I don’t recall what grade I got in Calculus or what my locker number was in high school, but I will always remember a woman named Paula Wilson. She was my senior year English teacher, but more than that she was my mentor and instilled in me the love of volunteering and helping others.
Mrs. Wilson was our high school’s National Honor Society director and found many unique opportunities for us to volunteer: Salvation Army, local nursing homes, Market Days, soup kitchens, mentoring programs, etc. Learning the art of “giving back” was truly the best and most applicable lesson I learned throughout my high school and college experience. To this day some of my favorite and most profound memories stem from those seemingly insignificant (at the time) efforts. With that said, giving back is still a large part of my life thanks to various opportunities I’ve found through working with Perks.
Volunteering is a fantastic way to show the community that your company and employees care. It can boost morale and serve as a terrific bonding experience for your workers, not to mention impacting a few lives in the process. There is no better time to help out the less fortunate than during the holidays. Although there are endless ways to help, here are a few to get you started:
1) Run a Toy Drive The same applies to a coat drive, canned food drive, etc. Post donation buckets around the office and send out a couple reminder e-mails throughout the month. Maybe even turn it into a competition- whichever team brings in the most donations wins lunch.
2) Adopt a Family Find a family in need this holiday season. If your office has a Christmas tree, let employees bring in gift or staple items to place underneath. Near the end of the month, present the donations to the family and prepare to experience the power of giving.
3) Serve dinner at a local homeless shelter Check with local organizations like the Salvation Army and send a team of employees out to help. Seeing the gratitude of others less fortunate and may be one of the most memorable and rewarding experiences of the season.
4) Volunteer with Meals on Wheels Deliver a hot meal to those who aren’t able to be with family and friends. Sometimes just a smile, handshake, and a full belly are enough to brighten someone’s entire holiday season.
5) Visit a Hospital Spend time with patients or even the hospital employees. Bring books to read in the children’s ward or jokes to tell the adults. The more creative ideas you can think of to entertain, the better.
6) Visit a Retirement Home Elderly people often have to spend the holidays alone, so company (even from a stranger) is a welcome gift in most cases. In my experience, just one story from someone with 70+ years under his or her belt is more entertaining and meaningful than most daily conversations.
7) Put a care package together for troops and military families
Talk to the local armory or Red Cross to see what supplies are needed and when the deadline to send overseas will be. If anyone in your office knows how to knit or crochet, consider making scarves or other heart-felt cozies! I’ll always remember one of my professors in college who knitted over 100 scarves for soldiers overseas. I’m sure their gratitude was beyond compare.
8) Take home cooked meals to local firemen or police officers
Most of these men and women work around the clock during the holidays and lose that time with their families. Show appreciation by bringing them some baked goods or warm meals!
Hope these ideas helped spark an idea or two! Tell us, what does your office do during the holidays to help others?