Spread the holiday cheer!

5 Ways to volunteer with your family this holiday season.

In the season of giving, you may find yourself getting caught up in finding the best present for your loved ones; from the newest iPhone to the Nintendo Switch, there are many, many options for gifts. However, giving does not have to be a physical present. With thousands of families and individuals needing food, shelter, and love this holiday season, you and your family can give in a way that impacts the lives of others. Here’s how to get started.


1. Adopt a Family

Gift Ideas: socks, winter hats, mittens, boots, scarfs

Social service agencies, as well as organizations such as family-to-family.org, match people with families in need of necessities, such as clothes, food, and toys. In the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area, where the Benovate office is located, there are more than 900 households in need. We encourage you to check your local area--there could be an even greater need where you live.


2. Homeless Shelter Donations

Gift Ideas: serving meals, blankets and pillows, books, kits with basic hygiene necessities

Whether it’s your time or gifts, homeless shelters are always in need of donations to help others get back on their feet. Giving presents to those at shelters can diminish the isolation homeless folks may feel during the holidays.


3. Make A Visit

Gift ideas: blankets, flowers, slippers, movies

Each year, millions of people are confined to hospitals and care centers during the holidays and, according to Doing Good Together, 60% of these people in hospitals and 50% of these people in senior living centers do not receive any visitors, which can cause loneliness-- especially during the holiday season. Bringing a sense of family to someone without one can be their greatest gift.


4. Provide Meals

Gift ideas: canned goods, peanut butter, rice, noodles

Food banks are always in need of donations, especially during the holiday season. Not sure where to bring your items? FeedingAmerica.org offers a locator on where to bring donations for your local food bank. You could also check Meals on Wheels, which gives meals and social connections to those living independently, which can be a fantastic gift during the holidays.


5. Get Global

Gift ideas: $9 donation (to cover shipping costs), pencils, stuffed animals, toothbrush, coloring books

Operation Christmas Child, an initiative by Samaritan’s Purse, is an international relief organization for children. In this program, volunteers are asked to pack a shoebox with small toys, hygiene items, and school supplies. These shoeboxes are then shipped to children outside of the United States affected by war, poverty, starvation, disease, and disaster.

Volunteering as a family not only helps those in need, but it leaves an impact on your children that will remain long after the batteries on their new drone die out and their fidget spinner stops. With these tips from Benovate, we hope you and your family find time to spread the holiday cheer with others.

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