Haims: Giving beyond the holiday season | VailDaily.com

Haims: Giving beyond the holiday season

Throughout the holiday season, there are all sorts of efforts to help those in need. In metropolitan areas people often visit the local soup kitchen, some build baskets for families in need, schools adopt families to provide meals and gifts, and religious organizations assist individuals and families in need.

Why is it mostly during the holidays that we acknowledge these acts of kindness? Of course, the holiday season is a time to come together and support one another. The season promotes the spirit of giving and community. It is a time when many people satisfy their deeply-held need to find meaning in life 

Charitable giving statistics indicate that almost 30% of all annual donations occur during the holiday season — specifically, December. There are, however, 11 other months of the year where we can make efforts to do good for our community and others.

This holiday season, consider what you can do to better our community. Giving back doesn’t have to be financial. If each one of us was willing to give an hour each month for a total of 12 hours per year, imagine the impact it could have within our community. 

Look around and find a need

A while back a friend shared a story with me. He is in the hospitality business. In the winter when he is most busy, he leaves to work at 5 a.m. For many years when he’d leave to work, he would watch his elderly neighbor shovel snow from their driveway. My friend knew this could one day end poorly and asked to assist. His neighbor appreciated the offer but stated that they had been shoveling the driveway for more winters than my friend was alive.

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It’s been a number of years since this encounter. However, now my friend’s son is older and in high school. For the past two years, my friend’s son shovels their neighbor’s driveway before he leaves for school.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked my friend’s son if he still was shoveling his neighbor’s driveway. Not only had he told me he was, but he informed me that one of his buddy’s caught on to what he was doing and had started doing the same for a neighbor near his home. 

What a special and simple thing it is that these young men have chosen to do to help others in their neighborhood. If we all could look around to see what we could do to help a neighbor or community member, we could further add to what makes our community special and unique.

Be philanthropic to local organizations

We all can impact our community for the better. The beauty of philanthropy is that it does not have to be extravagant. It can be as simple as helping out during the summer for the Community Pride Highway Cleanup, the Summer Solstice Trail Run, the LG triathlon, participate in YouthPower365, or even attending a Whistle Pig event.

While there are many fabulous charitable organizations here in the Vail Valley, below I have provided information of a couple of organizations that I have personal familiarity with. These organizations contribute to and directly better our community. 

Vail Valley Charitable Fund is an amazing organization whose purpose is to assist people who live and work in the Vail Valley and have experienced a medical crisis or long-term illness. For those who have felt the financial pressure of medical bills or have been unable to afford a lifesaving medical procedure, this organization does its best to assist.

If you’re looking for a charity to help out this year, consider the Vail Valley Charitable Fund. Write them a check or participate in one of their summer fundraisers. Contact them at 970-524-1480 or http://vvcf.org.

For almost 40 years, the Vail Valley Foundation has been raising money to enhance the lives of our community’s children and their education. They also have been integral in promoting the arts and athletics in our community. Check out all the things they do at https://vvf.org.

Invest in the valley by volunteering

Volunteering is a great way to further a cause, support an organization and make a difference in our community. It can also be an opportunity to meet new people and learn new skills.

If you’d like to give something besides money (which is always needed), consider lending your time and talents to organizations that are important to you. The nonprofit/volunteer sectors cannot take the place of government programs, nor can they single-handedly cure the ills and disparities of society. However, each of us can make a difference in a small way, in our own sphere, and can find ways to help that will make our efforts meaningful to ourselves and others.

This holiday season, don’t look at charitable giving as another item on your holiday checklist. Make true giving an ongoing mentality.

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