With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of seeing family, giving gifts, and indulging in delicious meals. It’s also that time of year to step back and see how you can help others who may not feel that same excitement when the holidays come around.
The holidays are still a bittersweet time for me because my son is no longer with us. I also know firsthand what it is like to spend a holiday in the hospital. We spent one Thanksgiving in the hospital with our son as he battled RSV. I made a small meal, and we celebrated as best we could.
It’s not only those suffering financially who have a difficult time during the holidays. There are many reasons others need some help getting through this time of year, and fortunately, there are many ways you (and the kids) can help make them brighter!
I have to say I am very partial to Ronald McDonald Houses (especially the Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley. Our family stayed there after we were transferred from a local Fairfield County hospital down to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital). There is also a Ronald McDonald House – CT, that serves Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital families. You can cook a meal at these houses and cheer up a family worn down from sitting in the hospital with their ill or injured child. You can also prepare or purchase meals for Inspirica (Stamford) or Kids In Crisis (Old Greenwich).
You can support many other organizations without bringing the family but by including them in donating items. Homeless shelters and animal shelters throughout Fairfield County have “Wish Lists.” Involve your kids in gathering items from a “Wish List” and explain where it is going and who it will help. Click here for a list of homeless shelters in Fairfield County. Here are a few local animal shelters.
- Animals in Distress – Wilton
- Connecticut Humane Society – Westport
- DAWS – Danbury
- Little Black Dog Rescue – Southport
- PAWS – Norwalk
- ROAR – Ridgefield
Organizations that provide services and housing to adults and children with intellectual disabilities can also always use donations. You can reach out to the following to see what they might need.
There are also annual holiday events that support other families and are family-friendly.
The holidays are a great time to start incorporating these opportunities into your family traditions. Your time and donations will help make someone’s life a bit easier and, quite possibly, more enjoyable.
These are just a few suggestions for getting your family into volunteering and donating. I’m sure there are many more opportunities available, and I’d love you to share your favorites!