The November issue of Real Simple magazine reminded us of an important lesson – while Thanksgiving is often the time of year when we all remember the need to give thanks for what we have and give back to those in need, we need to do so year round! Being busy with work and family commitments may make it difficult to remember this every day, so we recommend using annual occasions as friendly self-reminders. Real Simple offered the below examples:

  • Your birthday. What better time to show thanks than the day when we remember how lucky we are to experience another wonderful year? Choose a cause that you’re passionate about and make it a tradition, or choose a new cause each year!
  • Your anniversary. Donating your time to a worthy cause with your spouse can be a bonding experience and a way to create valuable memories. Use your anniversary, or a day near it, as an opportunity to do so.
  • Back to School. The Back to School season is often filled with reflection on how far your kids have come and what exciting experiences they’ll have in the year ahead. Start the school year off on a good note by encouraging your kids to choose a cause they care about and helping them give back to it in a way that’s meaningful to them.
  • Super Bowl Sunday. While this may not be the first day that comes to mind, Real Simple reminds us that many food pantries participate in the Souper Bowl of Caring effort, “an initiative to raise money and recruit volunteers around the Super Bowl.” See how you can get involved here.

What other times of year are you driven to give back? What are your favorite ways to do so? Tell us in the comments below!