Service Project Ideas for the Holiday Season

We've all seen the stereotypical portrayals of pageant contestants, a la Miss Congeniality, spreading peace, love and beauty throughout the world. I say, it's a tough job and someone's gotta do it! So, why not you? Making a difference in the world is something that happens one relationship at a time. One hug at a time. One volunteer at a time. As a pageant contestant and title holder, you have a responsibility to lead and use your talents to instigate change. Community service projects are an important part of platform and paperwork development, and nothing speaks louder than personal experiences. With the holidays fast approaching, here are a few ideas to help you get involved and make a difference this holiday season.

Food Drive: Organize a non-perishable food drive in conjunction with your church, school, or community service organization. Food banks are stocking up for the holidays, and they know which families are in need.

Fundraising Concert: Use your pageant talent and host a holiday concert. You can organize a group of pageant contestants in your state and present a holiday show full of singing, dancing, poetry, and music. Take a free will offering and donate the proceeds to the Salvation Army, Red Cross or other worthy organization.

Children's Hospitals: Call your local children's hospital and ask if you can stop by for a visit. Host a reading circle and share your favorite holiday books, or perform your talent for the kids. They'll love that you took the time to stop by and add some cheer to their holiday experience.

Giving Tree: Take charge and organize a giving tree at your church, local community center, or gym. The Salvation Army and United Way are great resources who can help you target families in need.

Support the Troops: Organize a care package drive and send a little love to our military this holiday season. Partner with a local school and make home made cards to send their way. Our military need to feel the love of home and you can help bring it to them.

Toy Drive: Reach out to Toys for Tots or your local mission and organize a toy drive. It is so important that no child is left with out a little magic this Christmas. The current economic climate not only means that more families are in need, but that donations are often down. See what you can do to make a difference.

Sponsor Show Tickets: Find sponsors to send kids to see upcoming holiday performances. From the "Nutcracker" to "A Christmas Carol," there are holiday performances in professional and community theaters in just about every town in America this time of year. See what you can do to get some families there who would otherwise not be able to afford tickets.

Serve Meals: Volunteer at a soup kitchen and help serve meals to those in need. Not only will they appreciate the food, but they will enjoy the company as well.

Visit a Nursing Home: Use your talents once again to entertain a group of individuals who are often left feeling lonely during the holidays. Many people in nursing homes are missing loved ones and spouses, and truly appreciate when people come to visit. Call the activities department and ask if you can entertain the residents.

Bake Sale: Partner with your local Costco, Sam's Club or church, and host a bake sale to raise funds to buy blankets, coats, hats and gloves for those in need.

There is no wrong answer when it comes to lending a helping hand. You can make a difference in your community with a little hard work, determination, and compassion for others.  Not only will you change the lives of the people you reach out too, but your life will be forever touched by the love and gratitude they in turn share with you.

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