It is the time of year that creates a familiar and welcome ambiance filled with not only Thanksgiving festivities but with actual thanks and giving, as well.

As such, the entire month of November through the end of the year often carries with it a different feeling in the air—one of gratitude and generosity. Whether one is participating in a challenge of expressing thanks on a daily basis or taking part in charitable endeavors, the holiday season is a time people cherish and make more concerted efforts to express love to others in their lives and throughout their communities.

In fact, according to Assistance League (an organization that seeks to transform the children’s lives through community programs), more than 30% of all annual charitable giving occurs between Thanksgiving and the end of the calendar year. The method of giving could come in a number of different ways—monetary donations, clothing and household items donations, volunteering of one’s time, participating in community initiatives, and much more.

There are plenty of ways for students to become actively involved in giving back to the local community. Below are a handful of opportunities for students seeking to express gratitude through generosity.

  • Beach cleanups or citywide litter cleanup—including monthly Keep Downey Beautiful cleanups
  • Offer to purchase groceries for or mow the lawn of an elderly neighbor
  • Volunteer to help at a local charity—homeless shelters, soup kitchens, food pantries, etc.
  • Donate to school-initiated canned food drives
  • Donate to local toy drives—such as the City of Downey 36th Annual Holiday Toy Drive
  • Donate gently used clothes, shoes, blankets, furniture, books, etc. to local charitable organizations
  • Participate in a 5K race for a cause—the Downey 5K for TLC is just around the corner in February

Regardless of how one chooses to express his or her gratitude this season, there are still plenty of lives to be impacted by the love and generosity that’s spread throughout the entire community.