4 Ways You Can Help Others During This Giving Season

By Ranelle Porter,

By Nicholas Conley | December 18, 2019 | 3 Minute Read

One of the most beautiful and heart-fulfilling times of year has arrived — the giving season. As snow starts to sprinkle down on the streets of Boston, families are reunited, and gifts are exchanged. It’s the perfect opportunity to appreciate the comforts you have and consider giving to those in need.

All too often, Boston’s underserved communities struggle through the holiday season. However, by volunteering just a few hours of your time, giving blood, or donating to a charity of your choice, you can gift others with the joy of a happy holiday.

Here are four easy ways to get involved.

Help Serve a Good Meal

During the holidays, volunteers provide a crucial lifeline to many families. As schedules get cluttered and regular volunteers aren’t as readily available to fill open shifts, marginalized communities often face escalating emotional, physical, and mental needs.

Now’s the time if you’ve been on the fence about volunteering. One of the biggest problems faced by lower-income families in the Boston area, especially during the holiday season, is hunger: to help, you can volunteer at Pine Street Inn, the largest homeless services provider in New England, which opened in 1969 marking this year its 50th anniversary of serving the community. Similar opportunities to feed the hungry can be found at Rosie’s Place, the first women’s shelter in the United States, Haley House in Roxbury, and Women’s Lunch Place located in the Back Bay.

Bring a Happy Holiday to Boston’s Homeless Children

If you want to bring some holiday cheer to children in need, one particularly seasonal opportunity is the annual Christmas in the City event held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on December 22. This one-day holiday party seeks to bring a happy holiday to the homeless children of the greater Boston area with rides, games, gifts, and even a visit from Santa Claus. For many of these children, this event will be the only holiday they have. Christmas in the City is a 100% volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization that relies on help from people like you, so all volunteers are appreciated.

The Gift of Life

One small but crucial way you can help others is through the gift of a blood donation. According to the American Red Cross, a person in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds, and one single donation can save up to three lives.

However, if there’s one time of the year where blood donations are most needed, it’s during the holidays. Between winter weather and seasonal illnesses, blood donations always drop off during these months, leaving desperate patients with less access to what is, quite literally, their lifeline. By donating blood today, you are potentially ensuring that three hospitalized people will get to celebrate the holidays with their families.

Donate to A Good Cause

December is a busy time. For many people, the best way to help their community during this hectic month is by giving to a charity of their choice.

That’s why we created Eastern Give For Good, a one-stop-shop for all your donation needs. Whether you want to donate to a local homeless shelter, give to a national organization, or simply search for new charities that align with your values, Eastern Give For Good provides you with the tools you need to make donations fast, easy, and minimally stressful. Donating takes very little of your time but makes a big impact on the individuals and families that you assist. After all, the giving season is here and there’s no better time to help your neighbors.

Join Eastern Give For Good and celebrate the holiday season by donating to any cause or charity you love.

Bostonians Are Eating Healthy with Help from the Urban Farming Institute

By Kisha Tapangan,

By Michael Givens | May 2, 2018 | 2 Minute Read

The Urban Farming Institute of Boston

Nestled in Boston’s Mattapan neighborhood, The Urban Farming Institute of Boston (UFI) has spent the last six years creating a thriving and robust local farming economy. They’re producing healthy vegetables for Bostonians while also providing rewarding jobs for the city’s residents. Supporting the work of this enterprising business goes a long way in providing healthy, locally-sourced produce to Boston’s communities.

“[UFI] was created in 2012 by a small group of community residents with a desire and vision to build a healthier and more locally-based food system through public education and policy, urban farming training, land access, and access to fresh produce,” said Linda Palmer, UFI’s administrator.

From parsley, dill, and cilantro to string beans, peas, peppers, and so much more, UFI recruits Boston residents interested in urban farming, trains them, and supports their efforts to grow vegetables—which can then be sold and distributed throughout Boston. And there are plenty of opportunities to get involved.

Approximately 600 volunteers participate in the UFI’s farming work each year where they help with weeding, composting, planting, and watering. If you’re looking for something even more involved, you can sign up for an intensive nine- or twenty-week class or a summer program to learn the basics of urban farming.

“The most rewarding part of urban farming is having the opportunity to meet so many people and be able to share . . . the fruits of our labor,” said Tristram Keefe, a farm enterprise manager on staff with the UFI. “Whether it is chatting with our regular customers at the farmers market, or giving away produce to the neighbors living around our farm sites . . . the most rewarding part is being able to share with people something that you grew and nurtured from a tiny seed. Another rewarding aspect is being able to watch the transformation of an empty piece of land to a lush and productive urban farm during the course of the season and watching how that process brings people together.”

Though its primary focus is to provide healthy produce in the neighborhoods of Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan, the UFI’s board and staff are devoted to inclusion and building lasting relationships throughout all of Boston’s communities. “The organization has always been diverse, intentionally multi-racial, and welcoming to those born here in Boston, or elsewhere,” said Klare Shaw, president of UFI’s board. “We want to be the hub of urban agriculture in ways that promote ownership, jobs, inclusion, health, and caring in neighborhoods that have often been marginalized.”

“Our graduates also have broad community impact,” she continued. “There are over 100 of them now working in other nonprofits and businesses, the vast majority are people of color. The grads are in our ‘farm family’ for life; they may either work in the green/food industry at say a Commonwealth Kitchen or supplement their family’s food by growing healthy crops, by keeping bees, or even by growing flowers.”

With an unofficial slogan of, “We don’t just grow food, we grow people,” UFI is firmly rooted in the principle of seeing urban agriculture leaders grow and develop, “because of the affirming nature of working in the earth and planting things that give back,” Shaw said.

Volunteer at a local farm in Boston to support the mission of the Urban Farming Institute.