4 Ways to Be Charitable This Holiday Season That Don’t Involve Money

Dec 21, 2022

Is your budget suffering? Are you and your family feeling the financial pinch? We hear you, and you’re not alone!

So far – and it’s almost over! – 2022 has been a difficult year for many of us, young and old. It’s quite possible that a lot of us may be wondering how we’ll get through the holiday season this year and still be able to fulfil our charitable giving goals, be it through our donations or our charitable actions. We not only want to be there for our own families but also for the many people who need, and count on, our generosity and help this time of year.

Times are tough and money’s tight for most average families across the country, never mind those with even fewer financial resources to fall back on, so we’ve compiled a short list of charitable acts you can still do, whatever your personal financial situation may be. Here’s how to be charitable when your budget is tight – feel free to add your own ideas in the comments on Facebook!

1. Give the Gift of Blood

Giving blood is possibly the most generous act anyone can perform. It’s a life-saving donation that will make a difference in someone’s life. Blood banks are at all time lows in many places and need our support. However, if giving blood is something you fear or feel uncomfortable doing, or perhaps you simply cannot donate yours for medical or religious reasons, there are still other functions for which you can volunteer such as organising a blood donation drive in your community or lending a hand with administrative and fundraising challenges.

2. Volunteer at Your Local Food Bank

It’s no surprise that food banks across the country have been in great demand and resources are stretched to the limit. The number of people forced to turn to their local food bank to help with food insecurity is rising and will continue to keep climbing while we’re experiencing inflationary times. Too many peoples’ incomes, pensions and savings aren’t keeping abreast of the cost of living. One way you can help others less fortunate than yourself is to volunteer at a food bank or make donations on a regular basis. Most communities have a food drive particularly at this time of year and will appreciate not only your generosity but also welcome the gift of your time in helping out.

3. Help the Homeless

Homelessness never goes away. And now, more and more unhoused people need our help. It’s even more urgent at this time of year and will be throughout the coming winter months. Following the initial outbreak of the pandemic, reports suggested that homeless people are now even more afraid to stay in shelters where they can receive aid due to fears of catching COVID-19. The lack of affordable housing in most metropolitan cities is also making the situation worse. One way to assist the homeless this winter is to donate any and all kinds of winter clothing. From boots, mittens and gloves to hats, scarves and coats, warm sweaters and windproof/waterproof outerwear, along with blankets, sleeping bags, thermal blankets and hand warmers. Any gear they can use for their survival. Most of us have these items at home that aren’t being used or we’ve grown out of. Collect them up and find the nearest drop-off box in your community and donate them. You can also volunteer to sort donated items or otherwise support these organisations. Or, volunteer to serve meals at your local church or shelter.

4. Donate New, Unused Items to Charity Drives & Silent Auctions

Fundraising isn’t always about cash donations. Many of us cannot afford to donate money these days but there are other ways to raise cash in order to help the needy. For example, have you received gifts in the past that you don’t really need or don’t like and never used? They’re still in their box or original packaging taking up space in your home? Well, think about donating them to a charitable organisation. It’s similar to re-gifting them, but in this case, you’re donating the items to, let’s say, a silent auction to raise funds for a cause. In our book, we think this is more than okay! Our feeling is that if you’re trying to be environmentally and socially conscious, regifting items you have no need of or will never use is perfectly in line with those values. It’s also a way to make a difference if you’re on a budget.

Good ideas include NEW, never before used or opened: children’s toys, games and clothing, unopened gift baskets, kitchen utensils, dishes and cookware and small appliances, perfumes and cosmetics still in their original boxes. DVDs and CDs, and books for kids, teens and adults. Gourmet and specialty food items. Designer items, original art and home furnishings.

It’s About Caring

As you can see, no money is necessary when it comes to making a charitable donation this season or in fact at any other time of the year. Charity begins at home and comes from the heart. Take a look around your place, check out those never-been-unpacked gift items you’ve received over the years and discover how many things you have that would make a difference in another person’s life and donate them. There’s no excuse that you haven’t got the money when asked to help out. You have stuff and you have time. Donate one, the other, or both of them!



Researched, resourced and written by experts, Everything Retirement is designed to get you where you want to go and enable you to become who you want to be. With clarity, insight and – above all – honesty, realism and actionable answers.