Holidays are an opportunity to help others in need

By: 
Steve Corbin
Iowa Capital Dispatch
Thankfully we are past the 2022 midterm election. I can hear many voters exuding a sigh of relief and shouting, after $17 billion was spent on disinformation, misinformation and the occasional truthful political ad, “yes, finally, the election is over.”
 
Normal life – I think — is back and we’ve jumped right into the holiday season. Let’s ponder how the 2022 holiday season might become better than we’ve experienced heretofore.
 
First, let’s recognize the word “holiday” means Holy Day. Next, let’s value that holidays are celebrated from both a religious and cultural perspective. Then, we need to acknowledge the holy day is celebrated throughout the world.
 
If we can agree on these three premises, they might – just might — cause us to develop a better appreciation of others and approach the 2022 holiday season from a more holistic and inclusive perspective.
 
For centuries, the holidays celebrated include Bodhi Day (Buddhist), Christmas (Christian), Diwali (Hindu), Eid al-Fitr (Muslim), Hanukkah (Jewish), Kwanzaa (African-American), Lunar New Year (East Asia) and Winter Solstice (Indigenous), to name a few.
 
Dr. Mike Ronsisvalle, a Florida-based psychologist, claims in faith-based traditions, the holidays were a time when people were to purposely change their behavior and as such, modify their holiday experience. For some, however, the holiday season will be static and self-centered, only thinking of and gifting to those within their own family.
 
How might we intentionally change our behavior this holiday season to its fullness?
 
Reverting back to Americans spending nearly $17 billion on political candidates, which amounts to $162.84 per voter, a challenge is offered. For every dollar you contributed to a candidate for public office, intentionally give that same amount to a not-for-profit charity, which may be in greater need of financial assistance than politicians’ in perpetuity reelection coffers.
 
Didn’t give to a politician or party? If so, purposely contact your local food bank and ask if you could spend one, two or three hours volunteering at their agency and/or contribute money ($1 helps provide 10 meals). Don’t forget most post-secondary institutions of higher learning also have food pantries to assist students in need.
 
Inquire if there are any residents at a long-term care facility or hospital who might like a fruit basket, personal care items, phone call or a 10 minute in-person visit. Your outreach endeavor may assist those who are lonely and isolated during a time period that should be joyful.
 
There are about 600,000 homeless Americans; 33,146 are veterans (www.hud.gov). The seven best charities for helping homeless people can be found at www.impactful.ninja with the National Alliance to End Homelessness touted as setting the gold standard with a Charity Watch grade of A+.
 
If you are seeking to help make a positive impact upon kids in need, there are 117,470 children waiting to be adopted in America. The 10 best charities to support foster care are identified at www.impactful.ninja. The top three — in terms of overall impact — include Foster Care to Success, Together We Rise and Children’s Defense Fund.
 
My favorite global, nonprofit organization that provides medical services to those affected by war, disaster or disease is International Medical Corps (www.internationalmedicalcorps.org).
 
Consider contacting your local Kiwanis, Rotary or Lions Club – all non-sectarian — to seek membership. Their multitude of service projects would give you around-the-year opportunities to assist people and organizations in your community who need assistance.
 
While spending time with your family this holiday season is important, consider thinking outside the box and intentionally change your behavior by helping others. It may be the start of a new holiday tradition of pursuing the festive season in a more robust, long-term and meaningful perspective.
 
Happy Holy Days!

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