The holidays are such a wonderful time of year–snow is still new enough to be pretty, homes are decorated in their Christmas finery and twinkling lights, stores are full of bright colors and cheerful carols. We look forward to once a year traditions and spending time with family.
And yet–these are difficult times. There have always been those who need help at the holidays, and for the last few years it seems like more and more people have been financially squeezed. This holiday will be hard for a lot of families.
If you’ve been blessed this year, why not give to others?
You all know I’m a Walmart Mom blogger, and that I have opportunities to write about different topics throughout the year. During the holidays giving is on everyones mind–even Walmarts! It makes sense–after all you can buy just about anything for anyone–or any charity–at Walmart.
Here are 8 ways to donate gifts this Christmas:
- The Salvation Army Red Kettles. Sure, they just take cash, not gifts, but they are an iconic part of the holiday. You won’t be able to make it INTO or OUT OF your local Walmart to buy your gifts and items for giving without walking right past one of these cheerful volunteers. So why not grab up that loose change in your car cup holders and toss it in the bucket on your way into the store!
2. Toys for Tots or Fill the Truck. Barrels, bins or boxes for these children’s charities can be found just inside the door at most Walmarts. Just chose a few gifts, coats, games, or anything you think a child or teen might like, purchase it along with the rest of your gifts and toss it in on your way out. Super easy! (note: if you want to tear up a bit–watch the Toys for Tots video at the bottom of this post!)
3. Salvation Army Angel Tree. Here’s an opportunity to help a specific child for someone who wants to do a bit more. The Salvation Army provides tags that specify a child’s gender, age, clothing sizes, etc. You then purchase items for that specific child. When you are done, you place them together in a bag with the tag and into the barrel, box or bin they go!
4. Local “Fill a Barrel” or “Fill a Bus” campaigns. Like the nationally known Toys for Tots run by the US Marine Corps, many other organizations run local charity toy and clothing drives for the holidays. Near me a local radio station does a campaign where they park an RV out front of the Walmart and people donate new toys, food and clothes that will be distributed locally for the holidays.
5. The Homeless Shelter. If you are homeless, you aren’t looking at a particularly cheerful Christmas. While I’m sure there are lots of items that are needed–it may be best to call the shelter and ask about any particular needs they have before heading out to Walmart to shop. Food, hygiene items, blankets, toys, books. . .there are many items they COULD need, but you won’t know exactly until you ask.
6. The Children’s wing at the hospital. Being sick at Christmas is no fun. Again-a call or visit to find out what specifically is needed would be best, but overall toys, books, drawing and craft supplies and board or video games to be used by all the kids are a good place to start.
7. A Nursing Home or VA Hospital. Cheering up adults at Christmas is a bit different then adults. You can’t just buy a brightly colored toy and call it good. But that’s ok–to be honest the residents at both the VA and your local nursing home probably prefer company over any gift! If you want to bring something as well, again call and ask (I know I sound like a broken record–but the folks on the ground can tell you what the facility or the residents could really use the most). Maybe some puzzles, board games, books or new magazines would be welcome and could be used by multiple patients.
8. The Animal Shelter. Don’t forget our four footed friends a the holidays! Shelters do hard work and are often under funded. They can frequently use towels, blankets, animal toys, collars and food/water bowls. Call before you head back to the pet aisle at Walmart so you know you are getting things they really can use.
I hope I’ve helped inspire you to give to one of these great causes this Christmas!
Note: Thanks to Lynnae McCoy, Mommy Brain Reports for their Toys for tots and angel tree photos!
Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.