Acts both large and small created to spread some goodwill and inspire hope this holiday season.
1. Give the gift of hope
Catholic Relief Services is an international humanitarian agency that encourages giving gifts that will go far beyond the holiday season. For a mere $25 you can provide 12 heath exams for children in another country. By spending a little bit more you can help provide education, support clean water initiatives and even provide farm animals for a family. Check out the list here.
2. Make a pact to use a reusable water bottle
This will help reduce the amount of plastic in landfills and help protect the environment. Americans used 50 billion plastic water bottles last year, yet only 23 percent was actually recycled. This means 38 billion bottles are wasted each year.
3. Give clothing to Cabrini’s Closet
Located on our very own campus, Cabrini’s closet was created to provide clothing for women who were recently rescued from human trafficking. The closet is always looking for winter gear, gently used clothing and professional attire. For more information call (610) 902-1038 and ask for Karol Brewer.
4. Pay for someone else’s coffee
$2.75 for that medium iced coffee? Done. Maybe they will keep the chain going! This happened in Connecticut where Starbucks customers broke 1,000 in pay-it-forward record. Check out the story here.
5. Be a designated driver
Keep your friends and family safe by offering them a safe ride home. One drunk driver could change the lives of many. Making the right decision could save yours.
6. Project Shine
Looking to give the gift of sparkle this holiday season? One of my favorite companies, Project Shine, employs inner city youth to hand-make beautiful jewelry. Check out their products here.
7. Participate in a walk/run for a cause
8. Amazon Smile
I cannot believe that I am just now finding out about this! If you are an Amazon customer you can set up an account so that every time you make a purchase, a portion will be donated to the non-profit charity of your choice. Wow!
9. One human family
When you get a chance, check out “The White Helmets” documentary on Netflix. (Official trailer can be watched here.) Then think about helping out our Syrian brothers and sisters this Christmas season by assisting refugees.
10. Play it Forward
These days it can be difficult for parents to afford new sports equipment for their kids. How many of us have gently used equipment lying around in our basement from our/your kids little league baseball/soccer/football days etc.? Let’s Play it Forward is just one company in New York that is always looking for equipment. Score!
11. Cook a meal for someone who needs it
12. The gift of magic beans
Alright, so the beans might not actually be magic, but the taste of this coffee is pretty close. Last spring break I had the opportunity to volunteer in San Lucas Guatemala where I got to work along side the coffee farmers at the mission. Juan Ana coffee grown by mi amigos can be purchased and delivered to your door through this website.
13. Operation Gratitude
Operation Gratitude was created to send letters to our soldiers (both deployed and wounded) overseas that are far away from home during the holiday season. To learn how you can send a letter, click here.
14. For the business bees
Kiva is a site that allows you to safely loan money to a third-world entrepreneur. The small amounts that you invest can change the lives of the families that receive them significantly.
15. Wawa volunteer services at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
I recently learned that Wawa has partnered with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to create the college volunteer program, designed for students to partner with healthcare professionals to support patients and their families.
16. Be understanding of traveling parents with noisy kids
Loud noises, small spaces. I get it, easier said than done. Sigh. Here goes nothing.
17. For the animals
Calling all animal lovers! Donate your time and affection to help take care of animals and organize fundraisers for this local shelter in Radnor. The next training session will begin in January 2017.
18. Give up your seat to someone on public transportation
Hey you on SEPTA, I am talking to you! It is a small act that can change somebody’s day in a large way.
19. Donate your hair
An act that I am actually contemplating doing myself this holiday season. By cutting off 10 inches of your hair you can make a wig for cancer survivor/patient that has lost their hair due to harsh radiation treatments.
20. Say a prayer/send good thoughts to someone you have been struggling with
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:22.
21. The joy of socks
Shelters who benefit from the Joy of Sox say how socks are an item they rarely get. Used clothes are donated but used socks are thrown away. Something that we take for granted, truly brings joy and comfort to those in need.
22. Let someone merge in front of you
Perhaps one of the simplest yet most difficult tasks on the list. Often we become impatient while driving, especially during the hustle and bustle of the upcoming months. Try to exercise this new habit and remember that road rage is not trending this holiday season.
23. Reduce your shower time by two minutes
You could actually save more than 4,500 gallons of water a year by decreasing your shampoo time.
24. Crafts for kids
In grade school, one of my favorite service projects was making fleece tie blankets to donate for babies and mothers in a shelter. Most fleece fabric can be bought at any local craft store. Directions to make the blankets can be found here.
25. Count your blessings
Research has shown that taking the time to write down three to five things that you are grateful for every day can actually improve happiness by 25 percent.
If you decide to partake in any of my 25 acts of kindness please tweet me @guacamollyyyy or @loqwitter with photos and your stories about your experience. You are on!