With the holiday season upon us, Chicagoland offers many-an-opportunity to give back and volunteer. Shetland Properties’ wants to detail out a few specific ways to give back this holiday season so you can find the opportunity that works best for you.
Contribute to a Coat Drive
Even the average person, bundled from head to toe, can struggle through just a few blocks of Chicago’s winter weather. It’s no surprise that many of Chicago’s less fortunate could definitely use additional winter wear like coats, hats, gloves, and scarves. Gather all of the unwanted coats in your household and spread the word for your co-workers and neighbors to chip in too. The Salvation Army Coat Drive has collection points all over the city.
Visit a Hospital
There are a surprisingly large number of hospital patients who receive little to no visitors, even during the holiday season. Luckily, many of Chicago’s hospitals have programs that organize volunteer visits. Volunteers can sit with patients and make crafts, play games, enjoy casual conversation, or simply watch a movie. If you can’t make it into the hospital, you can always make a handmade card to be delivered for you. Cards for Hospitalized kids delivers thousands of cards each year.
Do you have a cuddly pet at home? Nothing spreads cheer like a friendly furry creative, and some hospitals also welcome dogs and cats. Lakeview Seniors Pet Therapy can help you determine if you and your pet qualify for the opportunity.
Walmart and Kmart both have layaway programs that allow shoppers to provide anonymous gifts to those in need. Visit the sales counter to hear buying options from a clerk. You can select a gift within your price range and after you purchase the item, the person will be notified to come pick it up.
You can also give back by being mindful of the gifts you already plan on giving. Certain retailers donate a portion of their purchase price to charity. Free trade and other items, like Toms shoes, give back to developing nations and are often very high quality. These make for good-spirited gifts that keep on giving.
Volunteer at a Shelter
Organizations like Chicago Cares connect potential shelter volunteers with training and scheduling. These volunteer opportunities can range greatly: preparing food, serving meals, cleaning, and even administrative work. With so many different volunteer roles, those looking to donate time to a shelter can put their respective skills to use in a variety of ways.
Random Acts of Kindness
Another great way to give back during the holidays is to show kindness to a stranger or neighbor. You could shovel your neighbor’s sidewalk after a snowfall or purchase a cup of coffee for the person behind you in line at Starbucks. Maybe drop off Christmas cards in all your neighbors’ mailboxes telling them something you appreciate about them. And let’s not forget about Christmas caroling, which is not only a time-honored tradition, but also a lovely way to lift the spirits of others.
The holiday season is the perfect time to focus on what’s really important. It’s a special time for us all to reflect on the year behind and cherish the time we spend with our loved ones. With so much love in the air, it’s the perfect time to give back and be charitable.