Sometimes the true meaning of the holiday season can get lost amid the hustle and bustle of shopping, cooking, traveling and visiting. As we head into the full swing of the holidays, take some time to appreciate all that you have and try to share your wealth of resources, time or knowledge with those who may not be as fortunate.

Choose a cause or organization that’s meaningful to you and consider making a donation of some kind. Whether that means a social services provider, an animal rescue group, a food pantry, a nature center, a youth program or any other organization that helps others, non-profits always welcome and need your donations.

While monetary donations are always appreciated, many times organizations need specific items as well. Call your local food pantry to see what is most needed. Check out wish lists at local animal shelters. Find out if an organization needs specific things, like hats or socks, for their clients. Purchase a gift for a needy child. A first step to making a difference is usually just a quick phone call or email away.

The gift of time is not to be underestimated. Many non-profits hold fundraising events this time of year and seek volunteers to staff them. Why not take a couple extra hours and help an organization in need?

Can your specific skills be put to use? Can you spare some time to spend with a lonely senior citizen? Can you deliver meals to those in need? Check out one of the many volunteer websites out there, such as www.volunteerwny.org or www.volunteermatch.org, and see how you can be of service.

Get into the spirit of giving and make a difference!