As the holidays near, and the warm and fuzzies of the season start to brew, we get an urge to share the joy and lend a helping hand to others in need. At Ideba, we support charities year-round in the communities in which we all live and work, through initiatives such as Habitat for Humanity in Seattle, and Schoolhouse Supplies in Portland. But there’s always something about the holidays that makes you want to contribute even more.

Giving back to people who are less fortunate than ourselves, people we pass in the street and with whom share our communities, can not only make a huge difference in their lives, but can be extremely rewarding and enjoyable as well. Sound good? Here are 5 ways to donate your money or time to make a difference in December:

1. Fill a Christmas Hamper. This is one way to make a positive impact on a family during what can be a very stressful time of year, and is what we’re excited to be taking on from our Victoria office with the 1Up Single Parents Resource Centre. We have been matched up with a family and have been provided with a detailed description about them and their needs. It will be a wonderful thing when ‘our’ child receives the gifts they have put on their Christmas list, and when their Mom or Dad can share in the joy of holiday food and giving.

2. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Have a hands-on experience and make friends with those less fortunate in your community. With a group of volunteers, prepare a giant meal for the homeless and help dish it out to an extremely grateful lineup of men and women at dinnertime.

3. One man’s trash, another man’s treasure. Deep in the back of our closets or at the bottom of a drawer, most of us have clothes that aren’t being worn. Go through your clothes, shoes, hats and scarves and make a pile of items that you don’t need any more, and donate them to one of many organizations who accept gently used clothing, and give them to people who may just treasure them.

4. Donate toys and gifts to Angel Tree. This is an initiative that some of our Portland team members are contributing to this year. The organization collects gifts to give to children whose parents are incarcerated, to ensure that these children know they have not been forgotten and are not alone during the holidays.

5. Shop local. It’s all about supporting the communities we live in. Rather than purchasing all of your gifts from the large chain retailers this year, visit some locally owned stores when you shop and keep the money in your community.

I hope that this helps to inspire you to help make a difference in the world around you this season.

Do you already have plans to give back during the holidays? How will you be contributing to your community?


Courtney Swartz, Consultant