When one person influences another, a ripple effect is launched. That one act, over time, has the power to enact change that can impact generations. One single person. One simple act. I hope the ideas and resources on this page will inspire you to launch a ripple of your own.
(NOTE: The plan for this page is to fill it with ideas, tools and helpful links but, because we are in the midst of the holiday season, I’m temporarily filling it with ideas for spreading love and kindness throughout the season.)
If you have known me for awhile or followed my food blog, you know my passions are cooking for others, reaching out to “the least of these,” and spreading kindness through love both in action and in words. I combine my passions by serving in local soup kitchens, bringing comforting casseroles to families going through a rough time, or simply by being there for someone so they know they matter.
Cooking may not be your passion but there are lots of different ways to reach out to others during this holiday season… and beyond. Choose what fits with your time and budget and works with your gifts. Whatever you do, do it with love.
- Bring dinner to a shut-in and stay and share the meal.
- Bring Christmas decorations, music, and a warm meal to an elderly person who doesn’t have family or friends nearby to help them or to celebrate with.
- Collect socks, blankets and coats for the homeless.
- Spend your family vacation on a mission trip.
- One day each month, serve your family what a typical meal would be for a family living in extreme poverty and talk about it over dinner. The money you save could be used to sponsor a child through Compassion International or donated to missionaries or a local shelter or soup kitchen.
- Run errands for someone who is unable to run errands for themselves.
- Sing Christmas carols at a retirement center.
- Ask your pastor if there is a family within your congregation or community that needs some assistance this year. Anonymously provide gifts and food items for the family. This is a wonderful activity to do as a family.
- Call your local shelter and ask if they need help serving food or if they are low on blankets or other items.
- Send cards to troops overseas and/or help the family of a soldier who is overseas. I bet they would love phone cards!
- Visit children in the chronically and/or terminally ill ward of the hospital. Family members need time to spend at home with their other children and this provides them with a much-needed break. You can read to the kids or play board games or color with them. I did this once a week for several years and it truly was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
- Secretly leave gifts or gift cards for families that you know could use a little help this year. Do this anonymously. Your family will have so much fun being ninjas. Seriously… the sneaky element makes this so much fun!
- As a family, fill a shoebox or two for Samaritans Purse.
- Bake some holiday goodies and take to a neighbor who you haven’t met or to someone new to the neighborhood.
- Invite a teen over for dinner whom you know will not have much of a holiday this year. Invite them to join in with your family activities and feel the love of Christ in your home. (This is also a great idea for anyone who will be alone this Christmas.)
- Visit members of your church or place of work who are in the hospital.
- Pick a child from an Angel Tree and purchase and wrap a gift from their wish list. For some kids, this will be their only Christmas gift.
- Bake cookies for co-workers or neighbors and tie an encouraging note around them with a pretty ribbon.
These are just some ideas to get you started. I would love to hear your ideas for reaching out to others during the holiday season. And, remember, the lonely, the hungry, the cold, and the hurting, are lonely, hungry, cold and hurting all year around.