November 17th, 2022
Corey Ray & Scooter Gillis
We all know that we are lucky to live in Kootenai County, especially when it comes to the holiday season. There are numerous events taking place each winter that allows the opportunity for every family to feel the love during the cold season. From helping less fortunate families keep warm to helping kiddos that may not receive presents to feel like Santa visited them, there are lots of ways to support your community. If you don’t live in this county, we will also go review how to give back in your area. Let’s get into it!
Holiday’s & Heroes
This amazing event is put on by the first responders in our area. Not all heroes wear capes, and our county is filled with local heroes. Each year, during the first week of December, our heroes take time out of their day to help our local children who are less fortunate by partnering with local business and community members to purchase gifts for them. Just like you would shop for your family, the heroes go shopping with the children for their families, then all of the purchased gifts will be specially wrapped by volunteers. After the finishing touches are put on, the presents are loaded up into the heroes’ vehicles and are dropped off at their individual houses, just like Santa with his sleigh!
How to Get Involved!
If you would like to join in on this amazing volunteer opportunity to bring some light into some lives, you can donate money or non-perishable food to Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office - 5500 N. Government Way, Coeur d’Alene ID 83815. To find out more about this event, click to learn more at the top of this section!
Christmas for Kids
Another great local event to support during the holidays is the program put on by the Boys & Girls Club of Kootenai County that brings gifts and joy to children of less fortunate families in our county. The club carefully selects children who are in need of the most help and goes on a large shopping trip for the specially selected gifts that would make these kiddos the happiest. Volunteers can join in on the fun of shopping, wrapping, and loading up the gifts. Beyond just the gifts, they also are able to give some much needed groceries to their families. The overall goal of these amazing volunteers is to bring a very merry Christmas to as many deserving children as possible.
How to Get Involved!
Want to join in on the fun of giving back to the kiddos in our community in need? They need volunteers for shopping, sorting gifts and groceries, and helping load and deliver said gifts and groceries. To get involved, click learn more at the top of this section to find out more.
Toys for Tots
Here’s one that we’re sure a lot of us are already aware of - Toys for Tots! This annual event gives toys to disadvantaged children in our community. Unlike the other events, there are multiple drop-off zones around town that you can place toys in that will be distributed to the children that need it most. You can also donate money instead of a gift, by sending a check to Toys for Tots at P.O. Box 1872, Hayden ID 83835. This money will, of course, go towards this same common goal of giving our local tots some fun toys so that they can smile on Christmas with the rest of us. You can register your child if you think this organization would apply to you! They ask that no children are brought while registering, and you will need proof of residency to show. Eligible children range from infant to twelve years old. Starting at the end of November and running to the 22nd of December, you can get your registration in. To register, head to the Kootenai County Fair Grounds 10am-3pm Monday-Saturday. Only one member of the family may register for this event.
How to Get Involved!
There are a few different ways to get involved with this event. To find out more, click the button at the top of this section. You can either donate money or toys. Mail your check to the above address to donate monetarily, or deliver toys at one of the multiple drop-off locations. You can email the director of this event, Dennis Dodd, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (208) 952-6725.
There are various ways to help out your community and give back during the holiday season. While you can help and support the local events stated above, there are also things you can do individually on your own. Everybody deserves love during the holiday season, even if they’re strangers to you. We never know what people are going through, so take extra time to be kind, because that’s what the holiday’s are all about!
If you own a small business, starting a collection jar is a great way to support local, important causes. If there is a family you know who needs extra help, a local animal shelter who is struggling, or a cause dear to you, grab a jar and start decorating. You can take the time to make it as festive as you would like, to attract the eyes of everyone who enters. Make sure you have a sheet outlining the purpose of this jar and what the cause is. While your customers are waiting for their purchase, they can read up on your cause and decide if it’s something they would like to donate to. You can also simply ask if they would like to charge their purchase to the nearest dollar to add the change to the jar.
These little care packages can be as small or as large as you would like. This is a fun, creative way to get your whole family involved. First, time to go shopping! You can pick out essentials that everyone needs to beat the cold or to put a smile on their faces. Let your creativity soar as you wrap up maybe some seasonal treats, warm blanket, and bare living essentials. Once you have created your packages, you can add a little uplifting note to make it even more personable. Now you can keep these care packages in your car and hand them out to anybody you see that seems like they could use some holiday love.
The holiday’s are a great time to bring people together to work for a common goal. What common goal is better than helping those in need? There are multiple different avenues you can go down when organizing a clean-up day. You can adopt a road and gather people together to clean that stretch of road! Since you’re doing this for the holidays, get in character and make it festive! Stay warm while doing it by getting in your favorite Christmas character costume and even bring some festive music with you to keep the mood light! You can also clean areas in your town that need some love, like local parks or sidewalks. Also on the list of possibilities is helping a community member in need by cleaning the exterior/interior of their home for them. Some families in our community are struggling and having people to help by hauling garbage or dead branches from their property can mean more than you know. Some business will even allow you to use personal days to participate in a community clean-up day, so ask your place of work to see if they will help make this more possible for you!
One of the best parts of the holidays is getting in the spirit! If you have a little extra money this season, you can host a free family craft night for members of your community. A lot of children don’t get the opportunity to participate in holiday festivities, so this can add some joy to their lives! You can ask your local community center if you could use their space for a night and even pair with some local businesses to do a raffle and have a collection jar there as we spoke about previously. Head to the dollar store and get some crafting supplies, put in a fun Christmas movie, and make some hot cocoa. Your craft night is ready! Make sure to get the word out and plan ahead to make sure everyone that wants to enjoy the night has the opportunity.
While the holidays are the time that the majority of people think about volunteering and giving extra help to the community, there are resources that we have access to in order to volunteer throughout the entire year. Check out each of these to find out more information on how you can give back to your community and those in need in our area or any other area out there!
Are there other events, ideas, or resources that you would like us to add? Send us your holiday resources to see them added here to help others find great opportunities to give back this year!