If you’ve been in the fresh produce industry for more than oh, five minutes, you’re likely well aware of the familial nature of our business. We help each other out, we love to have a good time together, and we work hard to make a difference. One of the most inspiring things about our industry, in fact, is our overwhelming generosity and culture of gratitude, demonstrated by our eagerness to display kindness as an outpouring of our thankfulness.
This holiday season, we encourage companies to take time with their teams to show gratitude through volunteering and community outreach. Here are 10 ways you can make a lasting impact:
How to Give Back During the Holidays
1. “Adopt” a family for Christmas.
Many local communities have programs for low-income families to help make a special Christmas morning possible, just like we all want for our own children. Simply search for a local adopt-a-family program and ask for them to place you with a family (or more than one family, if you do this as a group!).
2. Write notes and/or send care packages to deployed military members and veterans.
Support Our Troops and many other non-profit companies help make it possible to send packaged goods and letters of support to military members overseas. A list of approved items and the appropriate shipping address will be available on each organization’s respective website.
3. Donate canned goods and other shelf-stable food to families in need.
Many grocery stores and local food banks collect canned food and dried goods to accompany Thanksgiving and Christmas meal kits. This year, most food banks will also take fresh produce if you work closely with their procurement team—reach out as early as possible to make this a reality!
4. Serve food at a local shelter or senior center.
Most local churches have these programs already in place, but you also can reach out directly to shelters and retirement homes to see how you can help!
5. Invite others to your holiday meals.
Many people, including those who work for your company, are unable to be with family over the holidays. You would be surprised at the lasting impact you may have on someone by simply making a space for them at your dinner table.
6. Bring baked goods or lunch to your local fire station or police department.
Show your gratitude for those who keep your community safe by providing them with a home-cooked meal or treat. These men and women often eat simple, not-so-healthy meals (if there is time) while on-call and would likely be surprised and delighted by your thoughtfulness.
7. Give the “gift of giving.”
Know someone who’s passionate about a cause and actively serves with an organization? Why not offer to volunteer with them? What a great way to say, “I support you and what you care about.”
8. Buy someone’s meal, or even just their coffee.
The holidays are full of joy, but for many people, this can be coupled with a lot of stress and hurt. You never know whose day you could make by picking up the coffee tab of the person behind you in line, or even surprising a family with a free meal at a restaurant.
9. Pick up trash in the community.
Company outings this holiday can mean major impact for the community if you commit to beautifying areas around town. Take an hour to pick up trash as a group—expect to be surprised by how much can be accomplished in that short time together!
10. Make and give away blankets.
Fleece blankets are super easy to make and make for a great group project around the holidays. Homeless shelters and hospitals are in constant need of blankets during the winter months to serve those in need.
These are just a few of the many ways you and your teams can make a difference this holiday season. Sometimes, it is the simplest acts of gratitude that leave the most lasting impression on those around us.
“I don't think you ever stop giving. I really don't. I think it's an ongoing process. And it's not just about being able to write a check. It's being able to touch somebody's life.”
– Oprah Winfrey
Have an idea about giving back for the holidays that you would like to share? Let us know by leaving a comment below or tweeting us at @TheCoreBlog!