On the 6th Day of Christmas…

The holiday season is a time for giving. We give time as well as gifts to family, friends, and others in our lives. But, it is also important to give to those we don’t know and celebrate the real meaning of the season. All ages can contribute their time by giving back to their community. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of time, even the smallest project can make an impact. Need some ideas for giving back? Read below. 

• Visit a nursing home: This can be done as a family or with a group. Make cards and decorations beforehand and take them with you to give to the residents. Also, bring some holiday cheer by singing a few carols while there. Be sure to call ahead and schedule your visit. 
• Volunteer at a homeless shelter: When I was in elementary school, my Girl Scout troop volunteered at the Salvation Army shelter during December. We helped serve dinner, talked with the residents, and then sang Christmas carols. In addition, we brought bags filled with snacks, toiletries, and gloves and socks to pass out. Looking back this was one of my favorite memories of giving back during the holidays. Take some time and visit your local homeless shelter. Help with a meal or make bags to hand out.Personalize these care kits to the different types of shelters. For example, add more products for women if you are taking them to a woman’s shelter and don’t forget to include something for the kids. Want to make it resemble the holidays more? Fill a stocking with granola bars, water bottles, a toothbrush, and toothpaste, socks and gloves.
• Donate to a food bank: During the holiday season, this act of kindness is one of the most common, but yet is still in great demand, especially after the holidays. Take your kids to the grocery store and let them pick out the nonperishable goods to donate to your local food bank or ministry with a food pantry. Also, pick up some toiletries to include with your donation
• Send Christmas cards to deployed soldiers or to your local veterans hospitalThis simple act goes a long way. Be creative and create homemade Christmas cards for soldiers overseas and fore veterans at the veterans hospital. These cards will help them remember that people are thinking about them and their sacrifices for our country during the holidays. You can also prepare a care package to send with the cards. There are several organizations that help soldiersreceive the packages, such as Support Our Troops and Holiday Mail for Heroes. 
• Cook and bake: Cooking a meal or baking cookies is a great gesture to say thank-you to the various people in our lives. Prepare a casserole to freeze or a crockpot meal for your neighbors in need or take a meal to the employees at the police department, fire station, or EMS workers. Don’t want to do a meal? Bake cookies and sweets to give to neighbors, teachers, librarians, post office works, your mailman, and many more. 
• Deliver hot chocolate to the Salvation Army bell ringers: It can be cold standing outside stores, ringing the bells for a good cause. But you can make things warmer by bringing them hot chocolate. Make a batch and fill a thermos with the chocolate drink. Then, take cups and deliver the snack to the volunteers at various stores. In addition, bake some holiday cookies to take with you. 
• Clean out the toy box and closet: If there is a toy your child hasn’t played with in a while or a coat you haven’t worn in years, donate it to a local shelter or toy and coat drive. Someone will appreciate being able to give their child a gift this season or have something warm to wear when the weather gets cooler. Also, gather items for an angel on the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree or the holiday stocking drives. 

 

Whatever way you choose to give back, know you are making a difference in a person’s life. Yes, the holidays are a busy time, but there is always time to remember the reason for the season. 

xoxo,

Megan

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Give Thanks

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I hope you have a great Thanksgiving! Stop and give thanks for your many blessings. Thank you for following along on this journey with me!

xoxo,

Megan

My Christmas Wish

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Yesterday, I went to go pick-up a medicine for my grandmother. This medicine happened to be at the pharmacy in the local hospital’s cancer center. As I walked through the doors, a sense of empathy overcame me. I remember walking these floors before when I took my grandmother to chemotherapy or attended a doctor’s appointment with my mom. However, this time it was different. No one in my family has cancer, but I understood the battle everyone in that building was facing.

While I waited for the medicine, a couple came in to speak with the pharmacist. The husband had just been diagnosed with cancer and was being informed about his treatment. While I listened to the conversation, I kept thinking “why would God let this happen to someone right before Christmas and how can I help?”

The question “how can I change the world” has laid heavily on my heart this past week. There are so many causes I care about: veterans, mental health, cancer patients and families, children, pets, and homelessness. How can I help them all? My answer: complete a random act of kindness every day and God will do the rest.

I talk about spreading kindness and giving to others a lot; however, it is so important to do in today’s world. My Christmas wish is that by next Christmas, the world will be a better place and that everyone will be on their way to making a difference.

Merry Christmas!

xoxo,

Megan

 

Helping the California Wildfire Victims

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I’m in North Carolina and as I sit writing this post, snow is melting outside. Snow? In the south? On December 10th? Yes, a majority of the south was covered with blankets of the white fluff over the weekend. However, the western part of the nation is fighting something a little hotter than snow.

Southern California is currently battling six fires, spanning over 175,000 and 212,000 residents have evacuated from their homes. In addition, almost 8,500 firefighters have been working around the clock, trying to put out the blazes. Every day, more and more people are leaving their homes; animals and nature are becoming innocent victims.

If you are like me, you can’t imagine leaving your home at Christmas and not knowing when you might be able to come back. The holiday season is a season of giving. Below are some ways for you to help the victims of the California wildfires. I encourage you to donate whatever you can.

