October Offerings

October Offerings

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Thanksgiving has come for Canadians, and is coming up soon for those who live in the United States. Families get together to spend some time with each other, while turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and other comfort foods that many associate with the holiday bring us together to prepare and indulge in a festive meal all in honor of giving thanks. But how many of us actually do something tangible to give thanks? This is a great time for us to reflect on our many blessings, and also to think of those who may not be so blessed. It’s also a great time to think about how we can give back whether it’s to your own community, or to an organization that helps others around the globe. Here are a few ways that you can give back with little to no cost to you in the coming year:

Milk Bag Mattresses

If you live in Canada, or some parts of the United States where milk is sold in bags, you can give back either to your own community or to those overseas in a variety of ways:

-Collect and donate the outer bags that your milk is packaged in to an

organization in your community (churches and schools often collect these


-Organize your own collection with your church, school, or neighborhood-

Facebook is a powerful tool and it wouldn’t take much to reach out to your

local ‘Buy Nothing’ or other community organization group on Facebook to

organize a large-scale collection program

-Volunteer your time to weave mats at your local community organization or

on your own – if you crochet, it’s a great way to pass your time while your

kids are at hockey, swimming, or other activities!

For more information about how these mats help local shelters and developing countries, check out this website https://milkbagsunlimited.ca/.

Food Donation

Food bank collections often occur around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but consider committing to donate food monthly to your local Food Bank. People are hungry all year round, and people often feel more generous during the holidays, leaving their shelves lean or empty at other times of the year. You can help in a variety of ways:

-Commit to purchasing a few extra food items specifically for the Food Bank

near you once a month, or whenever you go shopping

-Organize a food drive of your own in your community

-Find out whether your local food bank takes cash donations to purchase

perishable items, including milk, meats, and produce, and commit to

donating on a schedule, or at certain times of the year when people aren’t

feeling so generous

-If you grow a garden, find out whether your local food bank will take

produce from your veggie garden, and consider donating some of your

excess produce to feed those in need


 This one seems obvious, but many people don’t actually sit down to think about going outside their comfort zone when it comes to volunteering.

-Consider finding an organization that means something to you, and dig in a

little deeper than you normally would, whether that means a bigger time

commitment, or a commitment when others may not be available, such as a

soup kitchen on Thanksgiving or Christmas, or even on weekends when you

have free time

-Look at your family and neighbors, and find a way to help someone with

their needs; cutting your elderly parent or neighbor’s grass, shoveling or

blowing out a single Mom’s driveway after a big snowstorm, or offering

your professional services to fix something that someone’s been

complaining about and can’t afford to fix (i.e. replacing a flapper on a

leaking toilet, fixing a faulty electrical socket, offering your labor to do a

brake job on your neighbor’s car, etc.). It’s up to you how much of your time

and energy you want to invest and it can make a huge difference in their


-If you love to run, you can support an organization by raising money while

running in a race! Many organizations offer you the option of fundraising

when you sign up

Donating to the Homeless

 If you’re like me, you have purses, shoes, winter clothing, and samples that you just won’t use. Instead of donating to a second-hand store, consider directly helping out the homeless by donating to organizations that will distribute your items to those who need it most:

-If you have purses to donate, fill them with items that a woman could use – a

water bottle you no longer use, hand/body lotion/shampoo/conditioner

samples you had from hotel rooms, races, or from other sources that you

really don’t need, a handful of feminine hygiene products, chap-sticks from

conferences that you’ll never use, etc. Be creative!

-Contact your local homeless shelter to see if they need blankets, sleeping

bags, warm socks, or winter outerwear that you don’t use anymore and

donate your items directly to them

-Donate rattier blankets and pillows to animal shelters

-Donate your out-of-date professional clothing to a Dress for Success or

similar organization for those who are seeking work and need a suit or

outfit to wear for interviews

Old Soles

 Are you a runner with a closet full of old running shoes that have outlived their running life, but you could still walk in them? Dress shoes you thought you’d wear but got tired of or never reached for them? Collect up all the shoes and boots in your house and look for an organization that will redistribute them:

-Some local organizations may need dress shoes, boots, runners, and other

types of shoes for the homeless

-The Re-Use Shoe Program at Running Free accepts donations of all kinds of

shoes and even gives you a credit towards a new pair of shoes with every

donation! These shoes are then either distributed to the homeless or to

other organizations around the world.

-Give Your Sole is an organization that collects shoes at some races. When

you sign up for a race see if they will have a collection box there to send

your old kicks to a new home

-Nike has a ‘Reuse-a-Shoe’ program that recycles old running shoes for communities in need

-One World Running also collect shoes in good condition to send overseas, and sends more beaten-up shoes to Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program

Keep in mind that many organizations also need shoes for children!

Personal Aid Items

 If you have any medical or assistive items at home that you no longer use, they can be donated through a large variety of organizations:

-Donate your old eyeglasses: there are donation boxes at almost every

eyeglass store or optician’s office who will pass your old frames on to

organizations either locally or overseas to help those who can’t afford them

-Donate your old hearing aids: a quick search of the internet will point you in

the right direction to pass your, or your deceased relative’s, hearing aids on

to be cleaned, refurbished, and gifted to someone in need

-Mobility Aids: again, search the internet for places that pass much-needed

mobility devices on to those who need them. Crutches, canes, walkers,

wheelchairs, can all be gifted to these organizations. When my Great-

Grandmother passed away, I remember we had a whole storage room full of

these items that very, very slowly got given away, mostly to second-hand

stores. It’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to pass them directly on to

those in need.

These are just a few ideas that will cost you little to nothing to give back; there are many more great causes that need your support year-round, and not just during the holidays. Get your kids involved, and get creative! Brain-storm and figure out where and how you can all give back. It doesn’t have to cost you much, and it’s a great way to teach children what true thanksgiving is.

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