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The Best Ways to Give Back to Your Community During the Holiday Season
Many communities around the US are struggling to keep their stores in business, their people employed and staying afloat in these tough economic times. As consumers, we can help our fellow community members by supporting local businesses. Helping out your neighbors becomes even easier, and more important, during the holiday season, when there's a spirit of community and giving. Here are some of the best ways to give back to your community during the holiday season, as well as all year round.
Shop at local businesses
Shopping locally helps your community in a number of ways. It puts money back into it, helps maintain local jobs and keeps non-chain ventures thriving. Shopping locally for your gifts and specialty holiday items also allows you to be sure of the quality of the items you buy.
The Austin Independent Business Alliance, an organization in Austin, Texas, that raises awareness for the benefits of shopping locally, says it is important to understand that by buying locally, you benefit yourself, the environment and the business owners.
Volunteer your time
There are countless ways to support your community by volunteering. You can help out at your local animal rescue, volunteer for a community clean-up project or work with a local homeless shelter. Especially around the holiday season, shelters are in need of volunteers to hand out blankets, food and other items that are needed by low-income families and homeless people in your community.
Support local artists
Local singers, musicians, painters, craftsmen and other artists are the people who bring culture and creativity to their communities. Support your local artistic community during the holiday season by attending their special concerts and events, buying the things they make and donating to them financially.
Donate to local charities
Donating to locally run organizations ensures that funds go directly into your community. You can also choose to donate to a local charity in a friend or family member's name instead of buying or exchanging gifts.