Holiday Giving on a Student Budget

Giving to those in need does not have to be expensive

When you are a student living on a tight budget, it’s hard to imagine having the extra cash to donate money during the season of giving. But remember, giving doesn’t have to cost anything. There are many ways to give to those who are less fortunate, and they don’t all have a price tag. Try these free and low-cost tips for getting into the giving spirit this holiday season.

1. Participate in a food drive, toy drive, or coat drive
When it comes to helping others, a lot of small donations can add up. If everyone donates just one or two small items, you can collect a lot of useful donations for needy families. If you are having a food drive or toy drive at your school or workplace, why not contribute something? It doesn’t have to be much—just a can of chili or a pair of mittens will be much appreciated by the recipient.

2. Write to servicemen and servicewomen
Take a moment to think about the many men and women who serve in our military and are stationed away from home during the holidays. Try writing letters of appreciation to them during the winter months. Operation Gratitude offers guidelines on how to write letters and coordinates the sending of letters and care packages to troops overseas.

3. Visit a nursing home
Many nursing home residents find the holidays to be a bitter sweet time of year, especially for those who do not have families nearby. Contact your local nursing home and see what you can do to help. Maybe you could arrange a group of friends to sing holiday carols. Maybe you could bring cookies around to residents’ rooms. Or perhaps a game night could be fun for everyone. People love to have visitors!

4. Give blood
Giving blood is an important thing to do any time of year, and especially at the holidays. Often blood banks are running low at this time of year, so every donation is extremely important. Visit the Red Cross’s website or use their simple app. You will find it’s easy to sign up.

5. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
Soup kitchens often need volunteers to help serve meals or pack meals. Contact your local soup kitchen or food bank and find out how you can volunteer to help. These organizations often receive a lot of food donations during the holidays, and they need people to help sort the donations.

As you can see, giving does not have to be expensive. Sometimes these types of giving activities can be far more meaningful than giving a gift or giving a monetary donation. You will be appreciated for giving your time and for thinking of those who are less fortunate. That’s the true meaning of the season! Happy holidays!