How to give back safely during the holiday season

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Leila Touati

As we are in the middle of the holiday season, it’s important to find ways to give back to our community after a troubling year.

With the holidays in full swing, it is usually a time of comfort and giving. But with COVID-19, 2020 is a different year for everything, including the charitable work that many people enjoy doing during this time of year. While remaining at a socially acceptable distance and wearing a mask, there is no problem with giving back safely during these holidays.

Ways that people can donate without leaving their homes is donating money to food banks. Alameda County Community Food Bank is welcoming donations with open arms since during the COVID-19 pandemic, need has doubled.

“This pandemic, in some ways, has really widened the gap between those who are thriving and those who are struggling. When people support their local food banks right now, almost immediately that support becomes a healthy meal on the table of someone who really needs it,” said Michael Altfest, Director of Community Engagement and Marketing at Alameda County Community Food Bank.

This certain food bank made the cautionary measures to keep their volunteers, donators, and the people they help safe. They hope to receive many donations during the holidays to continue helping their community.

“We receive about 60% of our fundraising from November to January, but the vast majority of that comes in December (with an increasingly steep curve as we approach the New Years Eve tax deadline).  We’ve set a very ambitious goal of raising $14 million during the holidays – which is nearly what we raised ALL of last year (as in, 12 total months),” said Alfest.

Simple acts of kindness make a difference, and no time is better than now to reach out to a struggling neighbor, or help those in need. Volunteering at soup kitchens, food banks, or donating coats, socks, and warm clothes to any shelter can make a lasting impact for those who need it the most. Small businesses are always in need of more help during the holidays, and this year is no exception. By making a small donation, one can help make a difference in their community.

“Given the both the charitable nature of the holiday season and how central meals are to these holidays, it’s natural for the holiday season to be a time of giving for food banks.  And I think people give to food banks like ours, in large part, because they know they’re making an immediate and tangible local impact,” said Altfest.