Ways to give back during the holidays

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By Missy Schrott | [email protected]

‘Tis the season for giving, and there’s no better time to give back to your local community.

There are several ways to share the love during the holidays, thanks to the many local nonprofit organizations collecting donations and offering volunteer opportunities.

If you have an hour, day or weekend to spare, one of the best ways to give back is with the gift of time. If you’re already a volunteer at a local church, shelter or other organization, be sure to put in a few extra hours over the holidays. If you aren’t a regular volunteer, there’s no time like the present to get started.

Volunteer Alexandria is a great resource to find volunteer opportunities near you – both one-time and ongoing. Become a Meals on Wheels deliverer for Senior Services of Alexandria; help serve dinner as part of Meade Memorial Episcopal Church’s Saturday Hot Meal event; sign up to be a Snow Buddy and help remove snow for low-income residents who are unable to this winter – opportunities are everywhere. To learn more, visit www.volunteeralexandria.org or contact your favorite nonprofit.

Volunteering can also be a great family bonding activity over the holidays. Find a group or organization seeking several volunteers and bring the whole family. Or, come up with your own way to give back together. This could involve baking a casserole for an elderly neighbor, delivering care packages with snacks, water bottles and gloves to the homeless people in your neighborhood or something else.

We all know it can be difficult to find time over the holidays, so another great way to give back is by donating.

Clear out the toy box, coat closet or bookshelf for things that you don’t use that are still in good condition. Or, as you’re going down your holiday shopping list, consider adding a few items for those in need. There are various places you can donate, and several nonprofits around Alexandria accept donations both during the holidays and year-round.

Beyond in-kind donations, money can be one of the most valuable gifts to give a nonprofit, as it allows them to buy the things they know they need, and it gives them the funding to continue operating and giving back to the community throughout the year. Donating is typically easy – it can often be done online – and it can make a huge difference in the community this holiday season.

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