The holiday season means many things to many people, but the true spirit of the season is the generosity and kindness shared among family, friends and even strangers. There is a constant need for those who are less fortunate, and December is a time where you can really make an impact in your community. You don’t have to be a huge financial donor to make a difference, as there are so many ways you can help improve the lives with simple acts of kindness, an extra purchase or a few hours of your time.
KROC Ring the Bell Campaign
The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign is in full swing, and you’ve likely heard the bells going in and out for groceries and at other retailers. Grab the loose change from your car and drop it in the bucket as you pass by. The Salvation Army Kroc Center relies on the money raised in the Red Kettles—in coins, dollars and credit card gifts—to help our neighbors in need in Kootenai County at Christmas and throughout the year. Bell ringers are also always needed. You can sign up for a two-hour shift by visiting KrocCdA.org. Donations are accepted through Christmas Eve.
Many of us prefer to do our shopping online, especially if you are sending packages to loved ones spread out across the country. Now, even your Amazon purchases can help impact local nonprofits through the Amazon Smiles program. Simply log in to your account or create a new one at Smile.Amazon.com, and 0.5 percent of your eligible purchase can be directed to a nonprofit of your choice. Click the “Supporting” link under the search bar and look up a nonprofit of your choice by name or location. To date, the program has generated more than $105 million in donations.
CASA Kidz Closet
The CASA Kidz Closet is a place for CASA advocates and foster families to go to receive necessary support and supplies for children in the program. During December, the Kidz Closet is in need of Christmas toys for children ages 3 and older. Gifts are presented to children in the program so they can share in the happiness of the season. Additional items are always in demand and include stuffed animals, baby clothes and diapers, toiletries, books, school supplies and warm winter clothes.
Goodwill’s Holiday Décor Event
You’ve got your tree and are always on the search for new and unique decorations. Stop by your local Goodwill donation center and you might be surprised to find a very impressive collection of decorations. Staff at each location decorates trees inside the store, highlighting the unique new and used items that come through the door. If you are helping decorate a tree for an auction event, this is a great place to start. You purchase helps fund programs that include rapid re-housing, veterans’ support, job training and more. Eighty-five cents of each dollar spent at Goodwill goes into these local programs.
Nadine’s Mexican Kitchen Children’s Village Fundraiser
This Rathdrum favorite will be serving breakfast on December 15 with 100 percent of the proceeds going to buy Christmas gifts for the kids who live at the Children’s Village. Gifts will be wrapped, and the kids will come out the following Saturday to open them. Tickets are $25 per person and include a mimosa or a glass of fresh juice. Breakfast will also include fresh fruit gazpacho. Tickets can be purchased at the restaurant during business hours.
Menu items include: pork or grilled veggie verde hash; huevos divorciado with pork, chorizo or grilled vegetables; machaca; horchata french toast; huevos rancheros with pork, chorizo or grilled veggies.
Hospice of North Idaho Tree Lighting Ceremony
Gather your family for an evening of music and calm reflection in remembrance of those we grieve this holiday season. Hospice of North Idaho will be holding a tree lighting ceremony on Wednesday, December 12, at its Prairie Avenue location. Each household will receive a special keepsake ornament for their tree. Enjoy refreshments after the ceremony at the Hospice Community Building. All are welcome to this community-oriented ceremony. The lighting runs from 5:30 to 7pm, and there will be a similar event in Kellogg the following evening.
Serve a Senior a Hot Meal
The Lake City Center serves hundreds of seniors each month inside their building, but many in our area are homebound and are unable to make the trip in. The Center operates the local Meals on Wheels food delivery program and is always in need of additional volunteers. The home-delivered meals program services Coeur d’Alene, Hayden and Dalton Gardens Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Right now the center is serving an average of 110 clients each month. If you have an extra hour or two in your week, help bring a hot meal and share a nice conversation with a local senior.
Whether it’s a small gift, your spare change, an online purchase or a bit of your time, your small act combined with others in your community can go a long ways toward making the holidays brighter for those in need.