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Last-Minute Ways to Give and Serve

by Greg Tucker

This is the final stretch for holiday shoppers, and you know who you are if you belong to the procrastinators club. But you can still give the gift of service and help to others, even while the rush to the malls reaches a fever pitch.

Give a ToyThere are still many ways for procrastinators to give to charities as the holidays approach.

The U.S. Marines Corps have supported the national Toys for Tots campaign since 1947. Over the years, the Marines have distributed more than 452 million toys to more than 209 million needy children. More than likely that collection points in your area have stopped accepting toys, but you can still contribute online to brighten a child's Christmas and support the charity.

Clean Your Closets

Are your closets overflowing with items you don't wear anymore? Why not donate them and create some room -- maybe even for other clothes. Consider The Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries or search from our home page to find charities that accept donations.

Coat Check Time

Winter officially begins soon, and there are lots of people who could use a new coat to keep warm this year. Donate your coats in good condition to help those in need. One Warm Coat has a tool that can help you find coat drives around the nation. If you live in the New York City area, consider donating to the New York Cares Coat Drive, which has several public collection sites open through the new year.

Feed the Hungry

Remember the hungry during this time of giving. Food, pantry, and hygiene items are needed year round by individuals and families struggling to put meals on the table. If can't make it to a drop-off site for your local food bank, consider making cash donations to the organizations online and ask others to join in to create a virtual food drive. Visit our toolkits section for hints to help start a food collection drive in your community.

Pay It Forward

This year's headline-grabbing disasters and tragedies have left a lot of Americans feeling the need to do something positive in response to these events. So it's no surprise that the idea to “pay it forward” is gaining traction, but performing unsolicited good deeds never goes out of season. The gesture doesn't have to be grand or cost a lot of money, this is one time when it's really the thought that counts.


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