Better Winters For All: 10 Ways to Spread Warmth
We love winter. The sled runs. The quietness of snow-covered trails. The magical feeling of the city. Through our products, we hope to help make the winter season better for our fans, from families who love to play in powder to travelers who are planning to escape it for a sunny getaway.
But we also know that winter isn’t so wonderful for those without shelter, as it’s cold and wet in much of the northern hemisphere. Through volunteering and in-kind donations to shelters, hurricane disaster relief organizations, and refugee centers, we want to make winter better for those in need in our communities. Our partner agencies shared their insight on what the biggest needs are right now and how to help, and we are passing along these tips to our fans who are looking for more ways to make a difference this holiday season.
Here are 10 simple ways to spread warmth in your community:
1. Donate socks
Any items you can donate that would provide warmth (beanies, boots, jackets) are appreciated, but socks tend to be the least-donated items and are in demand. Foot health and comfort are important for overall wellness, and a change of clean, dry socks can make a world of difference.
2. Participate in a canned food drive
A full belly can help ward off the cold. Many businesses, organizations, and schools run canned food drives this time of year. If you can’t find one, consider starting one in your neighborhood or your child’s classroom. It’s a great way for the whole family to get involved. Feeding America has tips on how to get started.
3. Donate hotel toiletries for hygiene kits
Do you have a huge stash of mini shampoos and bars of soap that you’ve collected from hotel stays? Downsize your collection by donating them to shelters for much-needed hygiene kits. You can even make your own kits and hand them to folks who need them. At KEEN, we’ve packed kits that also include a toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, comb, and snack bars.
4. Volunteer at a food bank or soup kitchen
Food banks and soup kitchens exist across the U.S., and in many places around the world. The food donations they receive need to be distributed to those who are hungry. And that’s where you can come in. Consider signing up for a shift, or a few. Multiply the impact by turning it into a department outing. (Bonus: You’ll boost camaraderie while boosting holiday spirit.)
5. Raise money for a local organization
Pair your love of the outdoors with a way to give back. Consider asking friends and family members to pledge money toward an upcoming trek, walk, or run you plan to take on. It’s a win-win. You get to embark on a personal endeavor, and cash enables nonprofit organizations to get the items that are needed most.
KEEN Ambassador Caroline Gleich often turns her expeditions and endurance races into fundraisers. This summer, she raised $3,000 while taking part in an ultramarathon.
6. Sell crafts/baked goods and donate proceeds
Winter bazaars abound this time of year. If you are crafty, consider selling items, or put your baking skills to use to feed hungry shoppers, and donate the proceeds to your local shelter.
7. Sign up to help with disaster clean-up efforts
Natural disasters have displaced many people this year, from the Gulf Coast of the U.S. to Japan. Longtime KEEN partner All Hands and Hearts is looking for volunteers in numerous locations to help survivors rebuild. Perhaps there is an opportunity close to home or you can make a positive impact while traveling. (Read more about our experience volunteering in Houston after Hurricane Harvey.)
8. Share your skills
Nonprofits need all kinds of help, from photography to web design. If your company offers volunteer service hours (every full-time KEEN employee gets 40 hours per year), this can be a good way to use them. And if they don’t, maybe you should ask that volunteer time off be added to your company’s benefits package. :)
9. Donate leftover party food
Holiday party leftovers don’t have to go to waste. Food rescue programs will often accept excess prepared food. A good place to start is your local food bank. Find yours here.
10. Say hi. Kindness creates its own kind of warmth.
Show how you're getting into the spirit of giving by tagging #BetterTakesAction on Instagram to help spread the warmth even further!