Give back to those affected by the California wildfires this holiday season!

xoxo,

Megan

 

Giving Tuesday: Helping Others During the Holidays

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Every year, a lot of people spend the days after Thanksgiving shopping ‘til they drop and checking items off their holiday gift lists. Of course, turkey day is on a Thursday, then there is Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, but it doesn’t stop there. The Tuesday following Thanksgiving is now known as “Giving Tuesday” with the purpose of giving back to others. Since originating in 2012, this day has gained popularity and support with every passing year. This year, Giving Tuesday will be celebrated on November 28th, this upcoming Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday was created by the 92nd Street Y in New York City and the United Nations Foundation as a way to kick-off the charitable season through holiday and end-of-year giving. According to givingtuesday.org, the internationally recognized day brings individuals, communities, and organizations together for one purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving. On this Tuesday, the hashtag #GivingTuesday, is used around the world on various social media platforms to promote change and volunteering in one’s community. This hashtag inspires people to donate their time, resources, and talents. In addition, online donations are encouraged. Giving Tuesday exemplifies the influence families, individuals, nonprofits, organizations, and businesses have in turning small acts of kindness into powerful change and making the world a better place. According to USA Today, in 2016, over $168 million dollars in charitable donations worldwide were made during Giving Tuesday, breaking the 2015 total by 44%, and online donations increased by 31%. Lastly, since 2012, the popularity and presence of Giving Tuesday increased by 317%. Sounds like this day will continue making a greater impact on everyone as the years go by.

Looking for ways you and your family and friends can give back on this Tuesday? Read below to get inspiration.

Online Donations:

If you are in a pinch for time, online donations are one of the quickest ways to participate in Giving Tuesday. Most charities and nonprofits have links for donating on their websites and many will have special Giving Tuesday campaigns. Another way to give back is by choosing your favorite charity on Amazon Smile. For every eligible purchase you make on Amazon, 0.5% will go to the organization. Visit smile.amazon.com to learn more.

Volunteering Your Time:

One of the best parts of volunteering is actually spending time at the organization. This is a chance for you to meet the workers and sometimes the people receiving the charity’s assistance. Set aside a portion of time during Giving Tuesday to volunteer. This could be done in the morning, lunchtime, afternoon, or evening. Maybe it is helping serve dinner at the local soup kitchen or playing with the animals at the Humane Society? Again, decide on an organization that is personal and impactful for you and contact them to see the best way you can serve them. Volunteering doesn’t have to be an all-day adventure; it can only be a few hours. Get your family and friends involved and see all the ways you can make a difference.

Volunteering Your Resources and Talents: 

Maybe it’s through having a bake sale for the hospital or knitting blankets for hospice; whatever activity you choose to volunteer, you are using your resources and talents. Think about your hobbies and skills and how you can turn those into helping others. Other ideas include having a donation/collection drive for supplies, food, books, and more, writing cards to veterans and active military members, delivering special treats to police officers and firefighters, or running errands for elderly neighbors. A simple Google search can bring up multiple ideas for ways to volunteer your resources and talents.

Spread the Word:

The power of social media is huge in today’s world. Every day, there is something new going viral. One of the quickest and biggest ways you can make an impact on Giving Tuesday is through promoting it on your personal social media accounts. Send out save the date reminders using the hashtag #GivingTuesday. Then, on November 28th, use your voice to get others participating in the movement. Share how you are giving back and ideas for others.

Giving Tuesday doesn’t have to be a one-day only event; it is something that should happen every day of the year. Mark your calendars and start planning on how you and your family will help others in your community on this important day. For more information, visit: givingtuesday.org.

xoxo,

Megan

Article published in Forsyth Woman Magazine. 

Giving Back with a Bruised Heart

It seems as if I should provide a somewhat disclaimer. The next few upcoming posts are going to be a little heavy with emotion and meaning. I’ll throw in a few lighthearted posts in between to change the mood, but sometimes I like to discuss more serious topics and start conversations every now and then.

This past week has been very stressful and hard for my family. We are right now dealing with a family member’s health issues and trying to keep it all, along with other things, in balance. You see, when your family goes through stressful times, you lean on each other and sometimes, not meaning to, take the stress out on each other. This past Friday night, my mom and I had a huge fight, probably the biggest ever. I’m not telling you this for sympathy, I’m telling you this because I’m human and things happen. Let’s just say that fight was long and took a great deal out of me. Well, the next morning, I was supposed to be up at 6:30 am and go help work on a house for Habitat for Humanity. A group from the magazine I write for was volunteering. I knew it was going to be a fun time, helping a great cause. But, you know what? After Friday night’s fight and the stressful week, building a house wasn’t one top of my fun list.

6:30 Saturday morning, my alarm went off. By then, my mom and I were on better terms. So, I put on make-up, got dress, and out the door I went. And now, I’m glad I did.

Saturday ended up being a great day! I’m always one for volunteering and helping others in the community. However, sometimes it can be hard to give back when things in your life aren’t going so well. But, during the hard times, giving back can be one of the best things you can do. When I left the job site that afternoon, I felt confident and empowered. I felt better about myself because I knew I helped work on a house that will soon be a loving home for a family in my community. In addition, I made memories with my friends that will last forever. We laughed, we talked, and we worked hard. Our task was to finish the siding on the outside of the house. At first, I thought “there is no way.” But then, little by little, our team finished the job and learned a new skill in the meantime.

Let me tell you friends, giving back in your community is a powerful thing, no matter what is happening in your life. You’ll be happy to know things are fine between my mom and I and if you ever need someone to put siding on your house, I’m the person to call 🙂

xoxo,

Megan