Easy Ways to Give Back this Holiday Season

We’d all like to think we’re generous: we hold doors for people or hand a few dollars to the homeless man on the corner of the freeway exit. Some affiliate themselves with every charity they can get their hands on, while others feel that anything they could do would have no effect in such an aching world.

No matter where you are on the spectrum, keep reading. For those who have hearts bigger than the Atlantic, you will jump at the chance to do some good. And for the skeptics, take a real look at what I am about to show you – your actions, now matter how big or small, can have an effect.

Soon, the Amazon Prime boxes will pile up at the door and Christmas lists will grow longer. Take a break from it all. Providing an impoverished young girl with safe transportation to and from school, or donating clean water and sanitation systems to rural areas of Africa: that is special.

Here are some incredible (and simple) ways to give back this holiday season that you may have never heard of.

  • SchoolCycle & Girl Up: Girl Up, part of the United Nations Foundation, is on a mission to provide girls in poverty-stricken areas of the world with bicycles so that they can easily and safely travel to and from school. One of these bicycles, which can be provided for only $125, will allow a young girl to continue her education without the difficulty of distance or the fear violence standing in her way.
  • WaterAid: In many areas of the world, a lack of clean drinking water is the source of countless other struggles. Fresh water must be collected everyday and is often a multi-hour process. This frequently becomes the responsibility of children, who are missing out on an education because of the demands of simply surviving. If the clean water is not retrieved, they and their families could contract a number of water-borne diseases. WaterAid has simple options for donations: $30 provides a sanitary latrine for a family; $50 provides a rainwater harvesting tank; $100 provides 2 hand pumps. These donations can be made one-time or monthly and have the power to provide clean water and better sanitation for people who desperately need it.
  • AmazonSmile: Everyone loves Amazon. Seriously. I know you do. So it should be music to your ears that several different charities have developed partnerships with Amazon! Go to smile.amazon.com, select the charity of your choice, and a portion of your normal shopping purchases will benefit that organization. You can even add an organization of your own choice!
  • Children International: This organization’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty by providing children with paths to brighter futures. One option is to sponsor a child: for as little as $32 each month, according to Children International’s website, a child will be provided with
    1. “A safe place: 70+ community centers where kids get life-changing benefits, like medical care, tutoring, job placement and more.

    2. A caring team: 9,000+ volunteers and local staff in 10 countries who know our kids and their communities.

    3. A path out of poverty: Programs focused on health, education, employment and empowerment to break the cycle of poverty.”

    By doing so, you are paired specifically with one child whose life story you get to learn. If you are looking for something a bit simpler, you can give any one-time amount you’d like.

There are so many worthwhile causes out there, just waiting for your support; these are only a few. So enjoy your holiday season and all its festivities to the fullest, but don’t underestimate how much good you can put into the world at the same time.

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