While you're out shopping for gifts or even groceries in December, don't overlook all the people barely scraping by. A reverse Advent calendar is a fun and interactive way to help others this holiday season. The idea is simple — instead of taking something out each day, put something in. Choose one organization or more, and at the end of the month (or a few days before Dec. 25), you can donate all of the items you've collected. At the end of the 25 Days of Christmas, you'll have given your family the gift of giving back to the community; and, most likely, you'll also have given someone else the gift of a little joy for the holiday season. Below are some local organizations to consider; each also has a list of more ideas on their websites:
Crosswalk serves Spokane's young homeless community, providing an emergency shelter and many other programs designed to keeps kids and teens safe, in school, fed and on their way to a better life. Items to donate: socks, underwear, razors, body wash, hair care products, backpacks, clothes, shoes, bus passes and gift cards for food and entertainment.
This nonprofit's programs aim to end poverty and homelessness for women and children in Spokane. Programs include a number of transitional living centers, a childcare center, a job preparation program and a community center. Items to donate: diapers, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, baby wipes, paper cups and plates, women's underwear in smaller sizes, blankets, winter boots, art supplies, board games and more.
WORLD RELIEF SPOKANE
A subset of World Relief, an international organization that aims to help those affected by war and natural disasters, the Spokane branch provides refugee resettlement assistance, employment services, micro-enterprise loans, immigration services and more. Items to donate: furniture of any kind, new hygiene products, household items (especially kitchenware), linens, cleaning supplies and electronics.
SpokAnimal's adoption center and other animal welfare services it offers are now operated without any funding from the city of Spokane. Items to donate: general office supplies, Purina One brand food for cats and dogs of all ages, toys, non-clumping litter, clippers, baby blankets and cleaning supplies.