Medically reviewed by Sophia Yen, MD, MPH – Written by Pandia Health Editorial Team

There is something special about a season where everyone is ready to spread a little more cheer and be a little nicer…

Spending time with family and friends, unboxing gifts and enjoying delicious meals are some of the essential features of every holiday season. But the holiday can be much more than just a passing season for you and your family this year.

Why not make it a time to do a little good and donate a little more to people who have less and causes who need more to survive? Giving back is a great way to show gratitude. There are various charities and communities in the world that would appreciate a warm blanket, a hot bowl of soup, or even just $1. It is never too small to make a difference.  If you’d like to give back but have no clue where to start, here’s a list of great ways you can join in and pay it forward this holiday.

Soup Kitchens

Take out a few hours of your day to spend time at a soup kitchen or shelter to serve holiday meals to hundreds of people who need warm gravy and hot chocolate. Sharing a smile or giving a comforting hug could go a long way in making this holiday special.

Giving Toys

There are children out there who do not share in the joy of the holiday. These children get no gifts or toys to celebrate the season. It could easily become a depressing season for young kids who deserve a little holiday cheer. There are several ways to give toys to kids who do not get any during the holidays. Send toys through Toys for Tots to kids whose parents cannot afford to buy them here. One Simple Wish allows you give back to children in the foster system who have been separated from biological families. Virtual Family Tree allows you to grant the wish of a specific child in need or you can also send gifts here to children who have to spend their holiday in the hospital.

Blood Drives

Donating blood is an excellent way to give back to the communities around you this holiday season. Just by giving blood to someone out there, you could spend less than an hour giving other years of life and hope. It would cost you nothing but could mean everything to someone else. Visit any hospital or donation center around your neighborhood to donate blood.

Pandia Health Birth Control Fund

With 1 in 3 women struggling with the cost of a birth control prescription at some point in their lives, Pandia Health is an organization committed to providing convenient and affordable access to birth control to women around the world. From as little as $20, you can help a woman fund her birth control needs through our partnership with the Center for Policy Analysis. Helping a woman in need is as easy as making a donation to our Birth Control Fund today.

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood is an organization dedicated to various aspects of women’s healthcare. With various organizations centered on providing information and access to safe abortions subsidized birth control, HIV protection, cancer screenings, sex education, and STD testing amongst others, Planned Parenthood aims at delivering reproductive healthcare. Donate directly to any of the Planned Parenthood organizations here.

Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders

Organizations like SheHeroes empower young girls to dream big and explore their interests regardless of their backgrounds. Girls are given the opportunity to pursue non-traditional careers and fully discover their potential by engaging with influential stories of successful women role models across all fields. You can donate here to give girls the valuable role models they need to become exceptional in every field.

Civil Liberties

Several organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are focused on defending and preserving individual rights and liberties that the United States guarantees in the Constitution and the laws. From achieving full equality for LGBT people to establishing new privacy protections for our digital age of widespread government surveillance and ending mass incarceration or preserving the right to vote, ACLU strives to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. Donate here to fund the fight ahead this season.

Organizations Fighting The Good Fight For Women Across the World

If you have ever been an advocate for political, economic, and social equality for women, the holidays are a great time to give back to the various women’s rights organizations championing various causes aimed at giving women all the opportunities they deserve.

  • Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) which has been in existence for over three decades advocating for women’s equality and reproductive health and empowering women economically, socially and politically. Donate to promoting equality around the world here.
  • Support the courageous people over at Lady Parts Justice in advocating strongly for the safe, and affordable reproductive health and rights of women, all genders and non-binary people by donating here.
  • The Silver Ribbon Campaign brings together progressive groups supporting reproductive health, rights and justice and respect for women. With at least 30% of U.S women predicted to have an abortion in their lifetime, support the Silver Ribbon Campaign by donating here in making sure that the women who have abortions survive in good health.
  • IGNITE is committed to developing political ambition and building a young movement of women who are ready to hold political power and run for office. Just by supporting IGNITE and donating here, you are investing in the future generation of women political leaders.
  • Imagine a world where every woman is free to decide whether or when to have children and whether to get married; with access to quality reproductive health care guaranteed. A world where every woman can make these decisions free from coercion or discrimination. This is the kind of world the Center for Reproductive Rights seeks to create by using the power of the law to advance reproductive rights as fundamental human rights around the world.  Lend your voice to the cause by donating here.
  • Physicians For Reproductive Health are focused on ensuring the ability to control reproductive destinies by improving access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare, including contraception and abortion especially to meet the health care needs of economically disadvantaged patients. Make a contribution here for all our reproductive healthcare today.
  • Support the fight to reproductive freedom by opposing restrictions to abortions through political action and advocacy by donating to NARAL Pro-choice America here.
  • Lend a hand by donating here to Besider, an online birth control support network operated by Power to Decide, a campaign to ensure every young person has the power to decide, if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant.

Whichever cause or project you decide to give back to this holiday, either by volunteering or donating, the most important thing is to join in to do some good and spread a little light to those who need it.

Disclaimer:The views expressed in this article intend to inform and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Pandia Health, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.