To give is better than to receive, but what could you give?


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With the Holiday season picking up speed, the desire to give back to your community and the need to receive holiday supplies increases.

Everyone has heard the phrase “it is better to give than to receive” but as we all have seen, the price of giving can be demanding, especially for high school students. People can request wrapping supplies, gifts, food, decorations and more.

Many think that because the price of giving can be so high that they are unable to give back to those in their lives and those in their community.

However, there is a multitude of ways that you can give back to all of these people in free and/or inexpensive ways.

At the top of the list of ways to give back to those in need throughout your community are donating to food drives, coat and toy drives and volunteering for those who have no family to be with this holiday season.


Louisville has over 30 food pantries open year-round, not only to provide food for those who need it, but also to accept donations of non-perishable food items.

Some of these organizations include: Dare to Care, Highlands Community Ministries and Louisville Metro Community Action Partnership. For a complete list of all the organizations in Louisville click here

When donating to a food pantry, you don’t have to donate just food; many if not all of the food pantries in Louisville accept non-used toiletry items and female hygiene products.

Allstate insurance created a project of donating to charities for anyone to take part in donating this year. This is called the Renewal Project.

Allstate launched a website that has a detailed list of what you should and should not donate to charities. All of the Louisville shelters and organizations accept everything on this compiled list.

  • Soap and deodorant
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Washcloths and bath towels
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Shaving cream and disposable razors

Clothing and seasonal items

  • New socks
  • New underwear
  • Gently used or new winter coats, gloves, hats, and scarves
  • Instant hand warmers

Helpful household items

  • Gift cards
  • Disposable diapers
  • Toilet paper and wet wipes
  • Laundry detergent
  • Twin sheets
  • Towels

Do NOT donate

  • Used socks or underwear
  • Used clothing (unless the shelter has the capacity to accept it, so check first)
  • Used mattresses or pillows
  • Used baby items like car seats and cribs
  • Used toys like stuffed animals
  • Already-opened or partially used toiletries

Among the many charities and organizations collecting toys and coats for the community, Wayside Christian Mission is notorious for collecting the most items throughout the city and reaching the most people.

To find out more information about how you can help click here.


If you want to give back without having to potentially spend money on foods, coats or toys, most of the organizations accept gently used coats and toys. But also you can donate your time rather than items.

Many of Louisville’s organizations advocate for teenagers and other community members to volunteer to serve food, sort through donations, read to orphan children or hang out with people living in the shelters.

Donating your time to these people who have no one to be throughout the holiday will make their day.

There are many places to volunteer including nursing homes, orphanages, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, schools, day-cares, animal shelters, Angel Tree, the YMCA and many more organizations.

Free events for friends and family

When looking to give back to your family and friends, there are more ways to do it than just buying a gift and handing it off. Even though giving a gift can be full of sentiment and meaning, it can get expensive.

Instead, you could easily plan a day full of activities for you and your friends and/or family to take part in.

Some ideas for family-friendly activities are:

  • Lights Under Louisville
  • Ice skating
  • Going to see a movie
  • Walking around a park
  • Baking cookies
  • Making a gingerbread house
  • Decorating for the holiday season
  • Volunteering together
  • Going to see Christmas lights

If you can’t find time to set aside for activities, you can help make dinner one night, help a friend with homework, offer to do the laundry for your parents or just spend quality time with them, just to show your appreciation.

Giving back can be expensive, but it can also be affordable and rewarding. This holiday season, venture out of your comfort zone and your wallet, and give back to the community, your family and your friends using these ideas.

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