'Tis the giving season
As the temperatures begin to drop and the prospect of snow is in the near future, this is prime time for charities to reach out for donations for their respective organization.
As college students, the Lanthorn understands that most of us don't have a large budget to work with and not a lot of extra cash to donate, especially as the holiday season is quickly approaching. However, there are other ways to contribute to the season of giving without breaking the bank. If you don't have any financial wiggle room, you can always donate your time to those in need.
Especially at a local level, there are many opportunities to give back to the West Michigan community. The Community Service Learning Center (CSLC) at GVSU will work with students to find community engagement opportunities. Additionally, the CSLC has an official service tracking, reporting and management system for students to keep up with their volunteer work. This kind of volunteer work is not only a great way to give back to the community but also a great way to get experience in a professional field of your choice. Working behind the scenes is a great way to gain appreciation for a professional path.
In West Michigan specifically, there are many charities that are worthy of financial support. For example, the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan works to lower teen death and suicide through educational measures. With mental health being such an important issue on college campuses, this is a great foundation to donate to.
Additionally, the Kids Food Basket provides food assistance to children in need across Michigan. The organization also works to promote the value of volunteerism and commitment to community. Providing food to families in need is especially important during the holiday season when children aren't in school and don't have access to school lunches.
Though most charities campaign throughout the year in order to keep up with the demand outside of the holiday season, many of them count on generous winter contributions to sustain them throughout the rest of the year. Though we want to encourage students, faculty and staff to take advantage of the holiday giving mentality, we also want to emphasize that there are people in need 365 days a year. So find something you're passionate about and make a difference where you can.
The beauty of giving to charity is that it is up to you who you want to support. There are support systems in place for literally any area that you wish to contribute to. The holiday season is a time where it is easy to get distracted by the sparkle of material items and forget about the fact, for many people, this time is a time of stress and disappointment.
If you have the means, give a lot and if you don't, give a little. No matter the size of your contribution you are still donating to a cause and to the betterment of your community. The spirit of the holidays means giving back to those who give to the community.