December 13, 2018

AF CommunityCulture

Giving Back: Find Ways to Help Others this Holiday Season

By: Leah Nalepa

With all the holiday shopping, parties, and general busyness during December, it’s easy to forget the ‘reason for the season’ of giving. As communal beings, we are called to care for and support each other in times of bounty and in need. While we spread season’s greetings of joy and merriment, let’s not forget those who are less fortunate than ourselves. Around the country, America’s Future Foundation teamed up with several organizations to give back this year, while having fun and spreading holiday cheer.

If you’re looking to volunteer or donate this season (and beyond), here are several ways to think creatively about getting involved in your local community.

Food Banks
Several AF chapters throughout the country (Washington, DC, Jackson, Austin) paired up with food banks and local charities to collect donations for individuals and families so they may enjoy this season’s bounty. If you reside in DC, check out Arlington Food Assistance Center, Capital Area Food Bank, or DC Central Kitchen. Each of these organizations uniquely caters to Virginia and DC residents to provide supplemental groceries and job training as a means to overcome hunger and poverty. Consider these, or other food bank opportunities in your area, to donate to or volunteer with this upcoming year.

Rescue Missions
The Nashville chapter organized donations for the Nashville Rescue Mission, whose mission is to provide hope for those in need. They do this by focusing on emergency service ministries for those who are hungry, homeless, or unemployed; recovery and counseling for those battling addiction; and sharing the Gospel and love with people who have lost hope. While this mission is located in Tennessee, there are many local charities servicing similar needs in the U.S. Perhaps this holiday season is the perfect time to donate time or resources to someone who needs to be uplifted.

Home Renovations
The Raleigh chapter is collecting donations this week for a unique organization called The Green Chair Project, a special Wake County non-profit. The Green Chair Project reuses donated household furnishings to assist local Wake County citizens who may be recovering from homelessness or addiction, fleeing domestic violence, or any number of other debilitating circumstances that they are actively trying to overcome.

If you prefer manual work or to volunteer your time, explore your city’s local Habitat for Humanity.

Domestic Violence Shelters
The Indianapolis chapter partnered with The Julian Center, a domestic violence and sexual assault emergency and family justice center. The Julian Center empowers over 6,000 survivors to recover and build a new life free from abuse. There are many organizations like this throughout the country to get involved in. Which ones do you recommend AF to work with?

Unique Local Opportunities
This year, I am assisting with laying wreaths at the Arlington National Cemetery through the Wreaths Across America event. Each December the National Capital Area Chapter of National Wreaths Across America honor our veterans through the laying of remembrance wreaths on the graves of our country’s fallen heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

What different events exist in your local community to volunteer with? Share them with us on Facebook. Whether it is assisting with tree lightings, visiting the incarcerated, decorating a church, or facilitating Christmas caroling groups, there are always ways to get outside our comfort zones to support and help others this holiday season and beyond.