we all know I love summer- a lot! winter isn't my favorite, but I decided to embrace it this year. I live in Utah where we have winter for months and months. since I have no plans of moving anytime soon, I finally decided to stop being mad and just accept it. things have gone a little better for me this winter. making the decision to be ok with it was huge, but there are other things to make winter a little better-like serving others.
Great Ways to Serve Others in Winter
During the winter season, many people look for opportunities to serve others and to give back. In many places, the cold and snow make it hard to get out or to do service outside. But even still there are many ways that you can serve loved ones and neighbors—both indoors and outdoors. Here are some creative ways to do meaningful service during the winter months.
Put together winter care kits.
Winter is a time of great need for many. Try putting together small winter care kits for giving out to people you pass who are asking for help. Here are a few things you might consider including in your kits:
- Hat, scarf, and gloves
- Hand and foot warmers
- Soup and snacks
- Lip balm
- Lotion (travel size)
- Toothbrush and toothpaste (travel size)
- Soap and shampoo (travel size)
- Deodorant (travel size)
- Laundry detergent (travel size)
- Baby wipes
Donate your gently used winter clothing.
On a similar note, many people are in need of warm coats and winter accessories at this time of the year. Try going through your closet and picking out some gently used winter clothing that you can donate to a local shelter. If you’re adept at knitting, make some hats and scarves for those in need. You might even ask your friends and neighbors to do the same and then organize a major delivery to your local shelter.
Help others battle the snow.
With the snow comes a great many service opportunities for friends, family members, and neighbors. Shovel someone’s front walk and driveway when several inches of snow hit. Brush snow and scrape ice off of a neighbor’s car before they have to leave for work in the morning. Be prepared to help someone jump their car after their battery has died in the cold. If you can afford it and are feeling extra generous, purchase snow tires for someone in need and leave the receipt on their windshield so that they can go pick them up.
Offer to help put away holiday decorations.
Now that the holidays have passed, many people are intimidated at the prospect of having to put away their holiday decorations. Some—especially the elderly—may even be apprehensive about accomplishing such a task. Look for those around you who many need help putting away holiday decorations, and offer to help them take down Christmas lights, stow away ornaments, organize the attic, etc.
Help someone declutter.
On a similar note, you may have friends or neighbors who would love to clean out their homes and give things away (to a local thrift store or shelter, perhaps?), but can’t because of physical limitations. Offer to help someone declutter their home, get organized, and give things away to others who could use them. This is an especially great service idea for the wintertime because it’s all indoors.
Host a service party.
The winter season is a great time to throw a party and bring people together. Instead of centering your party around some form of entertainment, why not invite people over to participate in some form of service with you, as this article suggests? Buy fleece and make fleece blankets together for a shelter. Write letters to military servicemen. Put together hygiene kits. Do something that makes a difference in your community and that will help engage several people in service at once.
Join an organization.
Many service oriented organizations are particularly busy during the winter months. Food banks, for example, usually have a need for increased staff when the weather gets colder. Soup kitchens serve more food during the winter months than during other seasons. Nursing homes gladly welcome visitors to perform music, help with activities or parties, or just socialize with residents. And refugee programs are always looking for people who can help local refugees feel more comfortable in a new place. So even if you feel you are lacking creativity on how you can serve others during the winter season, know that there are many organizations out there that can use your help!
Serve your loved ones.
As this article mentions, one of the best ways we can express gratitude is to serve those who have helped us in times of need. Don’t forget your friends, family members, and neighbors as you look for service opportunities during the wintertime. Set aside some time to do something extra special for them—something that will help them personally. Clean the house while they’re at work, make dinner during the week, get their car cleaned, write them a letter, make a bed, leave a note on their pillow, etc. It’s the little acts of service that sometimes go the furthest.
Service is very different depending on where you live. There might be a large underserved population where you are. You might be surrounded by family members. There might be lots of opportunities to do physical service in the winter, such as shoveling snow. Wherever you are, no matter your circumstances, one thing is always true: service is needed everywhere. There will always be opportunities regardless of what form they take. The most important thing is that we seize those opportunities, especially during the coldest time of year. You are guaranteed to receive as much as you give. That’s the great thing about service. And who knows? You might end up with a clean car and a love note on your pillow tonight too.