5 Ways To Give Back This Holiday Season (2023)

People are always in need during the holidays. But with the events we’ve been dealing with, it’s perhaps more so than ever before.

With so much on people’s shoulders right now, it may be difficult for some to know where to start when it comes to helping. So for those of you asking, “How can I give back this year?”, here are 5 important ways you can do that.

Person hands giving gift in red box how to give back this holiday season

1. Help out local food banks

All throughout the year, there have been long lines of cars at food banks because people have lost jobs. According to Feeding America, food banks were feeding 60 percent more people in June than they do during a normal year.

They need as much supplies as possible to keep feeding people that are desperately in need. While in ordinary times it’d be good to donate food, in these times, it might be better to donate funds as staff may be limited.

If you do want to donate food, contact your local food bank first to see if you can safely donate your physical items. Search on feedingamerica.org or Google to find the ones closest to you.

You can also host a virtual food drive to help raise funds for them. If you feel comfortable and healthy enough, you can choose to be a volunteer at a food bank.

Some of the tasks they need help with include distributing food at drive-thru pantries, packing emergency food boxes, and many other tasks they need done. Don’t be afraid to call your local food banks and just ask them exactly what they need most right now.

2. Support local businesses

Among the groups hurt hardest by the pandemic have been local businesses. In particular, restaurants and bars have had it very hard.

If you’re not comfortable eating at one, many are offering curbside pickup. If you’re really determined to avoid going out at all, Uber Eats or Grubhub will deliver local restaurant food to you.

Beyond the food industry, consider buying from local businesses in other industries. You can buy their gift cards to use at a later date.

If you bought a ticket to an event, if you can afford to, consider not asking for a refund. You can also support local farmers by signing up for a local farm share box. Additionally, if you need help finding other local businesses to buy from, you can search on Locally to buy common goods you typically order.

One last idea you might consider is offering a business payment in advance for future goods or services. You can do it for a local cleaning service, dance class, or other businesses that could be struggling.

3. Give to people in hospitals

Before we were in this situation, there were a lot of people in the hospital with serious illnesses. In normal times, we could all visit them.

But unfortunately, since people with lower immune functions need to be protected, not as many people can visit, if at all. Nonetheless, hospitals and nursing homes have gotten creative with what people can do to show support.

Ask if your local hospitals have iPads to be able to communicate with a sick patient through video chat apps. If they’re lacking in iPads, perhaps you can even donate one.

You can also see if there’s a safe way you can donate care packages, activity kits, and send notes to the patients. Additionally, along with the patients in the hospitals, give support to the family dealing with the situation.

You can give them gift cards for essentials like gas and groceries. You can offer encouragement through text or voicemails, offer to do grocery shopping, or do any tasks they may need to take the burden off of them. That way the family can just focus on enjoying their time with their loved one.

4. Check in on the elderly

Since the elderly are particularly vulnerable during this time, many people have avoided putting them at risk through not visiting them. They’re already very lonely most of the time, but perhaps even more so now.

Keep in consistent contact with your elderly relatives or neighbors to be sure they have everything they need. You can also offer them devices to be able to communicate with you through video chat.

That way even if you can’t physically be with them, they can at least see you, and see all their other loved ones. If you have a caregiver taking care of an elderly relative, be sure they’re being required to wear masks so they don’t put them at risk.

5. Help essential workers

Essential workers from hospital employees to grocery clerks have been doing a lot of helpful work when our society needed it the most. For all that they’ve done for us, we can do many things in return for them.

One big help you can provide is donating personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks. You can search for local groups accepting these donations, or you can donate to First Responders First.

See if it’s possible for you to send food to your local hospitals as well. Any essential workers that are among your family and friends, you can send supportive texts, or offer to do any tasks for them.

For the essential workers such as USPS delivery drivers, servers at restaurants, or cashiers, you can offer them generous tips for the work they’re doing. Perhaps one of the most important things you can do is to follow all safety guidelines in your local community.

As you’re probably are aware, hospitals have been overflooded with patients this year. The more of us that stay healthy by taking care of ourselves and following safety guidelines, the less stress we’ll put on the hospitals.

Selflessly giving back is important during any time, but in this season in particular, it may be one of the most important things we do all year. Consider finding a way to give what you can to help those who are in need during these holidays.

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  1. Maria L Pinto says:

    Good morning Eric. Here is a 6th way to give back this season. Adopt an animal. I did just that on Saturday. I have a 1 /2 year old Tuxedo Cat named Baraka (Egyptian for Blessing), & I adopted a 13 week old Kitten I named Sulek (Indian for Sun) He is a Flame Point with beautiful Blue Eyes. This is the best present ever!

    1. Hi Maria. That’s wonderful. It’s definitely important to remember our four-legged friends in this world that still need our support in these times too.

  2. Maria L Pinto says:

    I meant to say that Baraka is 1 1/2 years old. I need to check for typos next time!