This year, avoid your family by helping others

St. John's Bread & Life needs volunteers and donations.

The holidays are a time for excess starch, hanging things on plants and friendly dispositions. Unfortunately, it is harder for some Brooklynites to attain these niceties that many of us take for granted. Instead of shopping-as-sport at 7am Friday, you could be handing out toys to children who will appreciate your generosity more than your nephew will appreciate this year’s Elmo gimmick. Instead of serving dinner to your cranky family on Thanksgiving, you could be serving dinner to people who would actually appreciate it (for once!). Parent-focused blog A Child Grows in Brooklyn has put together a great resource for Brooklynites looking to volunteer. Don’t let the family focus throw you. In fact,  helping needy families is actually a great excuse to get away from YOUR family.

The list includes soup kitchens, meal delivery services and more. If you don’t have the time to volunteer, consider donating your extra packaged food to a food pantry — there’s a list for those too. Trust us, you will not miss the extra cans of cranberry sauce product or Pepperidge Farm anything. Make sure to check the full list from A Child Grows in Brooklyn.

How will all of you Brokesters be giving back this season?

Follow Rachel: @RachelEveStein.

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