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Consumer Watch: Three ways to give back during the holidays

Volunteers fill backpacks for the Regional Food Bank's backpack program. (KOKH/Caroline Vandergriff)

It is the season of giving, but if you are wanting to volunteer your time for the Christmas season you will need to decide where soon.

“It is a time when I think people think about not only what they have, but how they can share those things with others,” says Nancy Anthony, Oklahoma City Community Foundation Executive Director.

Donating you time helps many non-profits in the direct delivery of the services they offer.

“I think volunteering is a great way for people to feel good about they have done, and also to feel good about the charity that they may be giving their money to,” says Anthony who recommends that you practice giving back in many forms.

There is still a chance to give back before the year is out, but maybe not in the way you expected.

Many non-profits already have plans in place for the end of the year, so if a non-profit’s volunteer list is full for the month, there are other ways to give back too.

Consider donating money. If you have some experience volunteering your time with an organization, and you like what they do, that would be an excellent place to consider making a monetary donation before the year is over. Financial donations keep programs alive, and help create new programs to help more people.

You might also be hoping a different kind of donation can help—like giving away things that you already own.

“Lots of people like to give things, stuff, and so be careful about that, though. We really want to make sure that the organization can really utilize that, “says Antony.

Basically-- check before taking your stuff to a charity. There are non-profits that take your items without needing to call ahead, like Goodwill. However, there are organizations like Pivot, that often need some household items to help the minors to which they provide services. A simple phone call can help you figure out if your favorite charity could use an old couch or car that is sitting in your home.

You can use Give Smart OKC to look for non-profits that need volunteers now, or later in the year, and to learn more about where to give financial donations. Using resources like Give Smart OKC will help you make sure you are giving to an authentic charity.

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