5 Ways to Deliver Happy Holidays to Your Shelter

11-11-2014 10:45 AM

The holidays are officially upon us! While for many of us, this is the most wonderful time of the year, that’s not true for everyone. Women and children at a shelter often feel scared and lonely.

However, most shelters do a great job of making these women and children feel the holiday spirit. How do they do it on such limited staff and resources?

You and Me!

I’m excited to share with you some of the ways we can make a difference for shelters during the next two months.

1. Wrap packages. When I was a pre-teen and teen, I loved to wrap packages. Maybe you do too. Or maybe your kids have a talent for making packages look beautiful.

2. Go shopping! Another one of my favorite pastimes! In my early 20s, I helped start a program to buy Christmas presents for neglected and abused children. I had the best time playing Santa for them! Many shelters have a similar program.

3. Host a donation drive. During the holidays, people often want an opportunity to get involved in the lives of others. So give them a chance! See what your shelter needs, and then ask your friends, church group, exercise class or club to bring those items. It could be groceries, gifts for moms, gifts for kids, gift cards … the possibilities are endless!

4. Make a year-end donation. Take advantage of getting your tax deductions by donating by Dec. 31. Most people think of cash donations here. However, my husband and I have donated two cars to charities. We typically drive our cars for 10+ years and then donate them for the full blue-book value. The nonprofit gets way more money than we could ever get for the car, and we get the full tax deduction! Something to think about!

5. Host an art class! If you love to paint or craft, use your expertise to lead a group of women or children in a holiday art class. Art is therapeutic, and most kids love it! It doesn't have to be fancy. Just the process of making an ornament or paper chains can be soothing and joyful for kids and adults. You might even consider showing a Christmas movie and serving popcorn after the craft.

I want to give a shout out to two shelters that helped fuel my creative juices for this post. Both receive support from The Mary Kay Foundation: Genesis Shelter in Dallas and Anna Marie’s Alliance in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Here are the links to their most needed items during the holidays.


Feel free to use their ideas to create a program for your nearest shelter!

If you don’t already know of a shelter in your area, check out the new website: https://www.domesticshelters.org. I typed in my address, and it showed me the shelters closest to me. I can contact the shelter directly about its specific needs. If the shelter doesn’t already have a holiday program, you could start one!