5 ways to get charitable: Runners look for ways to give back this holiday season

Destinee Sims, Features Editor

As the holiday season begins and decorations come out, community members are beginning to look for ways to give back and spread the holiday cheer.  

In a poll hosted on The Runner’s Instagram, responding Runner listed St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the American Legion among their favorite organizations to support. 

The idea of donating to charity may seem like it always comes with a hefty price tag or a time commitment, but there are ways to get involved for minimal to no cost to Runner’s finances and time. 

Being charitable doesn’t have to be expensive or time consumingCheck out the quick, free, and affordable ways to give back below. 

Support location collection drives 

While some people are decorating trees and hanging holiday lights, some community members are hoping to have some of their most essential needs met.  

Local organizations and charities are collecting food, hygiene products, and more for community members in need. As the winter months continue and the cold weather grows harsher, warm clothing will prove essential for survival. 

Christmas for Seniors of Kern County (CSKC), a local non-profit organization, arranges to get items to isolated seniors in need. According to the CSKC page, the items distributed includes food, hygiene, and entertainment items, such as books and crossword puzzles. 

With seniors being one of the most at-risk groups for experiencing complications from COVID-19, many of these seniors will be more isolated than ever before. Crosswords puzzle and large-print books can be a cheap way to help provide a local senior with entertainment while they are isolated this holiday season. 

A few places to obtain the requested items for donation at an affordable price would include Five and Below, Dollar Tree, or Dollar General. 

Another way to get involved locally could include donating toys for low-income children to receive this Christmas with the Bakersfield Toy Run.  

With many Americans finding themselves out of work or not working as many hours, it can prove difficult for parents to afford both household necessities and gifts for their children during the holiday season. 

In previous years, the Bakersfield Toy Run hosted a motorcycle-based parade that began at Beach Park and ended at the Kern County Fairgrounds. Rides would arrive and donate a toy and two cans of food per person, allowing them entry to an event with food and entertainment. The toys were then distributed to low-income families before Christmas. 

Due to COVID-19 making the usual event unsafe, the Bakersfield Toy Run’s website states that they will be collecting toys and canned food at Bakersfield Harley Davidson on Merle Haggard from Dec. 11-13.  

The website states that anyone that makes a donation of one toy and two cans of food, or a $20 cash donation, will receive a 15% off coupon for Bakersfield Harley Davidson and be entered in a raffle for a gift card “up to $500 dollars.” 

For Runners that are unsure about providing toys and other gift items to third party organizations, such as the Bakersfield Toy Run, the Jamison Children’s Center accepts donations on behalf of the children in their care. 

Send packages to American troops 

For anyone feeling charitable that is interested in spreading the joy with American troops, there are multiple organizations and non-profits that will help bridge the gap between the troops and civilians. 

One option includes the Purple Bag Project with Crown Royal, a Canadian whiskey company popular across North America. The public is encouraged to visit their webpage to create care packages that include Crown Royal, snacks, and other goodies 

Don’t fret if the website’s Pack a Bag section is down; the website states that users can stream the video on their Purple Bag Project page and a donation will be made on their behalf. 

Another care package option is available from Books for Soldiers, a non-profit that provides soldiers with entertainment and educational materials.  

According to the Books for Soldiers website, they provided more than $30 million in care packages since 2003. Runners can click here for more information. 

Do good with your online purchases 

One of the easiest ways for Runners to donate to their favorite causes is by making online purchases through select websites. This includes purchases on Amazon and Etsy. 

Rather than using the standard Amazon app, using Amazon Smile allows customers to raise funds for the registered non-profit of their choice. Amazon Smile makes a small donation for every purchase, and the non-profit can redeem the funds once they have received at least $5 in donations. 

In comparison, Altruisto is a browser extension that will donate to people in need every time users purchase from a participating online store.  

Altruisto’s website states that they have “partners with over 1000 shops” including ebayEtsy, Barnes & Noble, and more. Users simply download the extension for their Chrome browser, then continue browsing online as they usually would. 

Donate by tracking your walks and workouts 

Active individuals can raise money for charity with every walk and run by downloading apps for their android and iOS devices. 

A popular choice among charity-based exercise apps includes Charity Miles. The app makes donations to non-profits including the American Lung Association, the Special Olympics, Feeding America and more. 

Charity Miles states on their app that it uses a mix of “motion tracking and GPS” to track and validate users walking and biking sessions. The app can be used outdoor or indoor.  

Donate food and hygiene items 

Bakersfield residents may be familiar with the CSU Bakersfield Food Pantry or the Renegade Pantry, both serving as resources for students and faculty at their respective campuses. 

While the pantries regularly receive donations from local non-profits and businesses to help provide Runners and Renegades alike with food and hygiene items, both pantries receive help from the community too. 

Community members are welcome to donate food and hygiene items for redistribution. Both locations need hygiene items, including pads, tampons, razors, and more. 

The Renegade Pantry’s website lists food donations can include cereal, beans, canned goods, peanut butter, dried fruits and nuts, and other healthy items.  

The CSUB Food Pantry shelves typically display food items that range from healthy main meals, snack items, beverages, baking supplies and more.  

For a list of more non-profits in Kern County, click here.