giving back

Giving Back This Holiday Season!

The holiday season is a time for giving back to friends, family, and those that are less fortunate than ourselves.  There are many people right here in Massachusetts that need help more than ever, especially during this time of year.  We know that finances are tight but even donating your time to one of these events can make a huge difference!

Holiday Market To Benefit Breast Cancer Fund – This holiday bazaar is being hosted by William Raveis Real Estate on Saturday, December 1st at their Back Bay office in Boston.  Get a jump start on your holiday shopping and support a great cause at the same time.  All vendors are donating 10% of their proceeds to the William Raveis Breast Cancer Fund which benefits the American Cancer Society.  Local restaurants have provided light snacks and there will also be a 50/50 raffle and many other raffle items available.  Stop by this Saturday and find a truly unique gift for that special someone!

Winter Walk 2012 – This holiday season two of Boston’s biggest charities fighting homelessness , Homestart and Hearth are teaming up for Winter Walk 2012.  This event is a charity walk on the Boston Common December 2, 2012 that is about ending homelessness one step at a time.  These charities want to educate participants of the harsh realities of living outside during a New England winter, and encourage people to find out how they can help.  The first step is signing up for this walk, you can register online or on the day of the event.   Registration begins at 1 PM and Opening Ceremonies begin at 2 PM, followed by the walk.  The route consists of two laps around the Boston Common and ends with a cup of warm tea and a celebration amongst all walkers.  Sign up or donate today, winter is especially difficult on the local homeless and you can help make all of the difference for them this season!

Cookie Swap For A Cause – Who doesn’t love cookies?  Boston Food Swap is hosting their 2nd Annual Cookie Swap for a Cause on Sunday, December 16, 2012 from 2PM-5PM at Space With A Soul in Boston.   For every cookie that is swapped, the Glad to Give campaign will donate $1 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to support research for new and improved pediatric cancer therapies.  If you bake over 4 dozen cookies, you get free admission!  If you make less than 4 dozen cookies, or don’t plan on baking and just wanted to enjoy some sugary goodness tickets are $15.  If you don’t plan on baking and purchase your ticket after December 2nd, tickets are $20 per person.  Tickets are limited so get them while they last and take this opportunity to support this children’s charity!

Globe Santa – This yearly program benefits local families and collects donations to provide holiday gifts to children in need.  This wonderful charity began in 1956 and has continuously provided support and holiday cheer to local families. Last year they raised over $1.2 million to help 32,240 local families during the holiday season and this year their goal is even bigger, $1.4 million!  100% of all donations go to the purchase and delivery of these gifts so every penny counts!  You can even host your own event to benefit the Globe Santa and stir up some healthy competition between Santa and his Elves, for more information click here.

However you choose to give back this holiday season, keep the less fortunate in mind!  Your time and donations are what help make their holidays merry and bright, and these organizations could not do nearly as much for their beneficiaries without the help of generous donors and volunteers!

Photo By: USACE Europe District



What Can You Do To Give Back?

Giving back is something we should all do to ensure that our community is as strong as it can possibly be.  When you donate time or money to a good cause, not only does it feel good, but you are improving the lives of those around you and building a stronger connection to your environment.  There are many additional benefits that come from volunteering, such as exposing you to different social situations.  Meeting new people who are passionate about the same cause is a great way to make new friends and contacts.  It’s also a great social outing if you are looking for something to do.

So, what type of volunteering is right for you?  There is something for everyone these days.  If you love animals, there are shelters all across the state looking for volunteers to walk dogs, clean cages, feed, and maintain their animals.  If you love being outdoors, especially in the summer, check out National Parks, and local monuments who may be seeking volunteers to clean up or maintain their land.  Love spending time with kids?  Offer to volunteer to coach a sports team or  an after-school program.  Senior centers, libraries, and places of worship are also great places to check out.

If you want to do something on your own, there are always ways to help others.  For example you could start a food drive to benefit a local homeless shelter.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just type up a letter explaining what you are doing and who it is benefitting, and staple it to a brown bag.  You can leave the bags in your neighbors mailbox and just let them know when you will be back to pick up their donation.  Another thing to do on your own?  Put together goodie bags for soliders overseas.  Many of them need basic supplies such as shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, and Q-Tips.  Baby wipes are also great things to send over as well as a few small treats like gum or candy.  If you ask around at local hotels, many would be willing to donate such items for a good cause.

If you’re not sure where you would like to start, check out some of these volunteering opportunities with organizations across Massachusetts.

Greater Boston Food Bank – The Greater Boston Food Bank is working towards ending hunger in eastern Massachusetts.  It is one of the largest food banks in the country and last year they donated over 35 millions of pounds of food, which they could not have done without the help of their 14,000 volunteers.  Their mission is to provide at least 1 meal per day to those in need by 2013.  Volunteers spend their time packaging, sorting, and inspecting items in the warehouse, which are all critical functions to ensure that the food is distributed in a timely manner.

Horizons For Homeless Children – This organization hopes to stabilize families and help break the cycle of homelessness that we are faced with on a daily basis.  They teach children how to read, share, and explore their surroundings while also assisting their parents in getting on their feet again.  They provide programs for parents to get their GED, take college classes, and gain job training.  Volunteers act as Playspace Activity Leaders (PALs) and help children learn and grow through play. Volunteers are required to attend a training session and commit to two hours of volunteer time each week for a 6 month period.

MSPCA – For all of you animal lovers, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), is looking for volunteers in multiple categories.  The need dog walkers, cage cleaners, administrative assistance, and people to simple spend time with and take care of the animals.  You can also become an Advocacy/Legislative Affairs Volunteer, meaning you can help promote and support animal friendly legislation.  For anyone who loves animals, this is an ideal chance to make a difference in their lives.

Don’t wait to start giving back!  There are countless organizations across the state that can use all of the assistance they can possibly get.  Find a cause that you are passionate about and learn how you can help!

Photo By: vastateparkstaff

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