10 Ways to Give Back at the Holidays
From volunteering to baking, here are VN's 10 ways to make a difference this holiday season.
As humans, we derive immense pleasure from the presence of animals in our lives—enjoying birds in our yard, spotting a deer in the woods, or simply being greeted by our beloved dogs, cats, and bunnies with whom we share our homes. Though the animals need our help year-round, the season of giving offers the perfect time to give something back to fellow earth-dwellers. It's easy to get caught up in the consumerism that inevitably accompany the holidays, but the best gift that one can give is showing love, compassion, and appreciation for those around us. Here are VN's top 10 ways to have a happier holiday by helping those in need.
1. Support local animal shelters
Shelters need hands-on support as much as they need money. If you can't foster an animal, consider socializing them at shelters to increase their chances of being adopted.
2. Give the gift of companionship
Studies show that caring for an animal benefits one's health and decreases depression and blood pressure. Visit senior citizen homes and hospitals, bringing dogs and cats specifically trained for these environments.
3. Teach children kindness
Spend time with children making food for outdoor critters during the cold winter months. Strings of popcorn or peanut butter spread on apples and rolled in birdseed make wonderful projects and nutritious food for animals.
4. Offer animal-sitting services
If you notice your neighbor's dog is alone all day, offer to walk him or her. Give an animal-sitting coupon to a friend or neighbor as a holiday gift.
5. Plan a volunteer vacation
Many animal organizations around the world offer internship and volunteer opportunities, often providing room and board in exchange. Check out Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah or Farm Sanctuary in New York or California for US-based options.
6. Be prepared
Prepare an animal-rescue kit complete with gloves, a box, a blanket, a leash, and treats. If you ever see an animal in need of assistance, you'll be able to act quickly.
7. Create a backyard wildlife refuge
If your yard is a source of food and water, and a safe place for animals to raise their young, you're already doing it. You can even become an official refuge by being certified by the National Wildlife Federation.
8. Make play time a priority
Our companion animals crave love and attention, especially if we work outside the house all day long. Schedule play time and regular walks to keep them happy and healthy.
9. Bake vegan goodies
"If it tastes good, they'll eat it," is a mantra we love. Help farmed animals by demystifying vegan desserts for your human cohorts. Give baked goods as gifts to friends, family, co-workers, neighbors-everyone!
10. Leave them alone
Probably the best way to help non-human animals is to leave them be. Make choices in your life that do not interfere with, exploit, or harm animals and their habitats.
5 Reasons to Reconsider Your Local Animal Shelter
Similar to their lovable four-legged residents, many shelters just need a second chance.
Read More »
10 Questions with Former WWE Wrestler Austin Aries
What does a 200-pound vegan wrestler eat to maintain his size and strength? Plant-based food, of course!
Read More »
6 Tips for Vegan Cosplay and Costumers
Save the world, one plant-based costume at a time.
Read More »
The Busy Life of Esther the Wonder Pig
VegNews sits down with Esther's dads to chat about favorite snacks, vegan cruises, and take an exclusive first look at her upcoming children's book.
Read More »
5 Connections Between the Food and Fashion Industries
Fair-trade fashion and the plant-based movement tackle similar challenges to create a more ethical world.
Read More »
- 14 Ways to Eat Vegan Smores
- 4 Ways to Talk to Young People About Going Vegan
- 8 Animal Sanctuaries on My Bucket List
- Vegan Weddings 2017 (Alana Cowl & Daniel Ferens)
- 5 Vegan Summer Date Ideas
- 4 Ways to Celebrate National Ice Cream Sandwich Day—Vegan Style!
- 7 Ways Going Vegan Helps a Middle-Aged Man
- VegNews Launches 16th Annual Veggie Awards
- 5 Things I Learned Working as a Vegan Camp Counselor for Teenagers
- Vegan Weddings 2017 (Lindsay Jones & Daniel Cano)
- 6 Vegan Lip Glosses Perfect for Summer
- The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Camping
- Vegan Weddings 2017 (Monica Pandian & Praveen Raj)
- 5 Ways Roosters Help Me Stay Sober
- 7 Facebook Groups You Need to Join if You're a New Vegan
- 9 Questions with Vegan Pro Wrestler Zack Sabre, Jr
- 7 Steps to Getting Over Vegan Heartbreak
- Vegan Weddings 2017 (Emily Brobeck & Pierre Wooldridge)
- A Vegan Guide to Eugene, Oregon
- Q&A with Celebrity Chef Matthew Kenney