During the holiday season, it is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of decorating, activities, and to-do lists. Yet it can also be a time when we embrace the season of giving and blessing others. As you consider meaningful ways to give back to your community and bless loved ones, never underestimate the gift of meeting a need.
This holiday, there are many creative ways you and your friends, family, or colleagues can meaningfully engage in serving survivors and those vulnerable to human trafficking. Whether you have time to help wrap gifts, can pick out that special gift that blesses a loved one as well as a survivor, or are able to provide financial assistance, there are ways for everyone to engage this holiday!
Wish Lists & Donations
Have you wanted to give to a local shelter, program, or individual but didn’t know what to contribute? Rather than buying a random sweater or blanket, you can find out exactly what is needed by purchasing off a wish list. Often, these programs know what is most useful to participants and what they will enjoy the most, so whether it is bedding, toiletries, or kitchen items, you can be assured that when you purchase off a wish list, it will go to directly meet a need. Wish lists also offer the options of price ranges, types of gifts, and direct delivery. Programs such as Wellspring Living, The A1 Campaign, and Treasures offer wish lists on their websites to help you pick out the right gift! Explore these wish lists and those of programs you know and support locally or nationally in order to help meet specific needs.
Did you know that your gift this holiday can not only bless your loved one, but also support local farmers with sustainable wages and safe living conditions? If you don’t know about Fair Trade, take time to learn more about what this term means, the types of products you can look for, and ways communities and businesses can engage. Whether you are looking for the perfect stocking stuffer of coffee, chocolate, or candy, you can be sure that when you give a gift with the Fair Trade or FairTrade logo, you are making a double impact. Add these seals to your list when out shopping this holiday, and be sure to check out these flavors from Tony’s Chocolonely and learn about their mission to create chocolate that is slave-free.
- Holiday Activities. Do you love to go ice skating, paint, or attend holiday concerts? Consider sponsoring a holiday activity for survivors or those at-risk. Reach out to the programs in your area, or the ones that you support, to identify a specific sponsorship opportunity. It may vary by the community and program participants they serve, but you can be assured that there are opportunities for you to provide a holiday memory that will bring joy all year round.
- Program Services. Do you want to sponsor something specific? Connect with local programs to learn ways you can sponsor activities, technology, and opportunities for survivors as they continue on their path to restoration and reintegration. See examples from LOVE146 for ideas on how you can support survivors and those at-risk.
Freedom Businesses & Social Enterprises
Have you purchased from a Freedom Business or social enterprise before? As you start (or finish!) your holiday shopping, or find yourself planning gifts for the new year, take time to learn about and explore products made by survivors of human trafficking and those at-risk. Social enterprises, such as Veronica’s Voice: Just Cause, offer opportunities for program participants to develop marketable job skills, employment, and references. Proceeds from products go directly back to the program to continue supporting and empowering women. With Freedom Businesses, program participants are employed to earn a living wage to provide for themselves and family members. Whether you are looking for soaps and lotions, leather bags and wallets, home décor or unique jewelry, you will be sure to find the perfect gift! Explore the Freedom Business Alliance Holiday Gift Guide, as well as our previous blog that lists freedom businesses and social enterprises across the U.S. and abroad.
Family Support Programs
Did you know you can adopt a family this holiday season? Many programs offer the opportunity to come alongside a family in need – whether to meet food needs, basic necessities, or holiday gifts, you can be the answer for a family in your community. When we wrap around those in need in our communities, we alleviate vulnerabilities that traffickers would seek to exploit. And we can be a great blessing to those who need some extra help during the holiday season especially. Find out how you can help a family feel supported and cared for this holiday by contacting your local programs, shelters, and services.
Do you have gift wrapping skills that you can share with others? You can choose to host a gift-wrapping party to wrap donated gifts, or you can gather your friends together and invite a local program to share about their efforts while wrapping wish list gifts. You may also choose to teach program participants creative ways to decorate wrapped gifts, bringing holiday joy to all!
We hope you are inspired and encouraged this holiday to join in the spirit of giving and supporting others. While the possibilities are endless, we hope these resources get you off to a great start!