Christmas is such a magical time of year. I’m beyond grateful to provide our children with so many precious memories, experiences, warm meals, and toys. We have all we need and more.
Lately, I’ve been consumed with gift guides, elves on shelves, lights and theatrics. This time of year is not as magical for some of our neighbors, and it’s important to strip it down a bit and give back.
Teaching my children this sentiment is paramount in the way I want to parent them. A giving heart is more powerful than giving toys.
Now, I do love the thoughtfulness of gifting and spreading love to my friends and family in that way. I’ll have you covered in some easy guides for everyone on your list, but it’s more important to me to provide a resource of how you can volunteer your time, services or money this season.
You will feel so warm inside, I promise. 🙂
Some of these are local to the Nashville greater area, and some can be done anywhere!
20 Ways To Give Back This Holiday Season
1. Go into a Walmart and pay off layaway tickets for toys of various families.
Many people try their best to provide gifts for their children, and struggle to make it happen. I love this one, because they are trying so hard to pay and put the pieces of the puzzle together to make it happen. Be sure to tell the cashier to call them and let them know so that they are able to come in and pick up the toys.
2. Adopt a Salvation Army Angel Tree
The Angel Tree Program is a Christmas Assistance program for families who needing help providing gifts and basic needs to their children at Christmas.
We like to let the boys each grab one from the tree. The tag says the age of the person and some of their needs/wants. You return the gifts back and they go to the families so the parents can give them out with dignity.
This is such a great teaching lesson for children. We let Georgie pick out what he thinks would be great for that little child and explain why we are doing it.
3. Give Blood.
You can check with the Red Cross to find a drive near you. It takes little time, and no money.
4. Smile at everyone you see.
Sounds silly, but makes a big impact. It takes no time and no money. Spreads a little Christmas cheer.
5. Offer to babysit for a family member, friend or neighbor for them to be able to Christmas shop for their children.
6. Purchase gifts from charity based organizations.
This way you can cross off two things at once! My favorite is ABLE.
7. Bring Christmas wreaths to the nursing home to hang on their doors.
8. Leave a gift card, baked goods, or any special treat for any service based providers in your life.
The mail carrier, cleaning service, teachers, whoever helps you!
9. Pay for the person behind you in the coffee line.
10. Donate coats to One Warm Coat.
One Warm Coat is a national non-profit organization that works to provide a free, warm coat to any person in need.
You can hold a coat drive, donate coats or funds.
Tennessee Based Organizations
Provides nurturing homes for children in hard places across Tennessee through compassionate on-campus homes and foster families. There are multiple ways you can volunteer through their site, but an easy one is to set up a Meal Train and deliver meals to campus homes.
12. Bridge Ministry
Their weekly outreach takes place each Tuesday evening under the Jefferson Street bridge in downtown Nashville, TN, regardless of the weather. While their praise team leads in worship, our team of volunteers serve a hot meal to homeless friends. A At the end of the service, volunteers distribute bags of groceries, toiletries, and new clothes.
Volunteer opportunities for our Tuesday outreach include: bagging groceries and toiletries at our warehouse facility and helping set up and serve the meal at the event.
YES operates two youth centers that offer educational and recreational programs as alternatives for kids ages 6-18 during after school hours and summer break.
Programs effectively provide inner-city youth a safe place to go where they can engage in social, educational, recreational and cultural development.
They need sponsors that choose a child from the “Angel Cards” which provide specific age and gender appropriate requests of YES kids. They also need people to help with their toy drive and volunteer their time at events.
A referral network with other agencies to provide help for immediate needs and long-term resources. GraceWorks has four program areas that make up the acronym F.I.S.H. — family support, instructional programs, seasonal needs and hunger prevention.
They need volunteers during the week at their Franklin and Fairview locations.
Tennessee Alliance for Kids (TAK) engages the community to meet the emergent and ongoing needs of children in foster care, those at risk of coming into foster care, and those aging out.
Ways you can help:
-Drop off a much-needed item at one of our Safe Rooms, such as a package of diapers or a gift card for a foster parent.
-Organize a drive to provide diapers, formula, and wipes to new mothers or to stock a Safe Room with supplies. Contact TAK to determine current needs.
-Get involved with the Sunshine Club and help provide a special day to a child/children in need.
Franktown Open Hearts is a non-profit organization committed to the success of Franklin’s inner-city youth. We provide Christ-centered mentoring through weekly vocational education and experiences that prepare our underserved youth for the future.
They are looking for volunteers to help with their festival of lights.
Hope Clinic for Women is a faith-based safe and confidential place equipping women, men and families dealing with: unplanned pregnancies, access to women’s healthcare, prevention education, pregnancy loss and postpartum depression. We provide medical care, professional counseling, education classes, case management, mentorship and practical support regardless of age, race, religion or ability to pay.
They are in need of several different volunteer positions from helping with the clothing room to instructors to childcare providers. You can check out the full list of volunteer needs HERE.
Cul2vate is Growing Food and Growing People right here in Nashville, TN. We are a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit comprised of Middle Tennessee residents joining together to fight hunger. Our mission is two-fold:
First, nutritional, produce is grown locally and donated to those without access to fresh vegetables who live in food deserts. Did you know that one in five Nashville residents lives in a food desert? Food deserts as defined by the USDA are neighborhoods that lack healthy food sources, usually in impoverished areas. By providing produce to those in need, hunger can be alleviated one potato or tomato at a time.
Second, those in need are offered a second chance. Individuals who can benefit from a fresh start are offered part-time work, job readiness and life skills training, all with spiritual discipleship in the forefront. These individuals are called “Cul2vators” as they are cultivating new life in the crops they nurture and within their own lives. By working with local partners, we seek to help them with full-time job placement.
There are many different volunteer opportunities, from working on the farm to belonging to a prayer group to helping with data entry.
They build relationships with individuals that are stuck in the cycle of poverty and connect them to the faith community. We provide knowledge, skills and encouragement through relationships and point them to the church that will walk with them throughout life’s joys and struggles. As a result, the Church grows in faith and love as they welcome the poor into their fellowship.
They need Christmas Village volunteers for their event on December 8th.
20. Path Project
Path Project programs are the stepping stones of a path leading to high school graduation and beyond. Each program is designed to equip children relationally and academically to achieve the hopes and dreams that God has uniquely given them.