The Spirit of Giving

During the holiday season, we experience stress and become caught up with papers, projects and tests. Others worry about gift shopping, wrapping presents and hustling and bustling for holiday gatherings. Some struggle to put food on the table and work long hours to provide for their families. Many find the holiday season a burden because they do not have the resources, family or time for holiday activities.

Even though we as students are consumed with our classes, jobs and undertakings, we still need to remember during this holiday season to give to those less fortunate than us. In 2014, 46.7 million people lived in poverty in the United States. Latah County has a poverty rate of 18.1 percent. It feels good to help another person, especially when the impact is close to home.

One important aspect we as feminists should remember is no matter how tough you think your life is, there is always someone who has to face

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Women working at a soup kitchen to help their community.

challenges that are even tougher than yours. Giving back to our communities strengthens them and we are able to make a difference and change another person’s life. As feminists, we should help out those who are less privileged than ourselves. And giving back does not have to be a difficult task.

Lots of churches, charities and other associations host events where people can give this time of year. Some establishments set up ways to give to those overseas who do not have enough possessions to survive. Others need a boost. Newinternetorder.com shares names of different organizations that accept online donations to help those around the United States and the world find opportunities in schools, businesses and farms. Other websites like freerice.com donate food to children in need around the world.

Many families living in poverty utilize their local food banks, and food banks appreciate food and monetary donations. Giving fixings for a holiday dinner to a local food bank is a fantastic way to give back to the community. The Huffington Post created a list of items charities wish for at this time of year, including cleaning items, blankets and kitchen supplies. One television station in Kennewick, Washington, hosts a large food drive for a local food bank every year, and thousands of people donate to it.

I recommend volunteering or giving to local organizations in your hometown this holiday season. Not leaving Moscow for the holidays? The Palouse has several wonderful organizations that help those in need. For example, Backyard Harvest is a nonprofit organization that delivers fruits and vegetables to those in need. Family Promise of the Palouse offers shelter and meals to the homeless in the area. Other marvelous nonprofit organizations on the Palouse are Palouse Bicycle Collective, Planned Parenthood in Pullman, Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse and the Lewis Clark Animal Shelter.

The University of Idaho also consists of multiple departments and organizations that would benefit from donor giving. The Office of Multicultural Affairs seeks to broaden the University of Idaho’s commitment to cultural enrichment and academic excellence by maintaining an environment that supports multiculturalism and promotes inclusion. I had the opportunity to work with the OMA during Movimiento Activista Social’s “El Color de Nuestra Tierra,” a showcase on Latin America, in November. I was able to learn about the various cultural aspects of Latin American countries and utilize the PR and advertising skills I have learned in class.

el color
Members of Movimiento Activista Social (MAS) after “El Color de Nuestra Tierra” in November.

Another inclusive place on the UI campus is the Campus Christian Center. The CCC provides free coffee tea and cookies during the week for students along with tables and couches for studying. Anyone practicing faith, exploring faith or who has no faith is welcome to come by the building, and many of the programs do not involve religious activity. For instance, students can stop on by for free soup every Monday of the school year. I have met some of my closest friends in college through the CCC, and I recommend that everyone drop on by this quiet building on campus.

The University of Idaho Women’s Center is another spot on campus that offers beneficial services to students and a safe space to ask questions. The Women’s Center often collaborates with other departments and groups on campus to inform about something happening in the world. I enjoyed writing for this blog this semester, and working with the Women’s Center, Digital Media Club and Sigma Lambda Beta to produce “La Oración del Hombre.”

No matter where you decide to give back to, it significantly impacts multiple people. I encourage you to donate some of your time, money or belongings to a good cause or organization this holiday season and join the spirit of giving. Have a magnificent holiday season, break and thanks for reading my articles this semester!

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