“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
― Winston S. Churchill
Do you often wonder what or who do give to over the Holiday season? Do you feel overwhelmed searching for a what to offer those in need (even with little money)? Fear not. One way to help is to start with your community, your family or your inner circle. Often giving starts close to home, and there are many families who would be thrilled with as little as a fresh bag of groceries. Trust me, I have been there, and will be receiving a Christmas basket this year, however, I donate something every single year, something fun, that I know I would like to receive. It makes the ripple effect even sweeter. Volunteering at the food bank a few years ago, gave me this deep sense of fulfillment and understanding of what people really need. Furthermore, I could not help but cringe every time I had to pass old mouldy cheese or a rotten tomato to the person in front of me. I agree “waste not want not” but do we really have to pass a bag of wilted lettuce? What is that telling the person who is receiving?: They at the bottom of the food chain, and are not worthy of fresh food.
“As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.”
― Mary Anne Radmacher
This feels wrong to me.
This holiday season, many of you will be scrambling into your cupboard to give to food banks. Instead of dusting off that old can of tomato soup, this is the perfect time to think about what you would love to receive, if God forbid, you needed help over the holidays and throughout the year. Yet, fear not! I have a few suggestions that will not break the bank (unless you want to go all out!):
The best Christmas basket I received was a brand new grocery order. Full of fresh meat (including a Turkey and a ham) and produce. The groceries also included a jumbo jar of Peanut Butter, Nutella, Mayonnaise, Jam, Pasta Sauce etc. Chocolate for me, and treat cereal for the children.
Give generously! Looking in your pantry for that old box of crackers that’s been sitting on the shelf for a year? Why don’t you make a list of your favorite canned soups, like Chunky or Progresso and buy 10 cans of those! On top of providing good veggies these soups contain protein too!
It really is the thought that counts. If you are providing a gift basket for a family with children, ask the parents what the kids love to eat and do not often receive. Forget the Kraft Dinner (they eat that all year). Give good cereal, meat coupons, or even McDonalds Gift Certificates, or Grocery Store gift cards.
What is your favorite toothpaste, soap and detergent? Giving the best for a change will make people feel loved. What are your favorite soaps, bath bubbles, body wash or shaving cream? Seriously, living with 2 teenagers, toiletries run out really fast. So think about donating items which will help a family save somewhere else. (p.s. Toilet paper and paper towels are another example of this).
Last but not least, the Holidays are a time when families cannot afford much for gifts. One year a woman entered the food bank distraught looking for used toys, because she had nothing for her grandchildren. Give cash! Afraid the poor woman will spend some on herself? What if she does? She deserves a present too. However, I bet the only thing she may buy for herself is, nothing, she will spend it on her grandbabies.
You need not be lavishly rich to give like Oprah or Ellen, all you need is your imagination, a list of your favorite things, and you are set.
Whether you are adopting a family, giving to foodbanks, family or church, the people you touch, I guarantee, will pay it forward maybe not this year, yet, in the years to come.
What favorite things do you love and want to pass on over the Holidays? Write them down below and this year, our favorites, will make someone’s life just a little brighter!