In a world of excess and privilege, it’s our responsibility to give back. As part of my holiday shopping this year, I try to be conscious where I can because every little bit really does help. So here are a few of my favorite ways to help give back:
- Donate. Whether it’s your time, your money, or your belongings there are so many souls who are without a lot of the things we take for granted. Find out what your local animal shelter is running low on like blankets or pet food. Reach out to your local shelters (homeless, victims of family violence, or even children’s facilities) and ask what the residents need. Clean out your closet and donate clothes, homewares, toys, etc. Or if you’d rather be present and interact with people directly then contact local soup kitchens, hospitals, elderly care facilities, and homeless shelters to see what their volunteer programs are like. Read to children or sing carols in nursing homes. It means so much more than you might imagine.
- Make your money count. Buying lots of bath products for gifts? Why not purchase from a conscious company like Lush where they specialize in vegan, NON-animal tested products that are made with all natural ingredients. They are also HUGE in giving back and have products which, when purchased, support incredible causes and help bring awareness to important global issues. I’ve also recently learned about and partnered with an amazing company Pack Leashes that markets harnesses, leads, and toys geared toward dogs. In addition to providing a quality product their business model is designed around giving back to the community which is the first thing you see when you visit their site: “for every sale made, [we will] donate 2 pounds of dog food to a shelter in need.” OR what about visiting 4Ocean to purchase one of their amazing bracelets for a friend, coworker, or loved one? These bracelets not only help fund and support the care and conservation of our oceans through cleanup efforts, but the bracelets themselves are made up entirely of recycled materials from the cleanup!
- Get involved! Last but certainly not least, find out about programs that are already in place in your area and see what you can do to get involved! Does your workplace, school, place of worship have some sort of outreach program? Maybe it’s a highway clean-up you could do with your family or some sort of adopt-a-family/child to shop for this holiday season. If you’re already going to be out shopping, or maybe if you don’t have anyone to shop for, volunteering to shop for a family of five who can’t afford to otherwise is such a humbling experience. And I can tell you that having been on both sides of that fence the kindness of strangers is something that sticks around long after the new year. There are so many programs out there that are needing support in all of the small ways you would normally discount or cast off. First responders who work through the holidays might enjoy handmade cards from the communities they serve and protect.
Whatever it is that you’re into, whatever your comfort level may be, there are so SO many ways to be a good person this season (and every season, for that matter). Please, please don’t think that any little bit you may have to give will go unnoticed. I promise your hand-me-down clothes mean the world to people who are cold. The food that you donate feeds those who would otherwise be hungry. Your kindness and encouragement strengthen and uplift the ones who truly need it the most. Wherever you are, whatever your holiday plans I hope that you’re able to make time for the people and things that really matter this season. There’s still time to get out there and make your purchases count. If you have a favorite way of giving back or if you have some amazing suggestions to share with the rest of us, comment below or send me a message. Be sure to follow along on Instagram @milestogoxo to check in on my holiday progress. And know, fam, that wherever you are, whatever you’re up to I am wishing you all good things. Always. Xo