Spread some holiday spirit this season by volunteering in your local community. Whether it’s at a soup kitchen, preparing food packages at homeless shelters or fundraising to help out your favorite cause, there’s no better season than the holidays to do something meaningful and good.
Here are some ways to lend a hand, along with a couple of avocado-based, warming soup recipes to nourish body and soul.
Volunteers are always needed in just about every town or city across the country. Ask local government agencies, churches or schools in your community for the name of a soup kitchen, shelter, or food pantry that’s looking for help over the holidays. These are, after all, 365 days-a-year operations and the influx of people in need always increases over the holidays.
Why not grab some friends this year and organize a shift at a soup kitchen as your way of paying it forward? Always check with the shelter or volunteer soup kitchen’s manager to arrange a time when your group can lend a hand. And even though this isn’t a paid gig, treat it like a job. Show up when you say you will and do your part respectfully. Skipping out on your shift could have a huge impact on workflow since most soup kitchens rely on volunteer help to fulfill their obligations.
Cold weather eating calls for warming soups, like this Heart-Healthy Creamy Sweet Potato Avocado Soup. Packed with fiber and Vitamin A, it’s a delicious, nutrient-dense choice. If the soup kitchen in your community has a glut of avocados, suggest they store them in the fridge to slow down the ripening process for later use. Or use them in this savory Miso and Mushroom Soup that replaces tofu with creamy chunks of avocado. You can prevent any leftover, cut green fruit from spoiling by submerging it in water and placing in your fridge to keep it fresh and ripe for another three days.
Not much of a cook and don’t fancy kitchen work? No problem. There are many other ways to help. Consider organizing a holiday bake sale with proceeds going to your favorite soup kitchen. Or rally your friends to buy non-perishable goods and other foods to donate once you check with your local soup kitchen to ask them what they need. You can even try getting a local business to give you some support in the form of cash or product donations to help meet your goals. Or fill food boxes at your local food pantry for those who need it at this time of year.
Whatever you choose to do, the fact that you’ve chosen to help is a gift in itself — especially for those who feel alone and hungry. Sharing of yourself, with those who need it most, is the greatest gift of all.