With the holiday season in full swing, many of us are busy with making sure our “Holiday To-Do List” is complete. Trips to buy Christmas trees, decorating the house, baking delicious holiday treats, attending events with family and friends and, of course, shopping are a few of the enjoyable activities many of us happily bide our time doing. This is the one time of year where there are countless opportunities to surround yourself with your loved ones and enjoy quality time together. As Andy Williams belts out, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
For many, this is the least wonderful time of the year. The holiday season is hardest on those who are suffering mentally, physically and/or emotionally. For those in pain, this season is absolutely the most daunting. As many of us rush around, we may not realize how many may not have family, friends and a warm home in which to enjoy this season.
The good news is that our area has plenty of opportunities to give back to the community throughout the month. Curious about how you can brighten the day of someone in pain? Read on for five excellent opportunities to help spread kindness as well as holiday cheer.
Giving Back Opportunity #1: Salvation Army’s “Angel Tree” – What began in 1979 is one of the ministry’s highest profile Christmas projects today. This effort first asks children to write down what they wish for on cards, many of which featured angels on them. The cards then hang on a tree in the center of the mall, where shoppers can pick up a card and buy an item for a child in need. After COVID, the organization has decided to make the Angel Tree project a virtual one, where participants can go online and adopt three angels to support. For further information, contact Salvation Army at 336.723.6366, or visit their website for more information on the various projects this organization does.
Giving Back Opportunity #2: The Winston-Salem Jaycees’ “Christmas Cheer Project” – For the past 32 years, the Winston-Salem Jaycees have been giving back to the community through various fundraising events. According to their website, the organization works with the Salvation Army to “benefit economically disadvantaged children.” On a specific day in December (call to find out), the organization will meet at a local Target to shop for needed items. Their goal is to raise $8,000 for the event. For further information, contact the Christmas Cheer co-chairs with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to fill out a form.
Giving Back Opportunity #3: City with Dwellings’ Winter Food Preparation – City with Dwellings is a unique community-first initiative that works to end homelessness in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. According to their website, “we are cultivating a community of care so that people can move with dignity from trauma and homelessness to healing and housing stability.” The program provides a unique platform for volunteers and organizations across the community to connect and build relationships with individuals who are experiencing homelessness. Every holiday season, the organization needs volunteers for food preparation for their Winter Shelter. While in-person meal preparation and delivery are a wonderful option for families who want to give back, donations of goods are appreciated, and a current list of needs can be found on the website.
Giving Back Opportunity #4: Forsyth Humane Society’s “Lights of Hope” – Thanks to the Forsyth Humane Society, 30,000+ pets have been saved through their care since 2017. This awe-inspiring statistic is thanks to the challenging work of the organization. Every evening, from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm, visitors can drive through the parking lot of the society, tune into 88.1 to listen to holiday music and view the symbolic “Lights of Hope.” Each holiday light represents the 30,000+ pets the organization has been able to help. However, the lights also represent other pets which have impacted residents. Lights cost $10 and are available for purchase on their website. Funds will be used to continue the work of supporting shelter pets throughout the Winston-Salem community. For more information, call 336.721.1303, or visit the website at forsythhumane.org.
Giving Back Opportunity #5: Senior Services’ “Remember in December” – Sadly, many seniors are alone, hungry and laboring to meet basic needs. For people who find themselves in this situation, the simple task of obtaining basics such as soap, toothpaste, paper towels and other household, hygiene and health necessities are often incredibly daunting. Beginning on November 30th, individuals can drop off contributions and donations at Senior Services, 2895 Shorefair Drive, Monday through Friday, between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm, or at any Forsyth County Piedmont Federal Savings Bank branch. A wishlist is available on their website for review.