It was N. Eldon Tanner who said, “Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.” We feel that everyday, but there is something about the holidays that elicits gratitude, and in turn, a desire to serve, more than any other time of year. But sometimes it can be overwhelming to know where to start. To give us all a jumpstart, we conducted a little brainstorm at the FEED HQ and came away with four easy ways to give back this month:

 1. Host a gratitude gathering
Alliteration aside, gathering your friends together to share in the season’s zeitgeist of gratitude is not only a recipe for good times, but can also be incredibly impactful. Center your get-together around a specific cause or mission. For example: Invite friends over for dinner and ask that they each bring a book to donate to kids in need.

2. Put your thanks on paper
Vocalizing gratitude is so important, but this year we’re inviting you to take it a step further by writing little notes to those people who make every day special in small, and often unnoticed, ways. Whether it’s your mail person who always shows up with a friendly smile or your coffee shop barista who takes special care in making your drink just the way you like it, make your appreciation known and give the gift of gratitude!

3. Volunteer at your local food bank
It’s hard to believe that 47 million of our fellow Americans are food insecure. That number can be overwhelming. What can we possibly do to help? Well, a lot actually. Most of the food banks in the Feeding America network rely on volunteers to keep up with demand for their services. Check out the Feeding America site to find volunteer opportunities near you. (Hint: while we definitely recommend finding a volunteer opportunity during the holiday season, consider also volunteering in the new year, when there aren’t as many people are thinking about that!)

4. Make each day an occasion to give
Having an outward focus during this time of year almost feels natural. Don’t let that fade! Whether you plan on volunteering at a dog shelter once a month or donating school supplies to your school district, now is the time to be intentional and plan how you will serve others in 2016.

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