In The Spirit of Giving: How to Give Back to the Community

This post was sponsored by Johnson & Johnson as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

In The Spirit of Giving: How to Give Back to the Community

Humanity is good.  

Humanity is good.

Humanity is good.

I truly believe most people are good.  I learned that lesson many years ago.  Over 12 years ago, my daughter was hospitalized for a SEVERE traumatic brain injury.  

My baby was shaken, slammed and left with severe brain damage.  Everything that I knew in life was shattered- how could somebody hurt MY baby? My sweet baby went through surgeries, neurological rehab and at 13, lives with the after effects of the damage.  I was left reeling over everything that happened to her along with having to testify in two trials.  Life as I knew it was over.  Our home was gone.  My job- I had to leave it.  We were living on welfare and it was tough.  

However, through all the ugliness of the nightmare- there were beacons of hope.  Random strangers gave to us.  They didn't know us.  Didn't have to.  They gave to us because they wanted to.  There was one time when my daughter was lying in the ICU in a coma and I had to leave her room to shower and change clothes.  I came back to her room and found an envelope in the rocking chair by her bed.  I opened it up and bawled my eyes out.  There was a $50 bill and a note that said "Don't give up".  To this day, I have no clue who left it or how they knew I didn't have money to even buy myself a cup of coffee but that bit of kindness has always stayed with me.  Through the years following, my daughter was sponsored for Christmas, we have had to use food banks and lived in a homeless shelter.  Those years were so hard and I am thankful for them.  It proved how resilient we were and how wonderful people truly are.  During a time when I couldn't find a single ray of sunshine, the kindness of others helped to lift the darkness.  I will always appreciate it and now that I am on my feet with a good job, a thriving small business and a beautiful, healthy teenage daughter- I find many ways to give back in the ways that we were given to.  

In the spirit of giving- here are simple yet immensely beneficial ways to give back that we try to incorporate into our holiday traditions. 

1.  Donate to food banks.    
  • Whenever there is a huge sale on non-perishables, I stock up and donate to food banks.  Also, donate cash.  They can make HUGE purchases and get a great deal on food and that money goes a LONG ways.

2.  Donate to homeless and domestic violence shelters.
  • This one is very near and dear to my heart.  After living in a homeless transitional community, my eyes were truly opened to the amazing women who lived there, the case managers, the staff and the donors who truly want to improve lives around them.  Especially after the recession, many people fell on extremely hard times and are still trying to get out from underneath it. 
  • Donate: hygiene products (especially deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine hygiene products, etc.), nice clothing, nice bedding, food, money and diapers/wipes.  

3.  Donate to the homeless on the streets.
  • Blessing Bags.  I saw these on my Pinterest feed and they're perfect.  Fill them with practical items- deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, snacks, maybe a $5 McDonald's gift card.  
  • Donate to homeless outreach programs. 
4.  Donate to senior and Veteran programs.
  • Many seniors and Vets have to choose between eating or medications and no person should have to choose. 
  • Donate to various programs that help feed our seniors, help them buy medications, donate groceries, companion pet food and transportation.  

5.  Volunteer
  • Can't afford to donate money or are times really tight so you don't have much to give? You can give time.  Any of the places I listed above would LOVE to have your help.  Homeless/Soup kitchens can always use the help and the people eating there can really use the company! Volunteer at a senior citizen's home and help with activities or just visit these wonderful folks who have a lifetime of stories.  Volunteer and drive some veterans and seniors to appointments. 

Ideas are endless and go beyond the Christmas holidays.  Many companies truly believe in giving back to the communities  and Johnson & Johnson is one of these companies.  

Johnson & Johnson makes it super easy to giveback through the "Donate a Photo App".  For each photo shared through the free "Donate a Photo App", Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 to one of its non-profit partners* chosen by the user! 

It's so easy, share a photo through the app to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to spread the word and raise awareness and money for the causes you truly care about.  One photo can be donate a day- EVERY day! Turn that selfie into a good cause! 

Another way to help is by shopping the Gifts of Joy catalogue. Johnson & Johnson has partnered with Save The Children for the "Gifts of Joy" holiday catalog.  Purchase a gift and Johnson & Johnson will match each donation (up to $450,000).  Learn more here. 

Will you download the "Share a Photo" app to raise money for great causes? Don't forget to click here to get the app! 

*Johnson &Johnson has curated a list of trusted causes, and you can donate a photo to one cause, once a day. Each cause will appear in the app until it reaches its goal, or the donation period ends. If the goal isn't reached, the cause will still get a minimum donation.

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