Tis the season…of giving.
The holidays are fast approaching. We at The Bay Window like to think the approaching
holidays tend to bring out the generosity in people. While we may encounter the occasional bah
humbug, generally people are more upbeat and friendly this time of year.
Several of us at The Bay Window make it our mission to perform random acts of
kindness throughout the year, and therefore feel qualified to suggest a few for our readers to try.
This time of year it is incredibly easy to find some sort of charity to donate to. Nearly
every street corner and several stores have someone standing in the freezing cold ringing a bell
for the Salvation Army. Remarkably this has been going on for 125 years. Among other
services, this money is used to deliver Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas baskets to families in
Another organization that helps families, not just at Christmas time, but all year round is
The Muskegon Rescue Mission. The local chapter, which began in 1907, provides housing for
those who are down on their luck as well as numerous other programs such as a food pantry,
personal care and baby pantry, and community ministries.
Goodwill also is an organization that helps people year round. It uses profits to put
handicapped people to work in the stores, employing people who are employment challenged.
Volunteering provides many ways to give back to the community, whether at a
community meal, a church thrift store, or a service organization’s gift-giving. Look around.
Many organizations need help this time of year wrapping gifts for charity and serving meals for
During the holidays The Red Cross needs extra blood donations. Signing an organ
donation card is always a positive as well. Many of us know someone who has either donated a
kidney or is/was an organ recipient. This is a selfless thing to do, since only 45 percent of
Americans have signed an organ donor card.
Other options include donating to Heifer International, which has been in existence for
more than 70 years. With more than one billion people around the globe living in poverty, Heifer
International goes into 125 Third World countries with the goal of distributing cows and other
livestock. People are given a cow, goat or chickens and taught how to farm so that they have
access to a continuous supply of dairy and protein.
Another way to give back to society is as a group (co-workers, family, and friends) to
adopt a family in need this season. For instance, what about the neighbor who has cancer and is
unable to work? Or the friend with the brain tumor? How about the lady at church whose son or
daughter just committed suicide and she needs to know that somebody cares? There are always
people in need, and the reward one feels after helping them is worth it. Let’s make every season
a season of giving!
Other ideas to brighten someone’s day are: RACK (Random Acts of Christmas
Kindness). Cards are available online for this, and basically it amounts to doing favors for
others, such as brushing off their car or taping a free coupon and a package of microwave
popcorn to a Redbox kiosk. Some people even place quarters in the carts at Aldi on the horse at
Paying it forward is a positive action, such as giving the cashier an extra
$20 for the car behind theirs at a fast food drive through. Others hand out coupons in stores and
restaurants and hand them to other customers. Others pay for someone who seems to be
struggling paying groceries or prescription. Some even hand gift cards that still have money
leftover on them to teachers and others who are purchasing large quantities of items.
Volunteering to pass out food at a mobile food pantry is another rewarding way of paying it
One person we know used to keep a pocket full of candy canes and suckers and hand
them out to cashiers on Black Friday. Another, who was a former cashier herself, often handed
cashiers a flower, such as a carnation or rose.
When it comes to giving, a multitude of options exist for people to perform. Not just at
Christmas, let’s make every season the season of giving.