to a children’s hospital
  • Have a nice photo of you and a loved one framed and send it to them
  • Bring pet food, toys or blankets to an animal shelter

Read more: The 2017 Chamber Guide for Supporting Local on Small Business Saturday

If you’re looking to donate to a local charity or nonprofit this holiday season, we’ve got you covered. To help make giving back more manageable, we asked members of our Chamber staff to tell us about the non-profit organizations and charities they’ll be donating to this year.

Anna Young
Digital Content Specialist

Chosen non-profit: A local non-profit that I love is the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan. They work to educate the community about recognizing mental health illnesses. The health of your mind is just as important as the health of your body, and the Mental Health Foundation is working to get past the stigma of mental health illnesses so people can seek the treatment they need!

Why she gives back: Giving is so incredibly important any time of year, not just during the holiday season. Everyone can find an issue that matters to them, and in a great community like Grand Rapids, there is probably an organization you can connect with that is working on what you care about!

Ashlie Johnson
Talent Development Program Coordinator

Chosen non-profit: The Boys and Girls Club is a great one to give to.  I believe that our youth are incredibly important because they are the future – PERIOD! Without them being encouraged and mentored, they stand the unfortunate chance of being left behind or falling through the cracks.  This organization makes it possible for youth, without immediate access to guidance, tap into their own genius to reach their full potential. It takes time, commitment, money, and resources for those who serve in this capacity to do so every single day.  Even if you do not have millions of dollars to give, you can be philanthropic with your time. Help someone else tap into their greatness!

Why she gives back: Giving back is something that we should do all year round, not just during the holiday season.  It should be a part of who we are at our core.  We should be constantly seeking ways to serve others. When you give back, it comes back to you through the positive change you make in the lives of those you helped.

Mary Beth Kenyon
Membership Coordinator

Chosen non-profit: I contribute to the United Way. They have a wide variety of Agency Partners, and you can designate who you wish to support. Everything from housing and family crisis needs to education and financial security.

Why she gives back: Giving back is something that was instilled in me ever since I was very young. I have been blessed with never having to worry about food or shelter so we try to do what we can all year round to help those that are not as fortunate, and especially during the holidays when the need seems to be greater.

Kenneth James
Talent Development Program Manager

Chosen non-profit: I always give to Angel Tree. They identify people in need over the holidays, and you can provide gifts to children that normally wouldn’t have any gifts under the tree. My family gets an Angel Tree tag, goes shopping together, and we pick something to donate that we would want to get as a present.

Why he gives back: Sometimes we take things for granted. Growing up, organizations with donation programs helped my family. Now that I’m in a position to give back, I make sure to do my part. There are people less fortunate than I am and I want them to experience a pleasant holiday if they can.

 


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Samantha Suarez Administrator

Samantha is the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce’s resident Communications Specialist.

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