The Season of Giving

The true holiday spirit is love and kindness, not gifts and indulgence. While volunteering is a selfless act, those who annually donate 100–plus hours enjoy enhanced physical and mental health themselves — greater longevity, higher functional ability, lower rates of depression, and less incidence of heart disease — reports the Corporation for National and Community Service. This time of year, many groups are looking for volunteers, including:

  • Local food pantries
  • Churches
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Homeless shelters
  • Soldiers and their families
  • Children’s organizations.

Pressed for time? You can always donate money, but confirm the charity; with so many groups seeking assistance, seasonal scam artists can take advantage of the kindhearted. To be confident your charity is on the up and up, the nonprofit group Charity Navigator recommends:

  • Seeking organizations with capable, reasonably paid leaders
  • Looking for financially strong charities
  • Investigating their outcomes
  • Checking for evidence of questionable ethical practices.

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