While the holiday season is filled with joy and happiness, it’s important to remember to be thankful and grateful for what you have. There are so many people out there who are less fortunate, and I make it a priority (during the whole year, not just during holidays!) to keep those people in mind. As crazy as it is to believe, a new year is upon us. Another 365 days have gone by, and it’s important to ask yourself, “What have I done for someone else? What efforts have I made to make an impact? Have I implemented positive change in someone else’s life?” I aim to make it a priority in my family to remember and help those who are in need. Personally, I am a huge supporter of Baby2Baby. I recently took part in program with them called Family2Family, where I was able to sponsor a family in need. It was so amazing to be able to send them things on their wishlist, whether it was clothing and diapers or gifts for Christmas. Brooks and I spent one afternoon last week at a surprise event for our adopted family, gifting them presents while indulging in cupcakes and even enjoying a surprise visit from Santa!
But the giving should not end after the holidays. There are plenty of organizations where you can sponsor families year round. Another organization, similarly named Family2Family, offers a wonderful program where you can send impoverished families a monthly box of groceries. My husband is a huge supporter of Chrysalis, a non-profit that helps homeless and low-income individuals seek access to the resources and support they need to find employment. It’s incredible to see people’s lives change once given the confidence to go on interviews and find a steady job.
An AH-mazing company that Chrysalis teamed up with that I so admire is The Giving Keys. It's far more than a jewelry company; every necklace is a key engraved with an inspiration word. The homeless are employed to engrave each and every key with the inspirational message. If you receive a key as a gift, you must give it away at some point to someone who needs the message more than you do, whether it be health, courage, strength, love…you name it. It’s a really incredible concept.
There are so many ways to get involved with giving back. If you love the idea of going green, why not plant a tree with The Nature Conservancy? Their Plant a Billion Trees campaign has the goal of removing 4 million tons of carbon monoxide from the atmosphere every year.
How about helping to end hunger in seniors and children with Meals on Wheels? Sponsor a child in a different country with World Vision and completely change their life. You’ll actually get to write letters back and forth with the child you sponsor,and see the progress they’re making with your help.
In my opinion, one of the most important things when it comes to giving back is setting a good example for our children. This year, why not bring them to a toy drive or a homeless shelter in your area for them to donate toys and food? Teach them how important it is to care for others in need.
Giving back and making an effort is so much easier than it sounds. With so many ways to get yourself and your family involved, it would be a great way to start off the new year. Always remember, the changes you make don’t always need to be massive. It’s every bit that counts, and it’s the effort you make that’s important.
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.