The air around us is filled with the spirit of holidays and the excitement of the new year. We clean our houses, decorate our trees, go shopping for gifts, and meet friends and family every year. But as we approach the holiday season, we must remind ourselves that these customs that have become habits are in fact privileges. As we go out and celebrate the festivals, we must remind ourselves that many people cannot enjoy the holidays like us. We often forget that holidays are about love and kindness, not material things. Thus this holiday season, go out and show this love to those who need it the most. Here, we have listed a few ways to celebrate the holidays by helping your community.
1. Distribute winter supplies
As you prepare yourself to sleep in the comfort of your beds tonight, somewhere not too far away, a person is walking on the road in this shivering cold weather, looking for a place to sleep. There are almost 1.77 million homeless people in India who sleep under bridges, roads, train stations, and outside temples in the excruciating cold with little or no means of covering themselves. An essential way of helping out in the holiday season is by helping those who don’t even have a roof over their heads. Start by distributing winter supplies like jackets, blankets, socks, gloves and medicines to the people sleeping on the roads, then move onto the nearby shelters, NGOs, and old age homes.
Winter is one of the best times to help; many organizations are looking for volunteers around this time of the year. You can choose any cause and organization of your choice and spend some time helping out in the community. The causes can range from teaching students, arranging clothing drives, helping out at a charity event or distributing basic necessities. You can volunteer with any organization that makes you happy or any cause you believe in. Remember, this is not about monetary donations and material support; it is about giving your time and being present in the community. An experience like this will help those in need while initiating cohesion and interaction within the community.
3. Help your four-legged friends
We are experiencing almost an unbearable cold, and while we have slid into our comfy sweaters and fuzzy socks to protect ourselves, our four-legged friends have no means to help themselves this season. We must – as humans – help our voiceless friends spend the harsh winters with some degree of comfort. As individuals, we can take small steps to help stray animals by providing food and water once every day. You can buy coats from pet stores for your stray cats and dogs to give them some warmth and love. You can also contact local shelters to take care of sick dogs in your localities.
We all step out to spend some quality time with our friends and family; unfortunately, many people cannot do the same. The holiday time becomes an increasingly difficult one for essential workers working around the clock to ensure the well-being of their citizens. Every year, with the increasing number of covid-19 cases, front line warriors become more overwhelmed and have no support to turn to. A simple way to show gratitude is to thank them for their service, determination and sacrifices in your unique way. Additionally, you can donate necessary supplies like masks, protection equipment, and food. You can join hands and volunteer with Humane Foundation to support the well-being & stress management of our warriors through unique activities.
5. Help small businesses
Holidays are when we splurge and buy a lot. This season starts purchasing and supporting your local entrepreneurs and small businesses. Various people sell items on the street or manage small businesses from home in every community. You can make a conscious choice of buying from local vendors and homemakers who are trying to be financially independent. For example, if you want to buy a cake, why not contact your local home baker? By purchasing from local and small entrepreneurs from your community, you will give them the well-deserved push and recognition which will help them grow. You can also support small businesses through appreciation and advocacy and share their venture with your friends and family.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”. As you approach the end of this blog, you have an idea on how to dedicate yourself to the service of others and make a difference. A small step goes a long way. Something that might be small thank you, a few hours, or a few extra rupees for you might go a long way in helping someone out and promoting well-being in society. Let us promise to spread love, kindness and goodwill.
By Kavya Bajaj