Saying this time of year is busy is an understatement. While it's easy to get wrapped up in the decorations, music, food and everything else that comes with the holiday season, it's also an important time of year to reflect on what we can do for others. This can mean volunteering your time at a food kitchen, helping collect gifts for needing families, or simply making a financial donation. But before you take out that check book it's important to note the growing trend towards gift cards this holiday season. Many nonprofits are recommending donors give gift cards instead of the standard canned foods or teddy bears so that families are then able to go make the purchases for food or gifts themselves. See how these organization are making a difference in peoples lives with gift cards during the holidays:
Gift cards for turkeys
The Williston Community Food Shelf in VT is asking for donations of turkeys and sides, but including the option for people to also donate gift cards to local supermarkets, allowing families to purchase their own ingredients to prepare Thanksgiving meals.
Gift cards for our military
The Marine Corps Air Station Yuma Officers' Spouses Club (OSC) in AZ raises funds to help make the holidays better for many service members and their families. The money raised is used towards purchasing $25 gift cards that are then distributed to needing service members who can buy food for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.
Gift cards for kids
The Pettengill House in MA is forgoing the collection of toys and instead encouraging people to donate gift cards during the holidays to assist parents with children who do not have designated programs in their towns or who do not qualify. The idea is to reach those who may be overlooked, like teens who are too old to qualify for these programs.
Bus drivers donating gift cards
The Ridge Road Express bus drivers make a special trip during December to deliver holiday cheer to some special children. The drivers team up with Carly's Club for Kids & Cancer Research in Western New York. According to Carley's Club, almost half of the children have gift cards on their wish list, popular venues include stores that sell clothing, video games, toys, sporting goods, as well as restaurants, movie theaters, and music.
Gift cards for hospital residents
The Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill in Smyrna and the Governor Bacon Health Center in Delaware City are asking for community support this holiday season for their residents. While many residents have little family involvement or support, they are asking for the generosity of neighbors, local businesses and volunteers to help fulfill resident wishes during the holidays. They recommend donors spend no more than $25 and donations can also be made in the form of gift cards or by check.