5 Ideas to Spread Cheer this December

Nowadays, there are so many creative options for us to choose from to give back generously during the holiday season. There are turkey trots, trees of hope, “ugly Christmas sweater” fundraisers, Giving Tuesday events, toy drives and so much more.

But if you’re not up to walking, trotting, hosting or heavy-duty shopping for a good cause, we have a few ideas – SIMPLE, is the key – to spread holiday cheer this season to children, adults, and families in our community.

(1) Be an Angel. In 2018, the Salvation Army expanded its Angel Tree program with the adoption of United Way Christmas Service and is now making a bigger impact than ever this holiday season. Speaking of adoption, you can Adopt a Family through the Angel Tree program – but act quickly as the deadline is Dec. 7. Or, simply give a cash donation to help fill the bags for “Forgotten Angels” that were not able to be adopted this year. We can’t think of a better way to spread cheer than to be sure our fellow neighbors are not left out.

(2) Drive a Neighborhood Food Collection. We like the NextDoor app for its mission to “bring neighbors closer together.” With this in mind, why not promote a food drive in your neighborhood using this smartphone technology, round up a ton of donations, and deliver the goods to an organization, like Second Helpings? Right now, Second Helpings needs donations of pasta – so round up your neighbors for a Carb-Day extravaganza and make this special delivery as a family. Be the saucy neighbor and don’t be alfredo to volunteer!

(3) Fulfill a Wish. Santa isn’t the only guy looking at a list and checking it twice. So many of our community centers are requesting simple, specific items that can make the days a little brighter for those they serve. At Martin Luther King Community Center, you can donate items like cleaning supplies, postage stamps, school uniforms, or even a dance room floor! We think the best part of purchasing an item from a wish list is not only how easy it is, but you can deliver it yourself – just like Santa – and see the smile that greets your donation.

(4) Give a Gift Card. Admit it, we all love getting gift cards. Gift cards open up our options and give us the power to make our own choices. At the Julian Center, individuals and families who have fled traumatic and abusive situations are working hard to re-build their lives. A gift card to a general store, a grocery store or even a gas station can help give them an extra boost they need in this critical time. It’s a simple yet powerful way to show you care.

(5) Donate a Book. United Way wants to be sure every child has an opportunity for a quality education. And we all know, a quality education starts with reading. You must learn to read to read to learn. This holiday season, you can support our education initiatives – like ReadUp – by simply helping us purchase more books and supplies for the students. And, if you find that you have more of your time to give throughout the year, ReadUP is always looking for adult readers to join the program. It’s simple – donate an hour or so every week to sit with a student and let them read out loud to you. Be their friend, their mentor, their advocate. You’ll find that this simple gesture can be the gift that keeps on giving all year round – for you and your student.

Happy Holidays from all of us at United Way of Central Indiana!