As we approach the holiday season it begins to set in for a lot of us how many people are truly in need in our community and across our nation. There are children that are unable to celebrate Christmas, provide a meal for their family, and travel to see their loved ones. Giving back to the community locally and nationally is one of my favorite things to do in my free time. Before I started volunteering, I really did not understand how important people like we are to these organizations.

One of the first organizations that I started volunteering with was the Ronald McDonald House of Charities organization in Lexington, Kentucky.

The Ronald McDonald House is a non-profit organization that provides and creates support programs to improve the health and well being of children and families during difficult times. This organization has touched my family and me in a lot of ways. Walking throughout the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital and seeing hundreds of children in rooms without parents is so heartbreaking. It is not because the parents do not want to be there, but they just financially can not afford to take off days of work to stay with their sick child.

The Ronald McDonald House provides for absolutely ANYONE who needs a place to stay while their child is undergoing a procedure whether it is short term or long term. I have volunteered in the house for about 2 years now and it really has given me a new perspective on things and a lot more appreciative than I have ever been. There have been several incidents where I have been in the house and our guests have walked into the house bawling their eyes because they had just lost their child.

Our guests are so thankful for this organization because without the wonderful, generous volunteers within the community and corporations that donate thousands of dollars, food, bedding, and everything that the house needs, our house wouldn't be standing today. Financials are the absolute last thing we want families to be stressing about when they are going through times like these. When you are thinking about giving back over the holiday season, put yourself in someone else's shoes. Every day is a new day and we never know what life is going to bring us from one day to the next.

During this holiday season, I was able to volunteer at my local food bank in my hometown. We packed Christmas boxes that are going to be shipped locally and throughout the U.S to people less fortunate so they are able to have a meal for Christmas. If you can take at least 1 hour of your time over the holiday season to give back to your community whether it is serving a local non-profit organization, donating, or just spreading love during this holiday season, it will be more appreciated than you think.