During the holiday season, we are always reminded of how important it is to give to others. It seems like everywhere you look, people are raising money to give to friends, family, or strangers in need. Food drives are in full force and “giving trees” pop up in every business you enter. Yet somehow, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and not know where to devote our resources. Sometimes, it’s best to start close to home. Help a neighbor, call your grandparents, volunteer at your child’s school, or reconnect with an old friend. What I love about all of these ideas, is that they cost little to no money. What they do require is our time.
Time can often be hard to give. We’re so busy during the holidays that it can feel impossible to squeeze another thing into our schedule. I love this saying: “If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”
About 25 years ago, my parents took my sisters and I to volunteer at a soup kitchen during Christmas time. I remember feeling uncomfortable, but left feeling so grateful for all that I was blessed with and that I could help just a few people in need. What’s interesting is that I have no idea what gifts I received that Christmas; I only remember volunteering at the soup kitchen. It was an incredible experience that I will always remember and I’m sure my parents had no idea the lasting affect it would have. Here is an old picture from four years ago when I took my two kids to volunteer at our local Humane Society. It’s now something that we try to do every year and I hope my kids will always remember the experiences they’ve had.
You may not know this about me, but I am a huge animal lover. I absolutely love them and my 11 year old dog, Khloe, is treated like she is my first born child. I have such a soft spot in my heart for animals, because if it wasn’t for us, they wouldn’t survive. In times of need, they are completely helpless. Their lives are in our hands and if we don’t help them, they won’t survive. Have you seen the photos and videos of the amazing people rescuing animals from floods and many other natural disasters? I cry like a little baby when I see them and I am so grateful for the men and women that have donated their time to help those that can’t help themselves.
We all know about the terrible fires going on in California, and unfortunately, I think the animals get overlooked by most people. I recently read an article about a number of ways we can help the animals displaced by the fires. It is an excellent resource if you are looking for ways to give back.
If you’d like to help out locally, there are many organizations that are looking for assistance, including your nearest Humane Society. While they gladly accept food and other pet supplies, my favorite way to give back is to spend an hour or two walking dogs. It makes me so happy to get the animals out of their cages and give them exercise and attention. I know the workers do their very best to give time and attention to all the animals, but I’m sure it’s difficult to tend to all of them. Just a few minutes rubbing their backs, scratching their tummies, or taking them on a leash to explore the grounds beyond their home are wonderful ways to show you care. It’s such a small and simple act of kindness, but I know they are forever grateful.
Below is a short list of animal organizations that you can check out if you are interested in giving back during the holidays (or any time of year). Please pick one, and donate your time to helping these wonderful animals. They will fill your heart with so much joy and I promise, it will be an experience you will never forget. You can also click here to view a list of the top rated pet charities to donate to in 2018.
“The greatest gift you can give is your time. Because when you give your time, you are giving a portion of your life that you will never get back.” – Anonymous
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