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The holidays are a time for gratitude, reflection, and giving. That's true not just for our immediate families, but also for the wider community around us. This holiday season (or even after the holidays have passed!) consider giving back to your community through charitable giving.

Donating to a cause or organization you believe in is a great way to make a positive change—and, as it turns out, being selfless can actually have some pretty great benefits. For example:

  • Giving Has a Ripple Effect. We tend to underestimate the effect that small good deeds can have. When you make charitable donations to a local nonprofit or charity, you're not just helping that organization—you're also helping all of the people who rely on that organization's services, and all of the people who rely on those people. For example, donations to Spectrum mean meals for seniors in the area. It also means reduced water bills for low-income families, which in turn allow those individuals to set aside money for things like their children's educations.
  • Giving Makes You Feel Better. Some scientific research suggests that charitable giving unlocks neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin, all of which are associated with improved mood and feelings of connection. Translation: giving can make you happier, on a biological level.

    On top of that, there's also evidence that giving may have significant benefits for your physical health, including lower blood pressure, lower stress, and even living longer.
  • Giving Creates Positive Change Where You Live. When giving to local nonprofits, you're investing in your community. Whether that's reducing income inequality, improving public health, or creating a greener world, those changes will ultimately benefit you, too.

You don't necessarily need to donate money to reap the benefits of giving back. If funds are tight this year, consider other ways to support your community. Volunteering your time and donating gently used goods or in-kind gifts are great ways to have a positive impact without having to stress about finances.

Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance and other services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives. Contact us to learn more about our services, or consider making a donation to support our work. We can't wait to work with you!