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With Thanksgiving and winter festivities right around the corner, this time of year serves as a great reminder to find time in our busy holiday schedules to give back to the community. Here in Washington DC, a city that hails some of the largest domestic and international nonprofits, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the litany of options. Here are some simple and creative ways to give back right here in DC.

Ladies, instead of letting your unworn clothing collect dust in your closet; donate your items to Suited for Change. Suited for Change provides coaching, education, and professional clothing for low income women to increase their employment and job retention potential. Drop off your items on Walk- Up Wednesdays or host your own clothing drive with your friends.

There are numerous homes and kitchens in DC that are providing food and shelter to many in the DC area. One such organization is Miriam’s Kitchen, which not only aims to end chronic homelessness in our city, but provides art therapy, mental health care, clothing, and so many other services to their guests. You can learn more here and find out how you can serve meals to your fellow residents.

Before hopping on your morning commute, grab a copy of the bi-weekly Street Sense, a local newspaper that’s providing economic empowerment for individuals experiencing homelessness in the DC area. Almost 50% of the articles and stories are written by homeless or formerly homeless individuals, and each Street Sense vendor pays 50 cents for a paper, modestly requesting a small donation from you, $2.00, to purchase his or her paper. Most Street Sense vendors can be found at the corners of popular Metro stops.

Perhaps, people aren’t your thing? Then head to the Washington Animal Rescue League to walk and train formerly abandoned dogs or socialize with cats coming from abusive situations.  For more information, visit their website.

How do you like to spread your holiday cheer? Share your story and tell us how you help others during the holiday season.

For more ways to get involved in DC, go to the local volunteer center guide.

Photo credit: Miriam’s Kitchen

Learn more about Local Volunteer Center Guide.

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