Still have a few more gifts to buy to fill someone’s holiday stocking? Why not try giving “out” of the holiday box this year? Put breast milk under someone’s tree or give away a holiday hug?
They are gifts that don’t require standing in long lines or spending lots of cash, gifts guaranteed to keep on giving long after the trees have been dragged to the curb and the dreidels have been put away.
Some ideas include breast milk, which lactating mothers can easily give from home. Hugs and playtime can help heal sick children, especially if they’ve spent weeks or months in the hospital, or normally live in institutions.
Have hair? Donate it for a cancer patient. Take part in a medical study, for the sake of science or donate a kidney even if it’s not for a designated patient.
“Any healthy person can donate at any time,” said Dr. Jackie. “The need is great … and while we all have two, one kidney is really a spare. Why not give it away to save someone’s life.”
With a simple swab of your cheek, you can get your name in the bone marrow registry, and donated blood is always needed, especially if your type is rare or if a relative is scheduled for surgery. They’ll likely need someone else’s blood, so consider your donation a deposit and their imminent transfusion a withdrawal from the blood bank.
While many folks are choosing long lines in the stores, wrapping, shipping or shopping online, why not give the gift they won’t take back after the holidays, a priceless gift that won’t cost you a dime?
Here’s how to donate:
- Breast milk: Wake Medical Hospital, Raleigh, N.C., 919-350-8599
- Hugs: Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, D.C., Volunteer Services 202-476-2062
- Hair: Locks of Love, 888-896-1588
- Medical Study: National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md., 301-496-2563, 800-411-1222
- Kidney: National Kidney Registry, 800-936-1627
- Organ Donor, Blood Marrow, Kidneys: Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services
- Blood: American Red Cross, 800-448-3543