Giving During the Holiday on a Student Budget

It doesn’t have to be expensive!

The winter holidays are a great time of year to think about the true meaning of the season and the importance of giving to others who are less fortunate. If you are living on a tight budget yourself, you may feel that you are not able to give much. But don’t forget, there’s more to giving than simply giving money. There are many ways to show that you care about those around you, and they don’t all cost money. Try these low-cost and free ways to join in the spirit of giving this holiday season.

1. Donate canned goods
Canned goods usually cost less than one dollar each, but these foods can help needy families put food on the table during the holidays. Find an organization that is holding a canned food drive, and donate a few cans of baked beans, tuna, or vegetables. If you are really ambitious, you can contact a food bank about organizing a food drive yourself, perhaps at your school, workplace, or religious organization.

2. Hold a coat drive or a toy drive
In the northern parts of the country, it gets cold during the holiday season. For families living in poverty, buying a new winter coat for a child is usually out of the budget. New toys are hard for families to buy too. To help out, contact a homeless shelter, local agency, or children’s hospital and see if you can hold a mitten drive or a toy drive at your school or workplace.

3. Arrange caroling at a nursing home
For senior citizens living in a nursing home, the holidays can be bitter sweet times. Contact a local nursing home. Ask if there is anything you can do to help. You might be able to get a group of friends together for an evening of caroling for the residents. Or you could bake cookies and deliver them to the residents. You could even suggest a game day, where you play cards or work on puzzles with the residents.

4. Write letters to servicemen and servicewomen
Every year there are many dedicated members of the military who miss the holidays with their families. Organizations like Operation Gratitude coordinate letter writing campaigns to help let our troops know that we are thinking about them. It doesn’t take long to write a letter or two, and your words can truly make a difference.

5. Give blood
The holidays are a time when blood supplies run low. Choosing to give blood at this time of year could literally save lives. With the Red Cross’s website or app, it’s easy to sign up. Just one blood donation can save up to three lives!
With these tips, we hope you are able to participate in the season of giving. As you can see from the tips above, sometimes the most valuable things in life don’t have any price tags.  Happy holidays!