Whether you’re volunteering at a food bank or donating gifts to a family in need, giving back at the end of the year is incredibly impactful. While the holiday season is regularly referred to as “the most wonderful time of the year,” it may not be as wonderful for those in need. As you prepare to begin holiday shopping and present giving, it is essential to recognize that many could benefit from some holiday generosity. Traditionally, charities collect the majority of contributions during the holiday season because it is an excellent time to give back to the community.
Giving can be as simple as volunteering your time at the local soup kitchen, spending time with children at a local school, or even something as small as paying-it-forward. Many people donate during the holiday season to support causes they believe in but also because of the positive effects it has on our lives. Charitable donations not only makes us feel good, but it strengthens personal values and encourages others to donate. Research has found that giving back boosts your mood and promotes happiness! Additionally, having the power to improve the lives of others is, to many people, a privilege, and acting on these powerful feelings of responsibility is a great way to reinforce our own personal values and feel like we’re living in a way that is true to our values. Lastly, giving back can inspire your nearest and dearest to give to causes important to them.
One of my fondest memories of holiday philanthropy was when I owned VIP SCHOOLBUS. We used to partner with Rouses and had 50 turkeys baked that I would pick them up in the morning. We also had two crawfish pots we would set up. One pot would be filled with corn, while the other had the biggest batch of mashed potatoes you’ve ever seen! I would set up two electric knife stations and start cutting and plating 300 meals. We would then pack up the trailer that we pulled behind the bus with cold drinks and the meals and head to the bridge to feed the homeless. My son Jackson was 4 and the lessons he learned on that first trip I firmly believe he still carries today! I am very proud of the brave young heart I witnessed while he asked everyone “Hi would you like coke or diet coke?”. His responsibility was giving out the beverages.
I also do the same type of donation but in a much different way; I am the first to use a Crawfish pot setup to make the best batches of homemade vegetable soup! I took my mother’s recipe that grew up with as a child. I can remember waking up on Sundays to that smell of the soup bones and onions boiling. Well, I took that same recipe and multiplied it by 10! I would fill up two baskets with fresh vegetables, spend Saturday afternoon cutting, then Sunday morning I crank up the Crawfish pot on my back patio. By 5 pm I’m whipped, and the soup is done. We fill up 6-quart containers with a little pot until all of the soup is portioned out. I would then load up the back of my SUV and hit the town dropping off containers to 6-8 families that I am close to. None of which are in deep need, but between the time it saves them and the compliments I get from how good my soup is really completed both sides. It’s just my little way of doing for others in some way, shape, or form. It’s my therapy!
A great way to donate at the end of the year is by donating on #GivingTuesday. Giving Tuesday is a worldwide day of giving that was designed to kick-start the charitable holiday season. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and start of holiday shopping (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday) the intent is to honor and support end of the year philanthropy. In 2017, Giving Tuesday raised over $300+ million online, had over 2.5 million gifts and there were almost 21.7 billion social media impressions! Donations were received from 150+ countries and territories around the world. This movement has not been around for very long but has seen significant successes due to the use of social media. Giving Tuesday is an excellent way to support, celebrate and encourage giving. Join the global social event and kickoff holiday philanthropy! Big or small, every act of giving counts.
Tis the season to be jolly — and generous. During this holiday season, do not forget to support your community and give back to others!
David Jeansonne is a successful entrepreneur based in New Orleans, Louisiana. His goal is to help the less fortunate and improve his hometown community. Read more of his philanthropy blog or check out his Twitter!