While the holiday season can bring joy and excitement, it can also bring some sadness. Given the events of this year, it’s not hard to look around and see someone in need. Giving back not only helps our community, but can also help us to find deeper gratitude for what we do have.
Here are some ways you can give back to your community this year:
Second Harvest of Silicon Valley: Donate to their virtual food drive and help give back to the Silicon Valley community! Located in San Jose, this center helps those in need throughout the Bay Area. Also, look for their food donation barrels in your local grocery stores and markets.
Mountain View CSA: Volunteer or donate at the Mountain View Community Services Agency (CSA). Opportunities range from working in their onsite food pantry to escorting a homebound senior to important appointments.
Los Gatos Parks and Public Works: Clean and spruce up local trails or participate in one of their longer-term projects such as “Adopt-a-Planter.”
Mountain View Senior Center: Help seniors navigate the computer and internet. Perhaps even help them connect with loved ones through a virtual meeting! Other volunteer opportunities include making appointments and connecting seniors with important resources.
Mountain View Library: Teens and adults can help the local library! Create coloring pages and design flannel boards. Speak Japanese or French? Volunteer with the Language Swap program!
Sponsor a family on GoFundMe: GoFundMe is a great organization that allows individuals and organizations to set up a way for donations. It doesn’t take long to explore their site and find someone that you can help. You can even search by location to help someone directly in your community.
Surprise someone through Amazon wishlist: Know someone in your community affected by the wildfires? Know a friend who could use some cheer? Brighten their day by surprising them with something from their wishlist. You can even purchase it anonymously!
Pay for someone's meal: Waiting in the drive-thru? Offer to pay for the order behind you. It’s incredibly simple, but it could brighten up someone else's day immediately.
Crisis Text Line: Become a volunteer with Crisis Text Line and virtually help others in distress. You'll have to sign up for online training to get started, but becoming a Crisis Counselor can make a big difference to those in need — from the comfort of your own home.
Some of these suggestions are simple while others take up more time, but any amount of time spent giving back to your community is another person helped and another life benefited. Find ways to give back and serve others this holiday season and beyond.
This article first appeared in the December 2020 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.