See a Need, Fill a Need

During this season of giving, my heart is overwhelmed with the desire to give abundantly. I am reminded of a quote by Ruth Stafford Peale, “Find a Need and Fill It”. However, we are often unable to find or see what the true needs of our community are. This Christmas, my family has decided to give more abundantly. We have been actively seeking opportunities to help those in need this holiday season, and I have compiled a list of ideas to give of our time, money, gifts, and/or talents.

1. The Food Bank: The Food Bank is always in need of donations for non-perishable items as well as volunteers. Food items can be dropped off at a designated drop off, or can be brought to the Food Bank facility. A nourishing meal is a wonderful gift to give for the holidays or all year round! Click here to volunteer or set up a food drive!

2. Salvation Army: The Salvation Army organizes the Red Kettles at participating stores to raise money to aid needy families, seniors, and the homeless. The money helps provide Christmas dinners, clothing, and toys for families in need. You can also volunteer to be a bell ringer or volunteer to distribute meals and gifts! Click here for more info: www.salvationarmyusa.org

3. Dress a Child: Dress a Child is organized by the Salvation Army, local churches, Friendship House and other organizations in our community! This giving opportunity provides children with clothes and other necessities. Donors can give money, and/or walk around the stores with the children to pick out their items! You can find their needs on an Angel Tree at Kmart or Wal-Mart, or participating churches.

4. Angel Trees: There are many Angel Trees available in our community. You can find Angel Trees at Rimrock Mall, Wal-Mart Stores, churches, etc. There are many foundations that provide the “Angels” and they coordinate the gifts to the children who are in need. For example, one Angel Tree provides gifts to children who have a parent in prison. Angel Trees help give specific needs or wants to children all around our community!

5. Toys for Tots: The U.S. Marines Corps organizes the annual Toys for Tots toy drive every year in October, November and December. The toy drive gathers unwrapped toys that will be distributed to children in our local area! Look for toy bins at participating schools, businesses, and stores. Toys for Tots is a great organization to think about all year long! Look for items that are clearanced or discounted throughout the year, and come Christmas time, you will have a lot to give!

6. Missions: The Rescue Mission provides assistance to the needy, homeless and displaced families and/or individuals in our area. You can give monetary gifts, your time, or donate gently used items. The Rescue Mission has needs all year round! Check out their specific needs here: http://montanarescuemission.org/main/archives/category/needs#. There are also opportunities to give to the YWCA. The YWCA helps women and children in our area. Check out ways to give at http://www.ywcabillings.org/donations.html.

7. Adopt a Family: There are a variety of ways that you can find families in need. The Family Support Network matches families and Secret Santas during the holiday season! You can adopt a family, donate money, or volunteer to wrap gifts or organize donations. Check out www.mtfamilysupport.org/. You can also Adopt a Family through other organizations such as Hot 101.9’s Santa Clause for a Cause (http://www.hot1019.com/component/k2/item/25-santa-clause-for-a-cause) or your local church.

8. Children are Heroes Too: I love when there is an opportunity to get my kids involved in the Spirit of Giving! As heard on 107.5 and 98.5 The Wolf, children in our community are creating hand-made Christmas cards that will be distributed to military families and children around the state!

9. Operation Christmas Child: Participating churches and organizations gather children’s gifts and/or necessity items that will fit into a shoe box. The boxes are then distributed all around the world to children!

There are many more opportunities to give throughout this season and throughout the year! I envision this list growing and growing! Giving of your time, money, gifts, and talents can be something big or something small. In this spirit of giving, my hope is that you are moved to give abundantly, and “Find a Need and Fill It”!