Giving Back

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Recently, while whistling to my favorite Christmas and holiday songs, I started to consider all the kindness and goodness we have in our family and right here in our wonderful TC community.  This lead me to began thinking about ways I could share the love and good cheer I always feel this time of year. Here are a few simple ideas that are meant to embrace the act of giving back, along to the joy and happiness you can share with others.  You just might catch yourself whistling too!

Serve a Holiday Meal.  This Thanksgiving, I read where H-E-B put on several large scale feasts for the homeless and those in need in Austin and the surrounding communities.  Things like that make me love my H-E-B even more, but you can give too, albeit on a more personal scale.  There are upcoming opportunities at several shelters such as Mobile Loaves and Fishes or St. Vincent de Paul that would appreciate a few hours of your time to help those in need celebrate the season.

Consider a few easy financial ways of giving back.  The easiest way is to corral all the spare change that is either on top of a dresser, in a jar near your keys, or scattered randomly throughout your house.  Gather all the coinage and take it to the bank or a coin machine and have it sorted, then give the proceeds to a food bank or shelter.  Many banks or credit card companies offer charitable giving, which make donations to nonprofit organizations with every purchase.  Amazon can connect your spending to a charity of your choice (local schools included) with AmazonSmile, a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. Go to smile.amazon.com to activate. Win-win!

Donate blood. A no-cost way to give back that generally takes less than an hour.  Your blood donation could mean the difference between life and death for someone.  Keep an eye out for blood drive posters, or head down to a donation center.  Better yet, start a Travis Country Neighborhood Blood Drive and make the entire neighborhood win good citizen awards for the gift of giving blood!

Share your pet. Do you have the most adorable pet known to humankind? Don’t we all? Does the love it shares with you need to be shared with others? Why not call nearby assisted living centers and see if residents would enjoy a visit from you and your four legged friend?

Offer help. When thinking of offering help, we usually think outside of our friend and family zone.  This holiday season, offer your overworked brother a few free hours of babysitting, or give your granddad or grandmom a ride to their doctor’s appointment.  Little acts like these go a long way!

Get to know your neighbors. By that same token, now is a great time to get to know your neighbors.  Raking leaves, signing for a package, or minding potted plants for a few days could be a huge help.  You can also double your recipes while making holiday goodies and share those with friends and neighbors.  

‘Tis the season to share your time, talent, and holiday cheer with those around you.  Whether you choose to donate time, food, money, or just good thoughts, we can all make this holiday season just a little bit better for ourselves and, most importantly, our community.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from my family to yours!