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November Blog: 5 Easy Ways To Give Back This Holiday Season

Written by: Karen Merk, LPPOC, PMP

Are you a busy business owner and short on resources and time but want to give back to your community, especially as we head into the holiday season?

Time is valuable and not something busy companies can always give alot of. Over the past nine years of meeting outstanding people in York Region through the Portraits of Giving initiative, I have heard about many ways that don't require a large time commitment but still allow you to help your community and also engage your employees.

Here are 5 easy ways to give back:

1) Start a "Shoe Box" Collection: ask your staff and customers to bring shoe boxes filled with necessities and or special gifts for women, men and children and drop them off at your local charity. Yellow Brick House is an organization who receives them - or contact your local mens shelter like Blue Doors or youth shelters like 360 kids It's a good idea to check with them first to see what kind of items might best for their organization.

2) Start a "Fill A Purse" Collection: similar idea to the shoe box idea, but fill a purse instead. Again this would be good for a local women's shelter. Everything from moisturizers, to jewelrey, scarves, tooth paste, tooth brushes, makeup, and more, can be included in this idea.

3) Start a "Toy Collection" Drive to give children a better Christmas with a little something under their tree. The Salvation Army organizes an annual "Toy Mountain" drive and all you have to do is set up a box with a sign in your front reception for all to see and drop off their donation. Visit for more information.

4) Collect Food for Your Local Food Bank. You can even have a healthy competition between departments to see who can raise the most donations or simply put a big box in your front reception for anyone to see and place their donation in. I would suggest contacting your local food bank to find out what items they are in need of so you can request those specific items.

5) Give Blood as a Team before or after your company Holiday Lunch or Dinner. Instead of just having a nice lunch or dinner with your staff, give it more meaning by tying in a trip to your local blood clinic. This is a gift that saves lives. I would suggest calling ahead if you have a large group coming in so they can be ready or suggest the best time. Here is a link to Canadian Blood Services to help you find the nearest location:

No matter what size your company is, these ideas don't require alot of time. An email to your team with the initial request and 2 follow up reminders with the deadline, a sign, and a box to collect items, is not very time consuming. You can even reach out to the public and your customers with a few social media posts. Ask the charity if they can send someone to pick up your collection to save time from dropping off the items there. The important thing is to seek input from your staff to see what they would be most interested in doing and they may even come up with another brilliant idea that means alot to them. This truly engages your team in a deep and meaningful way.

It always feels good to give back.

Karen Merk, LPPOC, PMP

Founder of Portraits of Giving

Merk Photography


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