The holidays are a time to get in touch with our hearts, and many of us look for ways to give to those who are going through hard times and are less fortunate.

We seek out shelters, kitchens, and causes where we can help. If you’ve ever volunteered during the holidays, you probably know that many charities experience an influx of volunteers during this time, sometimes more than they can handle.

If you feel like your efforts to volunteer are being drowned out by the volume of people also in the giving mood, we’ve got some great alternatives so your generosity will make a lasting impact:

Make wishes come true: Wish lists are often listed on the websites of your favorite charities. You can check Lowell Transitional Living Center’s Wish List for homeless adults here: http://ltlc.org/wish-list/

Host a food drive: Check with charities first to see what food items they need most, then collect and drop off the items before or after the holidays. At LTLC we need coffee, cereal, and juice! (Tip for making this a year-round habit: purchase canned and nonperishable food once a month and drop your donations off on your way home.) Remember to buy “fresher” non-perishable food that has a longer shelf life – don’t raid your pantry for nearly expired items. This helps food banks keep their storage and shipping costs low and also reduces waste (they can’t use expired items).

Honor Someone Special: Some loved ones might feel like they already have all that they need. You can make donations in someone’s name. Most charities will send a notification card to their family to let them know about your gift. Giving to Lowell Transitional Living Center in someone’s honor or memory makes you a Champion of Hope: http://ltlc.org/champions-of-hope/

Avoid Awkward Office Gifts: Secret Santa can be fun… or anxiety inducing, depending on your office and who the gift is for. Why not have everyone in the office give up their gifts this year and donate $15 each to a shelter instead? You can pool the money together and send a check to Lowell Transitional Living Center, 193 Middlesex Street, Lowell MA, 01852. Please let us know so we can send a holiday card to thank your team!

Collect Winter Gear: Coats, gloves, scarves, earmuffs, socks, boots, snow pants, sweaters, long johns – anything you can imagine for a cold winter is in demand. Many shelters run drives, but so do many schools, churches, and companies. All you have to do is keep an eye out for an organized winter clothing drive or organize one yourself. (Tip for making this a year-round habit: if you find seasonally-appropriate clothing on sale or you have items you don’t need that are in good shape donate them to a local charity.)

Make it a Surprise: What about coming up with a creative meal, activity, or gift packs on an unexpected holiday like Saint Patrick’s Day or Valentine’s Day?

Christmas in July: Choose a day when giving is not commonly on people’s minds like July and August and make that your family’s annual day of community service.

Make giving a habit: We all get busy and it’s hard to remember all our good intentions. That is why signing up for monthly giving online can be a great option. You can join Lowell Transitional Living Center’s Hope Network for only $10 a month and know that you are helping someone in need all year: http://ltlc.org/monthly-giving/

Make a New Years Resolution: Tell us your resolution to make a difference in 2020! Make it public. You’re not bragging, trust us, you are making yourself accountable to your promise, being an example, and encouraging everyone to join you in giving.

Buy Tickets to an Upcoming Fundraiser: Nonprofits receive the majority of their donations in December and most try to take this opportunity, when more people are paying attention, to sell raffle tickets and tickets to their fundraising events. Support them in one of the funnest ways possible by entering a chance to win a cool prize and committing an evening to join other supporters at a concert, gala, or other event. If you are looking for more ways to support Lowell Transitional Living Center this winter , stay tuned to these links:

Holiday Calendar Raffle: http://ltlc.org/holiday-calendar-raffle/

Tropical Getaway Concert: http://ltlc.org/events/getaway2019

Don’t Stop: The best part about the holiday season is that people get in the “giving mood.” Unfortunately, after the New Year rolls around, many tend to stop their volunteer or donation efforts in favor of personal goals. But, what if you adopted a personal goal of donating to a cause you love every month? Let this Season of Giving be the start of a lifelong passion!

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