Are you looking for easy ways to give back this Thanksgiving? I polled my audience and compiled the best (and easy!) ideas that you can use to give back this year.
It’s been a crazy 2020, and I can barely believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner. It seems like it was April yesterday! Despite the harsh realities of COVID-19 and not being able to see my friends and extended family, I haven’t lost sight of the big picture. For me, there’s plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. My kids and my husband are my entire world, and I’m forever grateful for the incredible amount of support I get from people reading my blogs and following me on social media.
The spirit of Thanksgiving is all about showing gratitude and recognizing those who are less fortunate than yourself. And just because 2020 hasn’t been the best year ever, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things we can be grateful for. I reached out on Instagram for some easy – but meaningful – ways to give back this Thanksgiving. I have combined your suggestions with a couple of favorites that my family and I usually do this time of year.
Here are 8 easy ways to give back:
1) Donate blood
This won’t cost you a cent, only a tiny bit of your time. The blood you give is a lifeline for the hundreds of thousands of patients that need long-term treatment. Your blood will almost definitely help to save the lives of others, with most donations going towards blood transfusions. Not sure where or how to give blood? It’s easy. Download the Red Cross app to find the closest blood drive to you and make an appointment.
2) Give to the World Wildlife Fund
My kids love animals, especially Ty, so when I asked them if they thought (symbolically) adopting a polar bear was a good idea, they were as excited as I’d ever seen them. It’s not just a symbolic gesture, donating to the World Wildlife Fund or a similar organization really does make a difference. Plus, it’s teaching my children about the benefits of conservation and respecting every animal. My whole family feels like we’re giving thanks to a project we really believe in. I’ve been reading so much about climate change and deforestation recently so I knew I had to show my gratitude to the tireless people who battle to save our planet on the frontlines.
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3) Volunteer at a local animal shelter
You can help out animals a little closer to home too. Volunteering at a local animal shelter is a perfect way of giving thanks. Lend your hand to help feed, bathe and show some love to abandoned pets who want a hearty meal and big belly rub.
4) Show your work friends how much they mean to you
This is such an easy way to give back, but it means so much to people. Leave some notes around the office or add an extra line to your emails to show your thanks to the colleagues that make your workplace feel like your second home. If you’re still working from home instead of at the office, try sending a handwritten note instead of an email.
Try to include something personal for everyone you’re sending a message to. An additional line where you can laugh about a shared adventure or remembering the names of their loved ones is a great way to get onside and show how grateful you truly are.
5) Cut back on single-use plastic
Have you considered giving back to our big blue planet? If you’d also like to support the environment, but on a much smaller budget, committing to eliminating single-use plastics might be the way for you.
I’ve started with saying “no thank you” to plastic straws in my life, and I’ve got to say, once you use a metal, reusable straw, you can never go back. I can just about remember science class when I was a young girl being told that metals are great conductors of heat. They keep cool stuff cool and warm things warm. A metal straw in a cold drink keeps that drink ice-cold for longer. My kids love them and we even take them along with us to restaurants so we don’t need to use plastic straws.
6) Donate to a food bank
Having three kids, you simultaneously feel like you’ve got no food in the house, while you’re also throwing away dozens of out of date items every time you empty your fridge. There are always a least a few cans tucked in the back of my drawers that I’ve forgotten about.
So instead of letting them go to waste, why not donate them to a food bank? Or better yet, during your next shopping trip, add a few items onto your shopping list and donate those. Some of the best items to donated to food banks are brown rice, oatmeal, pasta, canned chicken, canned fish, and applesauce. You are likely already going grocery shopping on a regular basis so this is an easy way to give back without adding a lot of hassle.
7) Pass on your old clothes
Amazingly, all three of my children have seemed to have had a growth spurt all at the same. A lot of their clothes can be saved as hand-me-downs, but some of them can be passed on. The in-demand item currently?….Coats! If you have spare coats lying around this winter, please consider donating them to a school, charity or shelter. I can’t think of a better metaphor for the warm embrace of thanks than the feeling you get wrapping yourself up in a toasty winter coat. Let’s make sure everyone stays heated this winter.
8) Give toys to foster children
When kids aren’t growing out of their clothes, they’re growing out of their toys. One of the best things you can do this Thanksgiving and Christmas is to donate your children’s unused toys to foster homes. There the toys will be divided up and given to the children who may not be getting a big visit from Santa this season.
One thing I love doing with my kids is to do a Secret Santa type experience for a foster child. We go to the store and pick out one gift for a specific child, wrap it, and then gift it to them. It’s an easy way to give back, but also very meaningful!
9) Send a care package to one of our troops
America isn’t perfect, but we are so lucky to be able to live in the kind of country we do with freedoms that others around the world sadly don’t get to enjoy. Our troops make that possible. Give thanks to them by sending a care package overseas. Fill a shoebox with the most ‘USA’ items you can think of to give them a taste of home.
10) Remember that the little things count
And finally, a really easy way to give thanks is by committing to being a more grateful human being. Be someone willing to go the extra mile in their community. Help put someone’s shopping cart away at the store. If someone looks lost, ask if they need directions. We don’t need to make grand one-off gestures ahead of Thanksgiving. Instead, we’d be much better off serving our community in small, regular acts of kindness. Even little steps are great progress if they’re moving you in the right direction.
Do you have any ideas of ways to give back? Comment below so together we can compile a great list of easy ways to give back that everyone can use!