Once again it is the season where every charity is looking to you for a donation.
It's easy to toss some money into a bucket next to a bell ringer or to click a button to send money to another organization.
It's a little more difficult to pick out toys for the Toys for Tots boxes because you walk through the toy aisles searching for the right toys, and having to decide for what age group you are buying the toy for. (May I suggest something for a tween or teen, they are the forgotten children.)
I knit and crochet garments for the knitting box at AC Moore, and hats for the homeless and working poor which I give to a local church that ministers to the physical needs of the needy.)
Soup kitchens are always glad to welcome volunteers and it is something you can do all year long. (It's a good experience to take your teens to help out. It's a great time to bond.)
Donating to a food pantry isn't as much fun as picking out toys for tots, but the items handed out there are desperately needed and might ensure one family doesn't have to go to bed hungry for one night. Think beyond the usual jars of peanut butter, boxes of mac and cheese, and cans of tuna fish. They are welcome, but there is so much more that is needed such as feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, diapers, shampoo, soap, tooth paste, tooth brushes, laundry detergent, dish soap, socks, underwear, baby food.
My inbox is filled with every organization under the sun looking for money. "Give now and your donation will be matched by an anonymous donor." Great plan, but how much of that money trickles down to the needy in your community?
The holiday season isn't defined by what you call a decorated tree or if a store clerk wishes you a "Merry Christmas" or a "Happy Holiday". The season is defined by what is in your heart.
Give from the heart.