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The holidays are upon us. It is the best time to teach your family about caring for others. In the midst of all the holiday madness, there are so many people who need and deserve your help, and it can be so easy to do.
One easy idea is to contribute to Christmas Child. This program is run by an evangelical Christian group, Samaritan's Purse. All you have to do is fill a shoe box with small gifts for either a boy or a girl. Good things to include are small toys, school supplies, soaps, toothbrushes, or just about anything small that will benefit the child. They do ask for a $5 contribution to help them ship the box. For more information, visit http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child//.
You can also consider donating to your local food bank. They need so much more than just creamed corn, of course. Talk with your children about the foods that make the holidays special to them, and how families with less would appreciate them. You may not be able to donate a favorite, as food banks are greatly limited in what they can distribute, so consider donating the ingredients. Alternatively, call your local food bank and ask what they need. They may have enough food staples, but need things like condiments or mixes. Nonperishable donations are typically more welcome than perishable items, and may be all they can accept from individuals.
Another way to help is to volunteer. Homeless shelters and battered women's shelters can always use help. Many battered women have nothing but the clothes on their backs, and desperately need all kinds of supplies. Homeless families may have little more. For more information, check with your local homeless shelters or with the Red Cross at http://www.redcross.org/donate/volunteer/. These are all people who, without help, will miss out on even the smallest parts of this holiday season.
Taking the time to show your children that you care about the world you live in is a lesson they will never forget, and remind them of the true meaning of the holidays. Whether you donate goods, money or time, you will make a difference in your children's lives and the lives of those in need.
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My list of some great causes. If you aren't sure how to get started, these charities might be a good place to start looking for ideas.