We tend to spend more time indoors and at home during the winter, but our communities and the people around us still need our kindness and care throughout these long, cold months.
Here are some great ways for you and your family to reach out and continue making your community safer, healthier and happier this winter.
- Check in. If you have elderly or mobility-challenged neighbors, give them a call after bad storms to find out if they’re doing okay or if they need any help. If they don’t have a snow-removal service, consider clearing their driveways and walks while you’re out doing yours. If you mobilize other neighbors to help, the job will get done in no time at all and help bring people together!
- Donate winter clothes. At the start of the season, go through all of your cold-weather gear and see if there’s anything you can donate to local shelters. Warm coats, hats, boots, mittens and scarves that your family no longer needs will be appreciated by those who would otherwise go cold this winter.
- Feed the hungry. Spread some warmth by donating hot, nutritious meals to those in need, including neighbors who may be housebound and unable to get out for supplies. Keep special diets and allergies in mind if you know the recipient of your meal. Local places of worship often have meal programs or food ministries you can join. These groups ensure that meals are made and delivered to those that most need them, including the newly bereaved, those who are ill and perhaps even families who have just arrived home after the birth of a new child. Nutritious soups and hearty stews are perfect to make and share.
- Clear your snow. Walking on snow and ice can be dangerous, so clear your driveway and sidewalk as soon as you can after a snowfall to keep everyone passing by as safe as possible.
- Know who to call. If you see someone who is out in the cold and in need of help, you can get them the care they need much faster when you already know who to call. Keep the number of local homeless outreach programs in your phone so help is always just a quick call away.
- Volunteer. If you’re able to, and public health allows it based on Covid-19 protocols, volunteer at a local homeless shelter or food pantry. The winter months tend to be very busy for these organizations as people try to find shelter from the cold and warmth from hot food and drink. There are often part-time or temporary opportunities to help during the winter months.
- Stock your car with (blessing bags). Keep a few Ziplock bags filled with basic hygiene supplies and nutritious snacks to pass out to those who may need them.
- Go on a grocery run. If you’re heading out to pick up supplies, call neighbors to find out if there’s anything you can pick up for them so they don’t have to venture out in the cold weather.
- Adopt a family. Find out if any local organizations have holiday hamper programs in support of lower-income families who need a bit of support in order to celebrate the holidays. Typically, you’ll be given the age of each person in the family, and sometimes even a wish list, so you can customize your donations to suit their needs. Local children’s aid societies, places of worship and shelters often run holiday hamper programs.
- Make and donate mittens, hats and scarves. If you’re crafty, this is a wonderful way to indulge in your hobby while making a difference. Contact shelters and other organizations that help those in need to find out how to donate your handmade items. In the meantime, check out these free, easy patterns:
A healthy community is created by passionate people with a strong sense of neighborhood pride who are dedicated to making their little corner of the world the very best it can be all year long—and Foresters can help! Visit MyForesters.com to find out about volunteer opportunities right in your own community. Plus, get information on Foresters Community Grants that enable members to apply online for grants of up to $2000 to organize and lead a volunteer activity that’s meaningful for them and their community.
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