By Jami Miedema

The holiday season is here, and again we are reminded to take time to focus on family and friends, the giving of time and resources, and reflecting on the many blessings we’ve been afforded. It is also the time of year in which we are made aware of those who enter the holidays with a less joyful mindset. This season may be a time of stress for those who do not have the funds to meet their basic needs, let alone to buy gifts or groceries to make a big feast or travel to see their families.

As I shopped on Black Friday, I could hear the Salvation Army bell ringers collecting money that will be used to feed and clothe men, women, and children. And every Sunday, the newspaper contains an envelope where donations can be made to provide a meal to someone housed at the local shelter. Everywhere we turn, there are opportunities to assist those in need both locally and beyond our city limits.

If you’re curious about how you can use your talents and expertise to aid people, communities, and the environment, visit, a website that pairs people and causes. Volunteer activities can be searched for by location and keyword, and there are online opportunities available as well. Group opportunities also exist which could turn into a fun office experience! One summer, as a teambuilding exercise, the entire Whittaker Associates team helped complete a Habitat house by hanging doors, painting, and landscaping. Even if there are constraints on your time and money, never underestimate the impact you can have just by sending an email to raise awareness for a cause or offering a friendly hello to a lonely neighbor. What wonderful ways to serve our peers this holiday season and the rest of the year!