I find myself asking, particularly at this time of year, how I can reach out to other people and make a difference in the world—even if it is just a small part of the world right here in my community. I especially like to look for opportunities where I can work along with my children and help them recognize the abundance in their own lives.
We are fortunate to live in a service oriented community where people are often quietly, anonymously reaching out to their neighbor; it’s one of the things that make me love living in St. George. But there is always more to do. There is always an organization in need of funds or service hours. I know the funds are sometimes what is needed the most, but I also like to get my children out there face to face with the people and the needs so that they can physically contribute to the well being of other people.
Here are some ways that you and your family can Pay It Forward in our commuity:
- The Basket Brigade: This is an organization that assembles Thanksgiving meal baskets for families that are in need. In Southern Utah, they meet on the Saturday before Thanksgiving to assemble and deliver the baskets. Three ways to help are: 1) Donate funds – each basket costs about $40 to assemble. 100% of the funds go to food purchases, 2) Assemble Baskets – this year they are meeting at Stephen Wade Toyota Builiding from 9am to noon, 3) Help deliver the baskets. See their website for more information. www.utahbasketbrigade.com
- Utah Food Bank: Donate 1) Food, 2) Time, or 3) Money. You can actually volunteer time to work at the local Food Bank. They have some age restrictions but in order to accommodate families who want to volunteer they have created some specific “family shifts”. Check out their website for details. https://www.utahfoodbank.org/family-volunteering
- Dixe Care and Share: Donate 1) Food, 2) Time, or 3) Money. They, too, welcome volunteers and can get you involved with actually preparing and serving food at the shelter. Call them for specific opportunites. http://www.dixiecareandshare.org/care-share/
- Donation Party: I am surrounded be some really great teenagers who are more than willing to reach out and serve. I’m thinking that helping one of my kids throw a donation party (ie. bring 5 cans of food when you come to my house for the party) and then letting them take the haul down to Dixie Care and Share would be a great way for them to experience the holidays.
- Simply the gift of Time: We joined with another family on a Christmas day and went and played holiday music at one of the local care centers. Since then, we have had our own family member spend some time at a care center, and I realize even more the joy that music and youth and laughter bring to those care centers. You don’t have to wait to be asked just call and ask if you can come and play for 30 minutes.
I’d love to hear other people’s ideas. I’m sure there are a ton.
There is no better place to live than our Southern Utah. I love the red rock. I love the outdoors. I love the weather. But when it comes down to it, the thing that makes Southern Utah such a great place to live is the people who live here.
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