Season of Giving
The holiday season often encourages us to count our blessings and to remember those less fortunate.
Many nonprofit organizations count on that sentiment to translate into significant monetary donations at this time of year.
'Tis the season of giving, but with a slowly recovering economy, many household budgets are still tight for the holidays.
Even with the successful kick off of "Giving Tuesday," which encouraged people to make donations with the same gusto as Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers, many nonprofits expect to see donations drop sharply this holiday season.
Giving doesn't have to stop when the budget gets tight. Simple acts of charity can be just as rewarding for you and your family. It can be as easy as purchasing a few extra cans of food at the grocery store, helping a neighbor with yard work or going through closets at home to donate gently used items.
As you go through your holiday season, look for simple ways to give.
The Gift of Warmth
With winter officially about to set in, local nonprofits are requesting warm clothing and bedding for their clients.
Barrett Walker, executive director of the Sandhills Coalition for Human Care, suggests the following items, which would be appropriate for any nonprofit distributing clothing: coats; blankets; hats and gloves; diapers, new socks and underwear (any sizes); and of course, gently used sweaters and pants or jeans.
With the frequent sales between now and Christmas, the cost of an item can be minimal.
Helping Neighbors Near and Far
Donate old cellphones, eyeglasses, hearing aids, computers and ink cartridges the Lions Club or other civic organizations.
Give the "gift of life" - donate blood. Call the Moore County Chapter of the American Red Cross at (910) 692-8571 for information.
Share your old magazines or books with a neighbor or give them to a local nursing facility.
Say thanks to members of the military, local firefighters, police officers or others who perform special services for the community.
Offer to babysit for a neighbor for an hour or two to give him or her chance to wrap packages or finish up Christmas shopping.
Remember Furry Friends
While the needs of Moore County's various animal organizations can vary, many often need of the basics--food and gently used towels and blankets among other items.
Pamela Partis, of the Moore County Pet Responsibility Committee, says these items are often found on wish lists provided by animal organizations:
Dry cat and dog food; hand sanitizer; canned cat and dog food; non-clumping cat litter; paper towels; toilet paper; liquid laundry detergent; 13 and 30-gallon trash bags; AA batteries; office supplies, including notebook binders; cat toys and beds; dog toys; gently used towels and blankets
Partis adds that those interested in donating should contact an organization directly or check its website for a donation wish list to find out what specific supplies are needed.
An Extra Helping
Giving can be as simple as purchasing a few extra cans of food on a trip to the grocery store.
The Sandhills Branch of Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, local food pantries and food distribution programs always need donations, regardless of the time of year.
Several local grocery stores are also participating in food drives and money collection programs that benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina this season. Ask a grocer about specific details.
Individuals can also organize their own food drives at their churches, schools, civic organizations and neighborhoods.
If you are hosting a holiday party, ask guests to bring food items to donate instead of a hostess gift.
The most needed items at the food bank are: canned meals (stews, soups, tuna, ravioli, lasagna, etc. Pop-top cans are a plus.; canned vegetables, peanut butter; grains: cereal, rice, pasta and dried beans; fruits: fruit cups, dried fruit, applesauce; juice (100 percent) and juice boxes; kid friendly items: granola bars, popcorn, graham or animal crackers, pudding cups (Do not donate loose glass and plastic jars of baby food. Those donated items must be discarded due to health regulations.); baby products: diapers, wipes, formula, infant cereal; hygiene items: toothpaste, feminine products, shaving items, hand sanitizer, soap; paper products: toilet paper, paper towels, etc.
The food bank also accepts donations for the BackPack Pals and SnackPack Pals food distribution programs, which distributes small, individually packaged food items, to low-income students and seniors so that they can have food to eat on the weekends.
Give Gift of Time
Volunteer your time for a good cause to help contribute to your community.
If you have an interest or a specific area of expertise, there is probably a way to pursue it by volunteering.
Volunteering is also a great way for families to spend time together, especially during breaks from school.
Moore County RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) is a local organization that helps connect residents with volunteer opportunities all over Moore County. Other volunteer resources include the United Way of Moore County, which oversees a network of nonprofit organizations that support human service needs in our community, as well as local entities such as the Moore County school system, Sandhills Community College and FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital.
Give Throughout the Year
Giving doesn't have to stop at the end of the holiday season. Make it your New Year's resolution to give and help others in 2013.
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