Lakeland Gives Back is a new series where we highlight local organizations making a difference in our community, and tell you how you can be part of LAKELAND GIVES BACK! Imagine the impact we can make locally if each of Lakeland Mom’s 5,000 Facebook fans and 10,000+ monthly website visitors donate just a few extra items or a few hours of their time this holiday season.
There are SO MANY options for giving / donating / doing a good deed during the Holidays. In hopes of making it simple for you to GIVE BACK, we’ve compiled a list of a variety of ways you can make a difference this holiday season. They range from things you can do for free, such as giving compliments or making Christmas cards, all the way to adopting a family and to make their holiday special. Whether you have $1 or $100 to give this holiday season, every act of generosity matters. We are firm believers that every little bit of happiness passed along helps make a difference in this world.
- Make Christmas Cards and drop them off at a local assisted living facility
- Give someone a compliment
- Leave a small treat in the mailbox for the person who delivers your mail
- Make a thank you card for someone who might not normally receive many thanks
- Pay for the coffee of the person behind you
- Donate books to your local library, schools, or members in your community.
- Coupon queens and stockpile shoppers, donate your extra household products and toiletries to a family in need
- Mow the lawn/weed the yard of a neighbor working multiple jobs.
- Supply freezer meals to a mother who just had a baby, a family who lost a loved one, or a neighbor who is sick.
- Smile and look for opportunities to encourage others with your words.
- Make bags of food and hygiene products for the homeless.
- Paint and hide rocks as part of the new “Lakeland Rocks” trend
- Hide $1 with an anonymous “Merry Christmas!” note in the Dollar Store
- Drop off cookies at a local fire station
- Give Blood – check to see where you can find the Big Red Bus to make a donation
- Call Agape Food Bank at (863) 665-7074 and volunteer to sort food or participate in mobile holiday food distributions
- Call VISTE at (863) 284-0828 to find out how to help with holiday food deliveries to seniors
All organizations below are local non-profits that we know are legitimate will put your donations to good use!
TOYS / CHILDREN
Regardless of where you decide to donate toys, check out Heartland for Children’s list of gift ideas for different age groups
PERSONAL CARE ITEMS & CLOTHING
We couldn’t begin to make a full list of organizations that need financial donations. There are NUMEROUS organizations meeting needs in the Lakeland community, and we want you to give towards something you are excited about. If you are looking to make a financial donation to a local non-profit but aren’t sure which one, contact us directly and we can help you find an organization that matches your passion.
Are you doing any last minute purging of toys and household items before you have company for the holidays?
Consider donating your new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances to to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore at 1317 George Jenkins Blvd. Lakeland, FL 33815. Donated items are re-sold to the public at a fraction of the retail price and proceeds support Habitat for Humanity.
Does your family love animals? Donate to the SPCA – they are always in need of used towels & blankets. They can also use dog & cat treats, dog & cat food, cleaning supplies, peanut butter. (Every dog there gets a kong at night filled with peanut butter.) If you’re thinking of getting a pet as a holiday gift, think adoption first!
Have gently used toys, books, children/teen clothing or stuffed animals? Drop them off at Florida Baptist Children’s Home (1015 Sikes Blvd, Lakeland, FL 33815) where they will be used for foster care children or teens in their Porch Light program (a home where girls who have been victimized by sex trafficking find healing and hope). Take them to Peace River Center’s Thrift Shop (4419 S Florida Ave, Lakeland, FL 33813) to be used in one of their domestic violence shelters or resold in their thrift shop to support the cause. Take them to a local church or preschool/daycare.
It might take a little more effort to find somewhere your donations can be used instead of simply dropping them off at a thrift store, but keep these ideas in mind when you have like-new items you’d like to see re-used instead of re-sold.
Do you know of another organization accepting donations? Whether the need is specifically at the holidays or year round, comment below or send us a note through our contact us form so we can make a note for next year and any other features we do about donations and giving.
Looking for Light Displays, Special Events, Concerts & Live Performances, Parades, Santa Sightings, Holiday Movies & more? For the ultimate list of Christmas activities in Lakeland visit the main page of our 2016 Holiday Events & Activities Guide.