‘Tis the Season (and Spirit) to Give

It’s that time of the year again – the holidays are among us! And this year, the TRIO crew would like to encourage our friends, family and associates to consider what you can do as an organization or individual to make a difference in our world, our country, our community or even just in one person’s life. It’s true what they say, you know. A little really does go a long way.

I feel very fortunate to work at a place where not only does our company promote a strong culture of giving back but on an individual level, each member of our team has their own personal philanthropic spirit that shines throughout the year.

For Thanksgiving, we decided to support one of our favorite nonprofits – East Cooper Meals on Wheels. We donated a couple turkeys and a slew of side items that will create meals for many of our local homebound seniors. We were thrilled to have the opportunity support East Cooper Meals on Wheels and appreciate everything they do for our community!

Of course, it’s great to be able to give back all year round but during the holidays, when so many have so little, it does seem like the perfect time to warm the hearts of those around us and do what we can to help. Giving to others can be a huge motivator for ourselves, the companies we work at and during these incredibly challenging times, it can really help put things into perspective and show us what really matters the most in life.

There are so many ways to give and it doesn’t always have to be money. Your time can be just as valuable.

Here are 10 suggestions on ways you can give back this holiday season:

  • Visit a nursing home. It may not seem like the most exciting or fun thing to do but visiting a local nursing home might be more rewarding than you realize. Your visits can lift someone’s spirits for days on end. A simple touch or showing interest in someone’s life means more than you know. And believe it or not, these folks have plenty to offer us as well! A glimpse into history, advice from those who have been there, funny stories and just so much love. Give it a shot – you just might find that you get more than you give. I got to Mount Pleasant Manor but there are several other nursing homes in the area to choose from. PS – can you tell what cause is closest to my heart?
  • Support the Newtown, Connecticut community. After such a heart-wrenching tragedy as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, perhaps you are led to donate to the community and allow them to rebuild and find hope once more. The United Way of United Way of Western Connecticut is accepting donations that will provide support and resources where and when they become identified and needed. The ‘Sandy Hook School Support Fund’ was created to provide support services to the families and community that has been affected.
  • Help victims of Hurricane Sandy. Lowcountry officials established the Charleston Cares: Sandy Relief Program as a response to local residents who want to help the victims up north whose lives have been devastated by this tremendous storm. In addition to monetary donations, items such as non-perishable food, diapers, bottled water, batteries, tools, cleaning supplies and much more are being accepted at various drop-off locations around the Charleston area.
  • Share blessings and change lives. That’s what our friends at Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach do every day and you can support their mission to provide basic human needs while encouraging self-sufficiency through various programs including food and clothing services, dental and prenatal women’s healthcare, life skills and budget classes, summer camp for kids and so much more!
  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Help organizations like Crisis Ministries do what they do best – provide shelter, food and most of all, hope to individuals that have fallen on hard times. You can donate funds or take some time to help prepare food. Bring a friend or get a team of co-workers together to support this worthwhile cause.

 

  • Party with a purpose. Because who doesn’t love a good party? Invite your friends or put on a work party and ask everyone to make a small donation that will go to a charity of your choice. Alone we might not be able to give much but together, we can give a lot. And there’s certainly no shortage of nonprofits in the Charleston area so choose one and get down with your bad self.
  • Reach out to a children’s hospital. Find out what their needs are and how you can help spread some holiday cheer to the kids who will be stuck in the hospital over Christmas. Or check in with our friends at Gabe’s Chemo Duck Program and sponsor a hospital or donate a duck for a child living with cancer.
  • Leave an extra generous tip. Whether it’s for a waitress at your favorite restaurant, the mailman or your hair stylist – leaving a little something extra shows your appreciation and can really brighten the person’s day. If you’ve ever been in the service industry, you totally get it. If you haven’t, just trust us.

 

  • Help repair or build a home for a family. Contact Habitat for Humanity and see how you can help an individual or family who cannot afford to repair their home. Lend a hand to create a safe, stable environment and for those who may be living in dangerous conditions with no means to fix it. There are several Habitats in the Lowcountry so give them a call if building is your thing!
  • Pray for someone. Give the gift of prayer. And if you’re a believer, don’t just talk about it – do it. How often do we say that we’ll keep someone in our prayers but then get so busy with our own lives that we innocently forget? Keep a notepad or little prayer book in your nightstand, purse or in your car and write down the names of the people you intend to pray for so you don’t forget. Then, before you fall asleep at night or while you’re stuck in traffic, break out your notes and get your prayer on!

The opportunities to give back are endless. There’s so much that we can do as a group or on our own so give it some thought and do what you can. No matter how big or small the “give” may be – you can trust that a good deed goes a long way.