Many people give back during the holidays whether they volunteer at a soup kitchen, contribute to their favorite charity, or provide a gift basket to a family in need. However, after the new year, many of us go back to our regular routine and feel like we’ve already done our part. And while the holiday season’s effort is much appreciated, many people will need help long after the festivities are over. 2021 will be a very different year for millions of people.
The pandemic has left much of our service economy in a terrible state, along with the workers that gained their livelihood from restaurants, retail stores, hotels, etc. There are direct results for every business that closes, and then all the other trickle-down effects. For example, when a restaurant goes out of business, the chef, the waiters, hosts, and busboys lose their jobs. However, many other companies are affected, like the cleaners, the linen suppliers, and even the service repairmen. So, this year if you are well enough off to still have a job, and your life is relatively stable, think about ways big and small that you can help those less fortunate. FirstLantic has five ideas for giving back in 2021.
- Volunteer at a local food bank: When the holidays’ end, unfortunately, food insecurity does not. Nearly one in four families have experienced food insecurity this year. Even before COVID, 10.5% of all U.S. households experienced food insecurity at some point during 2019. In a country where over 40 million tons of food go to waste each year, that is unacceptable. Find out how you can help.
- Write a letter or call a single friend or family member: Many people feel lonelier after the holidays are over. Perhaps they were lucky enough to have some family or close friends with them over the last several weeks. However, not that the festivities are almost over, the house can seem much quieter, and there isn’t anything immediate to look forward to, so make sure to let them know that you’re there for them.
- Mentor a child online: Many parents struggle with their kids getting further behind as distance learning is becoming a more long-term reality. Lower-income, working parents may not have the time or the skills to help their children as much as they would like, and many would welcome a pair of helping hands.
- Find a pen pal: Many older people that live alone or are in an assisted living facility have not been able to have visitors for months due to COVID. Make their day by sending a card or developing a pen-pal relationship. FirstLantic visited some senior homes at Thanksgiving to provide some much-needed diversions.
- Foster an animal: While adoptions are at an all-time high, millions of animals are still waiting for their forever home. Many people have had to contemplate giving up their pets because they can no longer afford their medical care. If you have the income, why not offer to pay the vet bill for a needy person. Many vets will offer reduced prices as well, so it may not be as pricey as you imagine. You can also donate toys, blankets, food, and crates to a local shelter.
Now that 2021 is almost here, let’s remind ourselves that giving should take place all year long, not just during the holidays. Whether you donate money, ideas, or time, every little bit can help those who need it most. So, if you’re lucky enough to be healthy, happy, and financially stable, pay it forward!
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