Single or Attached: Here are 8 Ways to Celebrate Love This Valentine’s Day

The annual day of romance is almost upon us, a holiday that’s hard to miss. Stores have helpfully reminded us since Christmas, covering shelves with all-things red, pink and impossibly cuddly. This tradition tends to stir a range of emotions from wistful appreciation for that special someone to dreary reminders of singledom. Some opt out of it altogether.

Regardless of your status, Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, so why not share it? Whether you’re stag or snagged, here are 8 ways you can spread the love on February 14 – and beyond.

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1) Host your philanthropic friends: Invite your best buddies over for dinner and ask them to bring nonperishable food items to donate to a local food pantry or your charity of choice. Food bank donations tend to wane in the months immediately after Christmas. Visit www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or www.FoodPantries.org for a list of donation locations near you.

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2) Warm someone’s heart with a hot meal: Forgo fancy restaurants and boxed chocolates – volunteer to serve at a local food bank. By doing so, you’ll be serving a portion of the 50 million Americans who live in food-insecure homes. Grab your significant other or a good friend to make a memory you’ll never forget.

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3) Pass the love: Did you know only half of nursing home residents ever have visitors?  Consider delivering sweet treats and words of kindness to your local nursing home, retirement community, or elderly neighbors down the street.

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 4) Be an inspiration to a child: Sign up as a mentor or after-school tutor. Check out organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and your local Salvation Army for ways to get involved.

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5) Get warm and fuzzy: Ditch the stuffed animals and volunteer as an aid or dog walker at a local animal shelter! Click here to find shelters near you.

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6) Honor our veterans:  From coast to coast, The Salvation Army strives to meet the needs of those who have sacrificed for our country. Contact your local branch to learn how you can support our veteran services or visit the Department of Veterans Affairs to send a care package – or Valentine – to a veteran or a troop member overseas.

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7) Donate to a family impacted by recent disasters: According to the National Retail Federation, the average person shells out $169 on Valentine’s Day gifts. Instead of another heart-shaped necklace, show your sweety your compassionate side by donating to The Salvation Army’s disaster relief efforts in New York and New Jersey. To make an online donation, visit www.donate.salvationarmyusa.org.

 

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8) Treat yourself to a vintage spree: Help provide drug and alcohol counseling to men and women in need by shopping at a Salvation Army family store. Proceeds from sales directly fund The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Centers which provide approximately 350,000 men and women with life-changing treatment each year. Learn how your donations and purchases transform lives by visiting www.SATRUCK.org.


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