As we enter the holiday season and find ourselves rushing around to buy gifts, write Christmas cards, prepare food, and attend holiday parties, we often forget how difficult this time of year can be for those facing adversity. It is hard to comprehend the needs of the less fortunate when we are surrounded by loved ones, gifts, and celebrations. However, it isn’t hard to show that you care.
Words of encouragement and acts of service are wonderful ways to spread love with just your time and kindness. If you are financially able, you can also show support through gift-giving. Giving to those in need is a meaningful way to celebrate the holidays, and these 4 easy ideas can make a big impact.
Easy Ways to Give to Those in Need
Easy-to-Prepare Meals for Families in Need
Families in need of a hot meal may not always be able to cook for themselves. Those who are facing sickness, injury, grief, or other hardships could benefit from easy-to-prepare meals that require minimal effort. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to give the gift of easy, delicious meals. Acres & Oak offers a wide variety of dishes that are family-size and ready for your oven.
Some of the easiest types of meals to for overwhelmed family to prepare are casseroles, pastas, and pies. Acres & Oak Kitchen offers delicious options such as chicken pot pie and baked spaghetti. These are completely pre-made and can stored until ready for baking. For breakfast, our kitchen offers breakfast casserole, hashbrown casserole, and quiche, which is a nutrient-rich meal that can be prepared in the same manner. If baking is not an option, consider meals that do not need to be consumed hot, such as our salads.
If you know any families who could benefit from easy-to-prepare meals, be sure to find out about any food allergies or dietary restrictions they may have. If this isn’t possible, you may want to give a gift card so that the family can pick their own dishes. At Acres & Oak Kitchen, you can purchase a gift card bundle of 10 or more $25 gift cards for just $20 each – perfect for spreading holiday cheer!
Food Bank Donations
The fight against hunger and food insecurity is one of the most impactful initiatives to contribute to. Food banks and pantries accept donations all year long, but many local businesses partner with these organizations to host food drives throughout the holiday season. This makes it easy to find drop-off locations near you, where they accept canned goods and non-perishable food items..
Make sure your donations are store-bought, unopened, labeled, and not expired. Food banks often ask for items such as whole-grain rice, pasta, cereal, dried beans and lentils, canned fruits and vegetables, jams, nuts, nut butters, and canned meats. They prefer nutritious items with low to no sodium or sugar.
In addition, you can donate monetary gifts or even volunteer at your local food bank. Many of these locations are in need of volunteers to sort and inspect donations, package meals and boxes of groceries, and distribute or deliver items.
Toys for Tots
Another great way to give to those in need is through the Toys for Tots program run by the U.S. Marine Corps. This program started in 1947 as a way to provide Christmas gifts to children whose parents cannot afford to do so. Their main goal is to spread joy and hope to less fortunate children and their families during the holidays.
This program partners with businesses across the country as a way to provide local campaigns and nearby drop-off sites. Gift donations can be any new, unwrapped toy that you deem appropriate for a child, except realistic-looking weapons or food items. Many campaigns assist children up to age 12, but some local campaigns extend the age limit to 14 or 16. If you do not want to pick out a toy, you can easily donate a monetary amount online at toysfortots.org!
Supplies for Homeless Shelters
Local homeless shelters for men and women offer refuge, meals, and other amenities that are maintained through donations and the efforts of volunteers. In many locations, shelters will update their websites with a list of their most-needed items. Common needs are food items, clothing, linens, hygiene items, and cleaning supplies.
Homelessness is a growing problem in America that is especially devastating during the colder months. As various organizations work to provide for the basic needs of families in despair, they could always use more help and supplies. Donating is as easy as dropping off your items at a local shelter or giving money online.
How to Give
Of all the ways to celebrate the holidays this year, showing kindness to those who need it is the most meaningful. Whether you are able to give gifts, volunteer your time, or just speak encouragement, there are numerous opportunities to show others that you care. If you would like to give through one of the options listed in this post, you can find all the resources you need online. Click here to find your local food bank or your local homeless shelters.
If you would like to give the gift of easy-to-prepare meals, you can view the Acres & Oak online menu for a selection of pre-made appetizers, entrees, side dishes and more. Each item has a list of ingredients so that you can make appropriate selections for those who have food allergies.
In addition, by shopping with Acres & Oak, you will automatically be supporting a non-profit. Through our Acres of Giving initiative, we donate 1% of our monthly sales to a local non-profit organization in one of our communities every single month. Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions, or visit one of our stores located in Macon, Tifton, and Perry, GA.