Thursday, November 12, 2009

I recently wrote an article Why not party for charity this holiday season? in my family entertainment column. It has gotten such positive feedback and shares, that I thought I would share some of the ideas here, too.

This is a partial repost from that column:

Thanksgiving is almost upon us. From now until the new year, most of us will take part in numerous family and friend holiday gatherings.

Why not make this year's gathering about helping others, too?

Most people don't realize that, for just a few dollars, you can make a huge impact on someone's life.

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child collects shoe boxes full of children's items to distribute to needy children around the world.

Have partygoers bring a small toy, gift or toiletry item for a children's shoe box project. Keep the kids occupied during the party by having them decorate the shoe boxes with coloring, drawings and stickers.

Operation Christmas Child shoe box drop-off dates are November 16-22.

Find a drop-off location area near you.

Angel Food Network

Angel Food Network provides food relief and financial support to communities throughout the United States. For around $30, your party attendees can assist in feeding a family of four for about one week, or a single senior citizen for almost a month.

The best part? There is no qualifying process. Anyone can utilize the Angel Food Network. You can help out a needy family or senior citizen that you know simply by ordering the food online, picking it up at your local host site and delivering it to that family!

Find a host site location near you.

Again, prepare your guests ahead of time. It's great to announce charity opportunities on invitations. Take suggestions from your party attendees on people to "adopt" as your Angel Food recipients.

These are just a few great programs available to help others this holiday season. You can also contact your local places of worship, city or county governments, and chambers of commerce to see if they are hosting charities in which your party can participate.

Have other ideas on how people can use their holiday party gatherings to help others? Share it by leaving it in the comments!


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