5 ways to pay the holiday spirit forward

December 22, 2011

Social media

Something as small as a cup of coffee can lead to something so much bigger when it comes to social good (Image credit: Subwayblogger.com)


Someone I’ve never met before paid for my coffee today. I was driving through Dunkin’ Donuts on my way to my last day of work for the year, and when I got to the window, they told me my coffee had been paid for by the person in front of me.

I looked at the car ahead and didn’t recognize it. I peered into the driver’s seat — never seen this person before. As I made my way out of the parking lot, I stopped behind my new friend and tried to wave to say thank you. But she never looked back at me. It obviously wasn’t her intent to get credit for the deed. Just a good person who wanted to pass along the holiday spirit.

That free coffee was a good reminder. A reminder that so many people don’t have it as good as we do this holiday season. And that there are several little things we can do to make a big difference for those people. Here are five opportunities to pay it forward that I’ve heard about. I’d love to hear what you’re doing to give back this holiday season in the comments so we can grow the list.

1. Salvation Army Online Red Kettle Challenge. The Salvation Army is running behind in its donation goal this year. And my friend, Lisa Qualls, is not ok with that. Good for you, Lisa! Lisa set up a challenge page where people can donate and she has started a friendly competition between the Kansas City Social Media Club and Centurions Group. She’s only asking for you to drop $5 in her online red kettle. Small way to be part of something big!

2. Gifts for Joplin. I am not a big Kansas City Chiefs fan. I actually like the Broncos. I know, WTH is wrong with me? Being from KC and liking Denver. All that aside, I am a HUGE fan of what the Chiefs organization did earlier this week. Without making a big fuss or telling a soul who didn’t need telling, I heard on the radio yesterday that the Chiefs brought more than 1,300 gifts to the city of Joplin, which is still recovering from the tornado that tore its city and citizens’ lives apart this past spring. Visit the Joplin Red Cross page to give a small gift of your own this holiday season.

3. Sponsor a Child. Have you heard about the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging? I have been lucky enough to get to know this group well over the past year. The work they do to help impoverished children and families across the world is amazing. And there are a couple of ways you can get involved. One is to donate to their Christmas fund, which helps provide gifts to children during CFCA Christmas celebrations. Second is to sponsor a child. It’s super-easy, doesn’t cost much and CFCA is running a very cool Facebook campaign to promote the children who still need sponsors.

4. Fight #childhunger. Child hunger is an issue year-round. But we often become more aware of it during the holidays. My awareness of this issue has been heightened in the last year thanks to the opportunity I’ve been given to work with our client ConAgra Foods and its Child Hunger Ends Here program. Just a $1 donation provides eight meals for a food bank that feeds families in need. Or if you buy ConAgra Foods products this holiday season, hold onto the codes on the box tops. You can enter those at the Child Hunger Ends Here website in 2o12 and each entry means a meal donated.

5. Do something nice. We think holidays and we think charities. Or at least I do. And many of us donate to the same ones all the time. Nothing wrong with that. Our donations are appreciated. But sometimes we all need a little pick-me-up. Like holding a door open, telling someone they look nice or even buying them a cup of coffee unsolicited. There are opportunities all around us to do something nice without any hope of recognition. See if you can find one and let us know how it goes when you pay it forward. I’m going to be doing the same.

What else would you add to the list? Cheers…and happy holidays!

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