During this time of year, we get to celebrate a lot of special moments. Not just the
holidays themselves, but spending time with loved ones, reconnecting with old friends while
back in our hometowns, finding out what great news everyone has to share, watching each
other tear apart wrapping paper awaiting the exclamation after getting a gift they’ve hoped for,
and overall focusing on what we do have, instead of the have nots. The beautiful memento of
this mindset is thinking and coming up with ways to extend that wish out to others who may not
have the same, or could use some help this holiday season. Here are some out-of-the-box that
might-just-happen-to-fit-in-a-box ways to help your community out this holiday season. Cheers
to gratefulness!

Do you remember a teacher you had in K-12 that really went above and beyond? You
looked forward to the days that you could walk into their classroom because you knew no matter
how your day was going, it was going to become instantly better? I surely do. And as you’ve
gotten older, to see friends talk on the Timeline about being teachers and how tough it can be to
provide a stimulating classroom for minds that are ready to be sharpened? I surely have. As we
approach the middle of the school year, some of those supplies they’ve spent their own money
on, may be getting low.

As schools let out for holiday break, get in touch with your local school district (or the
district you grew up in), the district your children go to school, or send a direct message to a
teacher friend to find out if they need any help. While you may not be able to cover the
expenses for everything they may need, anything can help lower the cost associated with
keeping up a classroom that is engaging and helps our children continue to grow and learn as
best as possible.

Beyond the classroom setting, children are often a part of extracurricular activities that
can aid to developing a discovered talent, and lead to a flourishing career. Not to mention, they
are great ways for children to show signs of expression, interpersonal communication, and
improve overall brain functionality. Local recreation councils, boosters for bands, orchestras and
organized school sports, drama and theatre productions, 4H clubs, Art supplies and after school
functions all rely on donations and are often not a-top of the list for financial budgets. Help the
talents of tomorrow build strong foundations today!

Growing up, I would go to the YMCA chapter at my elementary school until I could get
picked up. Those, as well as local Boys & Girls Clubs of the county, help provide day care and
enriching activities for children of all ages. I recently discovered my old collection of
Goosebumps books (Night Of the Living Dummy? CLASSIC.) and donated them to the
Edgewood chapter of the B&GC. Knowing that these books will continue to keep kids reading
really made my day all the better and I know it will for them, too.

If you happen to have some non-perishable items, or wish to make donations that aren’t
strictly of the monetary or material kind, Manna House Soup Kitchen is one of the longest
running soup kitchens in Harford County. Providing meals for those less fortunate, wouldn’t it be
great to make sure while you’re digging into that plate of homemade goodness, that someone
else who doesn’t always get that opportunity has a chance to eat something comforting? You
can donate food items, or even volunteer at the soup kitchen yourself preparing and plating
dishes. That’s a well rounded meal.

While not everyone has the ability to make a donation, if you do, or wish to, please
consider it. Giving back to the community in so many different ways unleashes a sort of energy
that will strengthen a community to be tight knit, grow and encourage children to become the
best them possible, and raise awareness to programs that need more overall attention. At the
end of the day, isn’t this what the holiday spirit is all about?