As the holidays draw near, we tend to think about giving.

This year, it might not seem there is much to be thankful for, given the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and the divisiveness in the country.

Those are, perhaps, just the most prominent problems. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, lists as some other major issues in the country health care, immigration, religious liberty, marriage, education, environment and welfare. The Pew Research Center adds drug addiction, economic inequality, racism, sexism and terrorism to the list.

Despite the huge voter turnout in the election, some still believe their vote doesn’t matter. Some feel as though there is nothing they can do to resolve these problems.

Whatever problems we face in the United States, there is something we can do as individuals.

We can give.

Sometimes, giving is about monetary donation. Sometimes, it’s about donating time. Both can lead to positive change.

Sunday was National Philanthropy Day, a time meant to honor those who give back to their communities.

What we might not remember – or know – about philanthropy is it aims to not just offer a temporary solution to a social problem, but to provide a permanent fix.

We’re not all in a position to be philanthropists, but we are in a position to do something to support our favorite causes. We can give money to the things we like to support. We can volunteer our time to help the less fortunate, animals, children, the physically challenged – any cause that’s important to us.

The word “philanthropy” comes from the ancient Greek, meaning “to love people.” The love of people inspires philanthropy. Synonyms for philanthropy include benevolence, generosity and humanitarianism.

You don’t have to have a huge bank account or join an organization to celebrate National Philanthropy Day. Just make a commitment to yourself to help those in need, whether it’s a family member, close friend, neighbor or acquaintance. Be there for them during this pandemic. Run errands (wearing a mask), visit them (while socially distancing) and give of material and monetary goods as you can.

If you are financially able to contribute to a society-changing organization, do it.

Everyone has something they can give to help someone else. Be it large or small, do it. You will feel better, and someone else will, too.

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