Simple and Creative Ways to Give Back During the Holidays  


The way we see it, there is no season of goodwill. At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, it’s what we do all year round. However, plenty of people get started in their volunteering career during the holidays. There’s something about all the love, warmth, and light going around that just inspires people to pass that feeling on to someone else.

Whether it’s spontaneously picking up the tab for a stranger’s coffee or opting for a more regimented activity, we salute anyone who wants to share their good mood and shed a little of that joy to the people in their neighborhood. If you’re still debating on the best way to share your time and efforts this year, we’ve got a few simple and creative ideas to get you going.

ways to give back during the holidays infographic

Organize a Corporate Donation Drive

At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, we help corporations come together for organized holiday giving. While most people have their favorite charities they donate to, it can be a fun change for colleagues and leadership to come together specifically for families in Arizona.

In addition, donation drives can instill a larger culture of giving at the workplace, which can stretch to everything from better customer service to more effective PR. Encourage co-workers to talk about the causes that they’re closest to. It could lead to more drives over the year that support charities that are near and dear to people’s hearts.

Donate Money to Goodwill

Goodwill offers a number of services to people in Arizona that are designed to stop the cycle of poverty. Far from keeping people down, our organization provides career counseling and training sessions that get people ready for new opportunities.

At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, we partner with companies in the state to help them fill open positions, thereby empowering people to help themselves and their families. We believe this is the key to stronger communities, and we rely on donations to make it happen.

Donate Items You’re Not Using Anymore

All that space in your attic, basement, or crawlspace is likely going to things you no longer use or need anymore. It might not be spring cleaning time just yet, but imagine how much easier it will be to organize when you don’t have all the excess to deal with.

Now is a great time to give Goodwill your household items, furniture, and gently used clothing. Imagine just how much use they’ll get in someone else’s home.

Make Care Packages for the Homeless

Water bottles, blankets, food, and clothing items aren’t just necessities for the homeless, they’re items that are appreciated on a level that few people can even understand. At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, we also recommend writing a friendly and encouraging letter to the recipient.

The holidays aren’t always an easy time for everyone. From the shorter days to the colder temperatures, these months can create hardships that are tough to bear. A little extra love for those who need it most can go a long way.

Look for a Volunteering Position

Food banks, safety programs, animal rescues: these are just a few organizations that are looking for help during the holiday season. At HandsOn Greater Phoenix, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to share your talents. Volunteering isn’t just a way to help the community, it’s a chance for you to explore your passions without the same expectations from a paid position.

The experience can ultimately be more rewarding than anything you get a paycheck for. Plus, you can meet people that could very well be a part of your circle starting in 2022 and beyond. At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, we’ve seen plenty of life-long friendships start with a few simple exchanges over a pile of donations.

Pay for a Stranger’s Meal

There’s something about surprising people with good news. The look of joy on people’s faces can end up being the best holiday gift you receive this year. Choosing a random table at a restaurant or paying for someone’s take-out is a simple but powerful way to embody the spirit of the holidays. Plus, it’s likely to start a chain reaction that ends up being more than a unique gesture.

Start a Food Drive

Most people are inclined to grab a few old boxes and cans around the holidays and drop them off at their local church or school. However, starting an organized food drive can take those results and multiple them tenfold. 

When you get your community involved, whether it’s your family members, neighbors, or co-workers, the number of non-perishables you can collect is often staggering. People really start getting into it, competing with each other to find the best deals and who can bring in the most items. This friendly rivalry ends up doing families and individuals everywhere a lot of good. Since you’re starting the whole thing, you get to brainstorm how to get everyone motivated to do a little more than they think they can.

Start a Family Gratitude Journal

Gratitude journals are an incredibly easy way to give back this year. When you and your family share what makes you grateful, it makes you more aware of just how many blessings there are out there. If you have children, it teaches them to understand that life isn’t about demanding more and more, but about noticing all that you have already.

It just takes a few minutes in the morning or evening to jot down what makes them happy. All the feelings you get when you remember the simple pleasures can then be shared with anyone from your friends and co-workers to the staff at the grocery store.

Start a Letter-Writing Campaign

Seniors, prisoners, service members: plenty of people aren’t interested in material goods this year. What they crave comes in the form of support and appreciation. Writing sincere messages to people who might be lonely during the season can have a profound effect on how a person perceives the world. When there are so many people out there who are willing to put others down for the sake of their own interests, your words can be a true light in the dark.

Don’t Wait to Donate

If you’re looking for ways to give back during the holidays but don’t have a lot of spare time, giving a charitable tax-deductible donation can be the best way to express your generosity. At Goodwill, your dollars are put toward programs and services that ultimately make for better neighborhoods.

Large group of volunteers huddle up

Exciting Events this Week!

Amazing things are always happening at Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona! Whether you are looking for a daily special or want to participate in one of our job training events, we have something for you.


*Daily deals valid at select Metro Phoenix, Prescott and Yuma locations. Please check with your neighborhood Goodwill for details.

Discount valid on used merchandise only. Not valid on food or drink, new goods, seasonal or holiday items. Not valid at Goodwill Clearance Center.