People always ask me why this is my favorite time of the year, probably assuming it’s the movies, baking, lights, and music. And it is all of those things, but it is also the fact that people are inherently kinder and more giving at this time. I love to see someone helping a person with their groceries at the store, or buying someone their first meal in days, or even just getting them a gift card to ease their holiday shopping. People even seem a little happier, more family-oriented, and kinder to a stranger. With a world that is always in chaos, and the news sounding like scenes from scary movies, I like to see the happiness and joy that the holiday brings. I love to see everyone with just a little more peace in their hearts. That being said, it is time that we give back to those less fortunate than ourselves. We are so fortunate to have wonderful families to help us, a school to support us, and friends to guide us and we should do our best to give this to our community.
1. The Kearney Center
The Kearney Center in Tallahassee provides shelter and meals to those without permanent housing, whether it be families or individuals. They are open 24 hours a day and serve three meals a day. They will also provide you with toiletries, shelter, and even a haircut. They are always asking for volunteers to help, especially around the holidays. As a volunteer, you could be responsible for serving meals, tutoring, laundry, helping in housing, coordinating collection drives, and even providing haircuts–if you are trained. If you decide to work with a group of people, this would be even better in assisting them in a couple of these jobs. With so much to do, there are so many ways to help and give back. You can apply to be a volunteer today through this link: https://kearneycenter.org/get-involved/
2. Donate to Dance Marathon
As you may know, Dance Marathon is one of the biggest events and fundraisers that FSU coordinates each year. It has really developed into a schoolwide effort. If you have not created your own fundraising page, consider doing so, or donate to someone you know. With so many involved, you are sure to find someone to donate to. This could even turn into something bigger that ends with you joining to become a dancer for our final event in the spring. But I am getting ahead of myself here. Instead, learn about the children, the cause, and FSU’s part in it, and donate what you can. Follow this link to learn more about them: https://www.dmfsu.org/
3. Donate items
If you are unable to donate to the Kearney Center, they also accept and encourage donations. Being that it is now turning to winter, they are in need of items like blankets, sweaters and jackets, and boots. Year-round they are in need of hygiene products like toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine products, razors, toilet paper, and body wash. If you would rather make a monetary donation that the center uses where they need, then this will work as well. Donations and contacts for item donations can be found here: https://kearneycenter.org/wishlist/
4. Volunteer for the Festival of Trees
Habitat for Humanity in Tallahassee is responsible for hosting and coordinating the Festival of Trees. If you have not heard of this before, it is an event where individuals decorate themed trees with amazing decorations that are absolutely gorgeous and over the top. During the event, people are able to bid on and buy these trees to bring home with them. This is typically a fancier event with refreshments and activities for children. The supplies for these decorations come from sponsors who donate the money for the trees and supplies. Not only are you getting into the holiday spirit, but you are also able to give back to Habitat for Humanity, which will use the money raised to buy supplies to continue in their mission of building houses for families whose homes were once ruined.
5. Pay it forward
At work the other day, I was in the drive-thru and a young couple asked me to pay for the order of the people behind them. I did and then I let the following woman know that her order had been paid for. Due to her shock, she paid for the people behind her. I was amazed at how many people were willing to pay it forward. This went on for a few cars and I felt like it was just this amazing moment that I got to realize and it gave me hope to see people give back. If you are unaware of the movie or the idea “Pay it Foward, ” it is a movement to do something good for someone and ask them to pay it forward to someone else. Whether it is paying for their order or simply helping them in a time of need. I’d like to believe that this movement and idea is still very much alive. Whether it is or not, maybe we could continue it on, do something, some small something, for someone this week to give back. You may be genuinely surprised by how amazing it makes you feel, as well as how much you have helped someone else.