As the holidays approach, it is easy to see our schedules fill up with parties, events, and end the season wondering if we really made a difference. Of course, those activities are fun, and should be enjoyed throughout the holiday times, but it is wonderful to use our time to make a difference. Especially as a high schooler or a teen, I wanted to compile a list of places you can make a true impact this year.
- Volunteer at a food bank, or soup kitchen. A place that provides food to the homeless or struggling, can literally save lives and be what stands in the gap for hungry families. You’d be surprised how many children and teens go hungry (about 1 in 7 people in America struggle with hunger), which means it affects your classmates and friends, and you may not realize it.
- Ask your local foster care association how you can help: Foster children are often overlooked during the holidays, but you can help by supplying gifts to foster families or asking what organizations need. There are even foster care “trees” in various places in communities, where you can sign up to bring a foster child in need a special gift. This is a simple way you can help!
- Look out for the elderly: Elderly people struggle in the cold months, and often need meals brought, walkways shoveled, and leaves raked. You can also visit the elderly in care facilities, especially those who may not have family members visiting often. Consider putting together cards or gifts (ask your friends to help) for the people who might be lonely. Check on your elderly neighbors, as they can be at risk for falling in their own homes if they live alone.
- Adopt a family or classmate in need: Maybe you know of someone who could use extra cheer, or who is having trouble making their bills or buying christmas presents this year. You can anonymously leave a gift card or money under their doormat, or bring groceries or a meal. If you want to help a classmate anonymously, you can ask your school office to help you do so discreetly.
No matter how you choose to pitch in this year, know that your efforts will make a true and lasting difference!