The gift of outreach


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In this year of great challenge, spread holiday cheer with gifts of care and kindness. 

Christmas trees adorned with sparkling ornaments, eye-popping outdoor light displays and favorite carols on the radio bring us comfort in this most challenging year of pandemic. However, it’s an especially difficult time for many. Like those who struggle with social isolation, health challenges or financial hardships. If you’re able, why not spread some holiday cheer by giving the gift of outreach. Here are ways you can help in your neighborhood and community.

Give life-saving blood

Typically, blood supplies are collected at the places where people gather, like universities, high schools and workplaces. The very places that are closed or have limited access due to COVID-19. Couple that with fact that donations usually slow down between Thanksgiving and New Year and it’s easy to see why supplies are running short.

Surgeries, cancer treatments, chronic ailments and traumatic injuries haven’t stopped because of the pandemic. In fact, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood according to the American Red Cross. And, if you have antibodies for COVID-19, your plasma could help critically ill coronavirus patients. Make an appointment to donate blood.

Put food on another family’s table

Demand at food banks is at record levels due to the economic impact of the pandemic. Lost jobs and reduced hours now mean that food insecurity affects one in six families in West Michigan according to a WZZM 13 report.

Donations to food pantries and food banks help provide nutritious food to families and individuals in need. Participate in a local food drive or donate money. Feeding America West Michigan can provide four meals for every $1 donated. Donate, volunteer or fundraise to help put food on the tables of those in need this holiday season.

Check in on neighbors

Young and old, families and singles, healthy folks and those with medical challenges—we’re all feeling the pressure and social isolation of the pandemic. Checking in on your neighbors doesn’t have to take much time. Plus, your concern it will warm your heart as well as theirs.

Here are five ways to check in with neighbors:

  • Text or call. Funny memes and jokes make good icebreakers.
  • Deliver a care package. Fresh fruit, baked goods, warms socks and gloves, or a casserole are simple ways to show you care.
  • Order double delivery. The next time you order in, order a meal for your neighbor, too.
  • Send a note. It might seem odd to mail something to someone a few doors away, but it will delight them to find your personal note or card.
  • Let them know you’re running to the store and ask if you can pick up anything for them.

Give to charity when ordering online

If you’re ordering from Amazon, take a few extra seconds to redirect your browser to smile.amazon.com. From this portal, all orders generate donations of 0.5% of eligible purchases to the charity of your choice—at no extra cost.

Plus, non-profit organizations post their wish lists on Amazon Smile. For example, you could supply the Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan with blankets, fuzzy slippers and diapers with just a few clicks.

Many non-profit organizations post wish lists on their websites, too. Check if your favorite charity has one.

Help a humane society

Local humane societies care for animals 365 days a year and could use your gifts of time, money or providing a foster home. The Kalamazoo Humane Society, Humane Society of West Michigan, Al-Van Humane Society and others have had fundraising efforts stymied this year and could use your donations of money, pet food and supplies.

Pool your efforts

If you pool your efforts with friends and family you can make an even bigger impact than any of you could individually. Jump on Zoom with your nearest and dearest, choose a charity, and pool your time and money to help make a difference in others’ lives.

As we plan our gifts this this holiday season, we’re reminded of these words from H. Jackson Brown Jr., the author of Life’s Little Instruction Book, “Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more but those giving more.” In these days of COVID-19, it seems that the best things to give more of are care and kindness.

Consumers helps more than 2,000 members finance land, first and second homes, and home improvement projects each year. We’d love to help you with a mortgage or home equity line of credit; contact us online or call us at 800-991-2221.

Grey Equal Housing Opportunity logo

Consumers home loans

Need a new home to celebrate the holidays in? We’d love to help you with a mortgage or home equity line of credit.

Learn more

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