How You Can Get Involved and Give Back this Season

Something about this time of year gets us all in the mood to see how we can help those around us.

Are you looking for a special way to get involved this holiday season? Check out these programs — each with a range of commitment levels — to see if one sounds right for you.

Be a “Secret Santa” for Children in Foster Care

What feels better than putting a smile on a child’s face? Every year, the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) collects donations for a “Secret Santa” program. Over 8,000 of Georgia’s children in foster care have asked for up to 3 gifts, and they’re hoping that you can help get what they want.

This weekend Clark Howard, from WSB Radio, will broadcast live from Walmart locations around Metro Atlanta in support of the event. You can attend a Secret Santa broadcast to shop from a child’s wish list or make a monetary donation. Mark your interest on one of DFCS’s Facebook events to make sure you don’t forget!

Can’t make it to an event? The program is also accepts monetary donations online.

Give Toys to Children in Need

This year, Toys for Tots celebrated 70 years (PDF) of spreading hope, joy, and toys to children in need.

Help keep the cheer flowing with a donation this year! You can donate to your local campaign online, or find drop-off locations and more ways to get involved on the Toys for Tots website for your local community.

Recycle Your Christmas Tree

As much as we hate to say goodbye, there comes a time every year to wrap up the ornaments and take down the tree. For over 25 years, the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation has turned holiday trees into mulch and kept them out of the landfills with their “Bring One for the Chipper” campaign.

Whether you just want to recycle your own tree, or if you want to step up and organize your own tree collection, your involvement will make a difference.

Host a Fundraiser

If you’ve already picked out a charity or cause to support, and you’ve verified its legitimacy, why not get others involved and make as much impact as possible?

Here are a couple of ways that Georgia’s state agencies have collected donations:

The Georgia Department of Agriculture has hosted a number of activities to raise money for STAG VETS, an organization that prepares veterans and students for careers in sustainable food production. To raise funds, the Department of Agriculture recently had a chili cook-off, a bake sale, and a hot dog lunch, and they’re hosting a silent auction this week!

Meanwhile, the Georgia Department of Community Supervision collected books from employees and families to give to children in low-income families. They recognize the importance of literacy for children’s growth and future, and want to provide the means for these children to achieve their dreams.

A few more holiday fundraising ideas:

  • Throw a holiday movie party at which you encourage charitable donations
  • Make some DIY holiday decorations or cards to sell
  • Dress up as “Santa” and invite families and children to take photos with you for a donation

Please note, if the charity pays you for your efforts or you are otherwise considered a “paid solicitor” under Georgia law, you need to register as a paid solicitor with the Georgia Secretary of State. Check the Georgia Code online to see how state law defines “paid solicitors” at O.C.G.A. 43-17-2.

Share on Social Media to Keep the Giving Going

However you choose to get involved this holiday season, thank you for getting involved and helping your community thrive!

Consider posting photos of yourself giving back to your community on social media to inspire your friends to do the same. And if you tag us — @GeorgiaGov on Facebook and Twitter —  with the hashtag #GeorgiaGives, we’ll share your post! (We will not share inappropriate or unrelated posts.)

Help us build a positive message this holiday season. Thank you for giving.