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You don’t have to give credit to me if you don’t wanna. I don’t care, seriously. This isn’t about me…it is about helping others.
Everyone is talking about their holiday shopping and some of you are probably like me—I haven't managed to get the things my own kids want. But if this is the holiday for giving, shouldn’t we also be thinking of others? My kids are healthy and happy. They have a lot of stuff, if not all the stuff they want. We go to sleep in warm, clean beds every night and know we’ll wake up the same in the morning. Not everyone has that. Folks that don’t? I figure they’re probably having a hard time getting through this season. We could make a difference for them, a real difference.
Money is tight. I get that. I don’t have money to throw around either. But I have time. When I can, I try to help out here and there. I also like to look up ways I CAN afford to help more, whether for free or for a small amount of money. Just about everyone can afford to help those who have even less than us this holiday season—folks who aren't WITH their family or are trapped in the sterile walls of a hospital, for instance.
I found a few free/low cost ways you can probably help out this holiday season. I’m not saying do all of them, but maybe there’s something on here that will strike a you. These folks deserve a smile this holiday. Maybe you'll be the one thing that gets them through what is supposed to be a happy season, but for them hasn't been one at all.
Some kids are stuck in a bed surrounded by strangers. Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital and Hanna House could use your help this holiday season. Rainbow Babies & Children is 65% children under the age of 3. That hospital has 244 beds services about 30k people a year, and they once saved my daughter's life. Their wishlist includes items almost anyone can afford—chapstick, band aids, a baby rattle, little things. Read more here:
If you haven't heard of Ronald McDonald's house, they offer a place for sick kids' families to stay with/near their sick child—over SEVEN THOUSAND bedrooms, actually. There are currently 322 Ronald McDonald's Houses in 57 countries and regions. If you've ever visited a sick kid ward and seen a child alone, surrounded by machines and strangers...yeah, it is important they have the support of their family while they’re trying to get well. Not everyone can afford to be there, so this charity offers them a way. There are boxes in almost every McDonald's—you can even just toss a penny in the box after getting a .99 cent burger in the drive-thru. Hey, I get it. Not everyone can afford to give up their change. If you can’t afford to put money in the box, they have another program... You or your business can collect pop tabs to help raise money (through recycling) for the kids. Doesn't sound like it could help much? Some chapters of Ronald McDonald House have raised $30k with pop tabs in a year. They also offer a wishlist including little things like trash bags, stamps, cards, foil and sandwich bags.
Find out more here: http://www.rmhc.org/other-ways-to-help
The Red Cross is no longer doing the Holiday Mail for Heroes, but you can still go to their website to find ways you can sign a card for a military service member far from home this holiday season. Instead of one address, they have localized it, and are likely having a 'card making/signing' event in your area. To find out when/where— http://www.redcross.org/support/get-involved/holiday-mail-for-heroes
If you know of other ways to help, go ahead and toss them in the comments section of this post because I try to do this (or something like it) every year. I’ll save your responses and include them next year.
And remember…we’re all in a hurry. It is the holidays! We’ve got places to go, things to do, and not a lot of time to do them. But a smile? A moment of biting back your temper and taking a second to listen? Sometimes those little things can make a big difference, too.
Be kind to each other.