Give back this holiday season

Danielle Gibbons

There are so many ways to give back during the holiday season. Don’t be greedy, be giving. Here are three easy ways that you can give back this holiday season to make someone’s holiday one they will never forget.

1. Contact a local church

It’s so easy to contact a local church in your area and find out how they’re giving back this holiday season. 

The New Birth Baptist Church has its own holiday donation called the Christmas Closet. The Christmas Closet is an event where children and families in need come register with the church. People can make donations that go toward the gifts. Then, to make it special, family members are taken out to choose gifts to give other family members. The event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 11.

“This teaches them that Christmas is about giving, not receiving,” the Rev. Robert Knight said.

Several businesses and departments on campus and individuals donate to this event, and it has grown immensely over the last few years. This event is open to cities around Ames as well.

“Check out your local church and find out what they’re doing this holiday season. There are so many things out there. We are only one of the many options,” Knight said.

Last year the Christmas Closet gave out more than 800 gifts, helping 58 families with a total of 135 children. 

2. The Giving Tree

The YSS Giving Tree and Adopt-a-Family Programs are well-known in the Ames community, and here is how you can join in this year.

The sponsor may choose to adopt a family unit for the holidays. The sponsor gets to choose the size of the family and then receives information on the ages, genders and such of the recipients so that they can purchase new gifts for them.

Individuals can pick up gift tags at various local businesses that indicate a specific request from a YSS client, participant or program. The sponsor purchases the specific item on that tag, wraps it and returns it either to the business or to YSS. Businesses hosting giving trees this year are North Grand Mall, Starbucks Coffee, VF Factory Outlet Mall in Story City and U.S. Bank at the Main Street , Lincoln Way and North Grand locations).

For more information, visit

3. Toys for Tots

Buy new, unwrapped toys and donate them to local businesses that collect them. Here are places in the area collecting Toys for Tots donations:

Fareway, KCCI, Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” US, Christopher Banks or CJ Banks, Classic Tan, Iowa Diecast Toys, Heska Corporation, Dunn Chiropractic, McLaren’s Resthaven Chapel, Kingdom Kids Academy, Buffalo Wild Wings and Des Moines-area Dollar Stores.

This is an easy way to give to families that can’t afford it. Even a small donation makes a huge difference.

So take the time out of your day and find out how you can give back. You’ll feel much better about yourself at the end of the day once you realize how happy you just made someone else with that small donation.