How You and Your Residents Can Give Back This Season

With all the television commercials for the latest and greatest toys, Christmas sales starting on Thanksgiving, and radio stations playing holiday music 24 hours a day starting in mid-November, it’s easy to get lost in the commercial aspect of the holiday season and forget the non-material aspects we are supposed to be undertaking: being thankful for what we have, spending time with the family and friends that matter most, and being kind to our fellow man. A great way for property managers to help residents get into the “holiday spirit” we hear so much about is to help the less fortunate. In fact, there are several easy ways to help those that are down on their luck and experience the joys of giving back:

1) “Giving Up to Give”: Recently, I stumbled upon an infographic that gave examples of all the great things various charities can do if someone were to donate a portion of their “extra” expenses – you know, things like a manicure, daily Starbucks coffee, or the latest iPhone. Instead of finding room in their winter budget for charitable giving, residents can pledge to forgo one of their modern comforts for a week and donate the saved money to a charity. For example, by skipping the grande latte and donating the ensuing $25, the Toronto Youth Shelter can provide a bed for a homeless teen for the night. Additionally, Oxfam Canada can use your $50 to put together six emergency kits for families across the globe.

shutterstock_114433192-resized-6002) Help the Homeless: It is especially difficult to be homeless during this time of year – besides the dropping temperatures and snow storms, many homeless have lost touch with their families and/or don’t have the means to see them for the holidays. The National Coalition for the Homeless offers a number of ways for volunteers to combat homelessness by serving food at shelters, building homes, or offering job training. To improve participation, property managers can select a date where residents go as a group to the local soup kitchen or shelter to help those in need.

3) Puppy Love: Many animal rescue organizations heavily rely on the efforts of their volunteers. As a bonus, what resident wouldn’t want to spend time with adoptable dogs and cats for a few hours a week? To find a list of local shelters and rescues near you, try petfinder.com’s locator tool.

4) Toys for Tots: The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation provides the funding and support needed for successful annual toy collection and distribution campaigns. This charity collects new toys for underprivileged children during the holiday season, and will also accept cash donations on the Toys for Tots website. If the property is large enough, you can even set up your own donation site for your residents!

Where you decide to donate your time or money to a charity, your efforts help someone less fortunate to enjoy their holiday season. Do you have any suggestions for other worthy causes? Share them in the comments section!

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