Establishing months for special causes works really well for marketing purposes, but it won’t prevent the occasional gaps that occur in between. A good example is our Military Families and Veterans. May and November holidays call attention to these groups, but their needs are year-round.
Americans are some of the most caring and generous people in the world. While each generation may have had its challenges, the time for each of us to think and consider gifting outside the box has arrived…so, I suggest we change our course for Thanksgiving and Christmas Seasons 2013 thru 2015. Pick up an extra can or two at the market and delete a gift or two from under the tree; here are some alternative gifting ideas:
- Donate to the local food pantry at your church or one in your community. 2013 AND 2014 have been financially tougher than most for many of our loved ones; some who previously donated in the past now find themselves on the receiving end. No telling about 2015.
- Fill those plastic bags that the Scouts leave at your door with canned goods and pantry staples up to the brim!
- Support your local merchant; don’t be fooled by a national brand. Many of the “chain” stores and fast food restaurants are actually franchises owned by individuals who have faces, names, families, and payrolls to meet.
- Let your children carry change in their pockets…The Salvation Army will have their red kettles out very soon. They will have more needy than ever to feed and clothe. The change adds up quickly, and the kids will get a big kick out of contributing!
- Carry an extra ten dollar bill or whatever you can afford on your person when traveling by air…happen to see a serviceman or servicewoman traveling home or leaving on assignment? Press the bill in their hand, thank them for their service, and give them permission to “spend” a little something on themselves. You’d be amazed at the morale booster an unexpected greenback from a total stranger can give…I’ve seen the smiles myself.
- USO Centers can only stretch their holiday cheer so far; when multiple units begin passing through in droves during the holiday season, the pickings can get very slim. Check in with the Center nearest you, especially if you have memories of having yourself spent a holiday at one just like it.
- Your local VFW will happily accept donations for Operation Uplink, the internet phone program for military overseas to communicate with loved ones at home.
- Some of us had a child who was helped by medical foundations or organizations like Shriners Hospitals for Children. There are little ones there now, too…in the same departments we once visited on a regular basis.
- Whether you belong to a service club or not, you have friends who do. Ask if they need support on any particular projects. Rotarians are busy year-round, and their Rotary Foundation is one of the best places to put money to work, locally and globally.
THESE ARE ONLY A FEW IDEAS from your humble writer. Thanks for indulging my Wednesday soapbox persona by reading this special snippet.