The holidays are a time for gift-giving, and there’s no better gift than your time and effort applied toward a worthy cause. Keep reading for ways you can help community members in need, which not only brightens their day but yours as well. You’ll also find some fashion inspiration for casual, comfortable outfits to wear while you help out.
We're no strangers to the frantic grocery store dashes that precede a major snow forecast as Wisconsinites. Before you throw on your warmest winter coat and make your next run, consider whether you know people who can't reach the grocery store because of age, disability, or financial hardship. Even if the expected 10 inches blows over, they'll appreciate the extra essentials in their refrigerator.
For the coldest days, make your grocery trips in women’s thermals layered beneath jeans and a wool sweater. Long down coats provide plenty of warmth—choose a hooded style to save your head from getting hit with unexpected rain or snow. Winter gloves protect your hands against frosty temps while cozy scarves keep your neck warm.
Since 1947, this United States Marine Corps Reserve organization has collected new toys and delivered them to parents who would otherwise be unable to provide their children with presents. The volunteer work for this act of kindness requires nothing more than purchasing a toy and dropping it off at your local Toys for Tots drop-off center. You don't even need to wrap it. Just pull on your waterproof winter boots, slush across the parking lot, and drop your gift off at the designated location.
If you’re bringing more than one toy, carry your goodies in storage baskets with handles. You can donate the basket to the organization or reuse it for other charity deliveries. Another basket-oriented idea is to fill one with reasonably priced gifts, wrap it with a decorative ribbon, and give it an anonymous gift. If you’re not sure what to include, consider small items like socks, tins of hot chocolate, crossword puzzle books, and bottles of blowing bubbles.
Volunteer work at your local food bank will be appreciated any time of the year, but the holiday season often requires extra aid as food banks work to connect families in need with holiday meals. So whether you're helping raise funds or deliver meals yourself, your time can mean the difference between a family going hungry or sharing one of the holiday's most cherished traditions. Hint: throw on a pair of long underwear to help regulate your temperature as you dash from your warm car into the cold.
If it’s a milder winter day, slip into your favorite straight-leg jeans and flannel shirt. Or you can wear fleece leggings with a tunic sweater and calf-high boots for an outfit that’s warm, comfortable, and allows for freedom of movement.
There's a lot to like about snow days. But if age or a physical disability prevents people from shoveling out their driveway or vehicle, a blanket of snow can feel like a trap. All that you need to help them out of it is a shovel, a warm winter coat, a good pair of gloves, and a little elbow grease.
You’ll also need a pair of women’s winter boots with nonslip soles. There are many styles to consider, including insulated Squall boots and flannel-lined duck boots. In addition, you’ll find snow boots with faux fur trim that you can coordinate with a faux-fur lined coat, along with cozy boot socks crafted from wool-blend fabric for toasty warmth.
The need for clothing is never felt so urgently as during the winter months. Find out if a charity near you is working to provide people in need with warm winter clothing. Whether it's by donating your old clothing, purchasing new warm winter hats and jackets to be handed out, or assisting in collection drives and delivery, you can bring a touch of literal warmth to someone's holiday season.
Plus, when you donate your old winter clothes, it makes room for new apparel. So winter is a great time to update your wardrobe with classic and on-trend pieces such as high-rise jeans, cashmere sweaters, jeggings, and tunics.
Remember the homeless animals this holiday season. Bring holiday cheer to shelter dogs and cats by donating furry blankets and fun toys for them to enjoy. Animal shelters can always use donations of pet food, litter, and other animal-care essentials. You may be able to help in different ways as well, such as raising awareness on social media about pets up for adoption.
Try one or more of the volunteering ideas on this list, or come up with your own. You may be particularly drawn to a local, national, or worldwide charity organization. Every little bit counts when it comes to helping others, so don’t ever think your efforts are too small.