Five Steps to A Kinder You This Christmas: Giving is Getting

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The #SmallSteps series is all about giving. This week we’re focusing on giving food to those who need it.

A classic way to give back to the community is to give food to those in need, whether they are homeless, in a shelter, or in homes but struggling to make ends meet for one reason or another. Especially considering I am an American, food is like the ultimate way to show you care about people, and receiving food is about feeling part of your community as much as it is about not going hungry.

You don’t have to be a Famous Youtuber dressed in a costume to give to members of your community, though. You don’t even have to have money of your own! How does that work? There’s a few different options.

Donate to Food Banks

Food banks, homeless shelters, soup kitchens- whichever one you give to, they need it. These groups store and organize food to make sure the families on their list have what they need to make it through the week, and you can help them do it. Don’t trust either your local charities or charities in general?

Donate Food Directly

If there are places in your neighborhood or city where you know you will find poor or homeless people you can go straight there and give food directly. In East Coast US cities that might mean going under bridges, near heat vents in downtown, or park benches with trees overhead to protect from snow. Things might be different in your own city though, so go where you know you can find people who need it. This is a great option for people who don’t trust charities and don’t want to donate food or money through them but still want to give.

Donate Through Schools

Want to give to kids? The lower income schools in your area likely would be happy to accept donations of food to send home with their most in need students during the Winter Break and every weekend through the rest of the school year. Be sure to contact the school first to see what program they might already have in place for that and figure out what kinds of food they’d need you to buy to be of the most help.

Coordinate with Hospitals and Health Charities

This won’t be true of every place in the world, but many hospitals either have their own programs to give to outpatients in need or know of charities in your area that will do it. At least in America most outpatients use most of their money on their treatments and don’t have much of anything left over to pay for food or housing, which is why charities specifically set up to provide patient housing near medical centers exist. This is especially well know for Aids and Cancer outpatients, but I’m sure it applies to many other diseases and health issues. Remember the hospital can’t tell you directly the names of their patients, but again they can direct you to a charity that cares for outpatient needs and that is how you’ll be able to donate your food to them. If you can, I’d encourage you to think about giving to these charities and these people who are going through some hard times.

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