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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Tis the season for giving back!

We all want to find a way to help others, especially during the holidays, yet many people do not know how to go about it. There are countless options to assist those in need, all of which involve different levels of monetary and time commitment. It can be as easy as going down to your neighborhood food bank, supporting a local toy drive or donating clothes and food to those in need. 

You need to find out what you are passionate about! Do you want to make a difference in a child's life? the elderly? animals? After you figure it out then you need to decide how much time and/or money you want to contribute to the cause. Once you take care of that, then you need to contact a charity of your choice and get started. It's that easy! If you truly want to do it, there is a way. 

Everyone wants to volunteer and get more involved over the holidays, but we need to remember that these organizations need our help all year long. For as long as I can remember, I've been involved with many different non-profit organizations in the Seattle area. I try to volunteer on the weekends, after work, drop off donations throughout the year. And of course, I do my best to raise awareness in the community.

There is no shortage of ways to make a difference! Here's a short list of some great ways to help around Seattle this holiday season. Let me know if you have something coming up and I would love to help you spread the word. I hope you can make it to at least one of these events. 

Make a child’s holiday memorable! 

Seattle's Union Gospel Mission is known for providing emergency care and long-term recovery services to hurting and homeless people in the greater Seattle area. I've had the pleasure to volunteer at many of their events. They are always fun and only require a few hours of your time. 

Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor and his Kam cares Foundation are joining forces with Seattle UGM for their third annual holiday drive. This year, the toy drive is taking place at World of Beer in Renton, WA on 12/13 starting at 2:00 P.M. Fans are asked to bring an unwrapped toy. 

Adopt a family for Christmas! 

Bellevue LifeSpring’s helps struggling families through their Holiday Adopt-a-Family program in which sponsors provide gifts and food for those in need. Families may choose to sponsor/adopt a family for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or both. Parents involve the kiddos with present selections and talk about nutrition while filling the food baskets.

Serve Wounded Warriors

Heartbeat hosts an annual Christmas party for wounded soldiers and their families. A great way to participate is by filling one of the large, homemade stockings that each veteran receives. This is a perfect opportunity for parents and their kids to bring some holiday cheer to local wounded warriors. 

Runway to Freedom is committed to empowering survivors of domestic violence. You can donate online now and support them in their efforts of empowering domestic violence victims to become survivors. 

Mary's Place serves homeless women, children and families in emergency situations, providing practical tools and resources that help women find housing and employment, including day and night shelters, hot meals, workshops, resources and more.

Everyone already knows and loves Seattle Children's for their outstanding excellence in children's healthcare, but did you know that they also have great volunteer opportunities, toy drives for patients and donation drop offs available? Check out their 'donate' and 'volunteer' sections under Ways to Help on their website for upcoming holiday gift drives, volunteer openings and much more. Seattle Children’s encourages folks to attend a holiday fundraiser in the Puget Sound area, varying from luncheons to concerts and shopping events.

Northwest Harvest is known for being Washington's own statewide hunger agency relief since its founding in 1967. Northwest Harvest operates the Cherry Street Food Bank in Seattle and partners with many other food banks throughout the state.

Treehouse is dedicated to providing foster kids with basic necessities, along with extracurricular activities, summer camps, educational support and other resources that help children lead normal and fulfilling lives. They have numerous volunteer opportunities available. Check the website for further information on how you too can help local children in the foster care system, from hosting a holiday donation drive to taking a spin on the holiday carousel in downtown Seattle (donations benefit Treehouse). 
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