The holiday season is filled with opportunities to help others in need. The experience of giving teaches us, and our children, important life lessons and allows us to feel more connected to each other. Through giving we gain a deeper appreciation of presence.

As we approach the New Year, consider what gifts you have to offer others through volunteerism and charity in your daily life. By doing for others, we can enrich our own lives and strengthen our relationships. Sharing your time, energy and money really does make you feel good. Staying engaged in volunteer activities can help you to remain more vital and independent through your lifetime.

Choosing a cause that you are passionate about is important. For example, if you are passionate about healthy living, consider supporting a community health foundation or charity to fight a specific disease. This will help you sustain your philanthropy in tough economic times.

Think carefully about the following questions, consider your budget and your schedule, and select just one or a few causes that are meaningful to you.

  • Why do you want to give? Do you have time you would like to dedicate to a worthy cause? Do you want to fulfill a personal legacy or honor the memory of a loved one? Do you want to lend your professional skills and knowledge, or make good use of your hobby?
  • What inspires you to give? Whether it’s an endangered species or deadly disease or devastating natural disaster, there are charities abound. You can devote some of your time to Hospice Associations, Humane Societies, or mentoring youth. Clarify what moves you to refine the possibilities. Consider if you want your resources to be invested in the local neighborhood and/or national and global efforts.
  • How do you want to give? Writing a check is fabulous, but you can also run a race; collect clothing and food; prepare and deliver meals; create and send care packages; support a school fundraiser; conduct a letter-writing campaign; and so much more.
  • How can you make the biggest impact? Recruit a friend or a co-worker to double your efforts. If you don’t already have one, initiate a Volunteer Committee at your workplace. In Montgomery County, reach out to groups such as the Corporate Volunteer Council or Healthy Community Impact Fund.

Ready to give? Find opportunities on the web, such as Volunteers of America or Corporation for National & Community Service.

You can also help support us in our mission to provide excellent care to our community by donating to any of our hospitals or foundations, or consider giving your time as a volunteer.

As we perform acts of generosity it nourishes love in our relationships and builds the human spirit.