With the start of the new year we leave the holidays, and the season of giving, behind us in December. However, with new years come New Year’s Resolutions, so why not make a resolution to extend the season of giving all throughout this year? Let 2018 be your year to give back to your community with these tips for how you can give the gift of giving all year long.

Run a Blanket Drive

Christmas may be over, but winter has only just begun, with three more months of cold weather ahead of us. While you’re cozied up in your house, don’t forget those without shelter who are left outside in the cold. One simple and effective way that you can help is by holding a blanket drive in your community. Many people have blankets they never use that would be put to good use by someone in need, so get the ball rolling and look for ways to start organizing one.

Donate to Local Food Shelters

Approximately 48 million Americans lack the ability to provide nutritious meals for their families, leaving 16 million children to struggle with hunger each year. Another easy, yet incredibly effective way to lend your support is by supporting your local food shelters, most of which are run on donations alone. Get your friends and family to assist you with your efforts by giving their pantries an early spring cleaning and donating all of their canned goods and non-perishables that will help feed a hungry family in need.

Volunteer at a Senior Center

One aspect of everyday life that most of us take for granted is companionship, the act of simply spending your time with another human being. The holidays are a time for loved ones to come together in celebration, but there are many for whom this will be their only social outing of the year. Give one of the most valuable gifts you can give and donate your time to help others.

Offer Your Skills

When we think about giving back to our communities, we think about donating and volunteering. Rarely do we consider donating our talents and occupational skills to be of assistance. Are you an arborist? Maybe there are trees in the community park that need shaping, or an elderly neighbor’s hedges that need trimming. Are you a painter? Maybe there are some rundown buildings that could use a fresh coat. Are you skilled in finance? Offer classes at your community center to help other people take control of their personal finances and empower your neighbors.

The communities that are able to thrive and grow are the ones that are being tended to and cared for by those within them. Start giving back to the community that gives so much to you, and make this year your year of giving.